Two weeks ago the trailer and other information about the upcoming movie”Sully” dropped. I’ve been asked about the movie many times but like many if not all of the passengers, I am extremely happy for Captain Sullenberger that his story will be shared. I shared the stage with Captain Sully in Bloomington, Il a couple of months ago, when we spoke, I sensed that he was extremely humbled that Clint Eastwood took on this project and having Tom Hanks play him. I have always been a Clint Eastwood fan and when I and many others were honored to meet Mr. Eastwood last year, I learned about the trek he took to become who he is.
Clint Eastwood had an interesting upbringing. As I learned in the article “The Heartbreaking struggles that lead to his success” , his father moved his family many times. When he ended up in California and was ready to attend high school, he pulled a high school stunt and was not allowed to enter the public high school. He attended Oakland Technical High School. Although he as a very good athlete he focused on auto mechanic courses and studied aircraft maintenance, rebuilding both aircraft and car engines in addition to learning acting and learning the piano. It’s not surprising that he had an affinity to take on the directing of “Sully.” When he moved to Seattle and attended Seattle University he was drafted into the Army and became a swimming instructor for the Army. While returning from a weekend visit to his parents in Seattle, Eastwood was aboard a Douglas AD-1 bomber when it suddenly ran out of fuel and tragically crashed into the ocean near Point Reyes. Eastwood escaped serious injury from the sinking aircraft and swam over 3 miles to the safety of shore. Eastwood later reflected on his thoughts during the crash, “I thought I might die. But then I thought, other people have made it through these things before. I kept my eyes on the lights on shore and kept swimming.” When I read this, I began to identify with Mr. Eastwood. We both shared an experience of a plane crash and had to swim for our lives. The more I learned about Clint Eastwood, the more I understand the trek he took to become who he is.
Eastwood struggled to make a living despite landing several parts in a few pilots and small films, but he refused to give up. During this period, Eastwood applied for assorted day jobs, continued taking acting classes, and began working out hard in the gym. One day, Eastwood struggled to display his toughness on screen. One night, when a gang of Latin thugs threatened Eastwood and his friends at gunpoint, Eastwood heroically defended them. Although his friends turned to flee, Clint stood his ground and warned, “Go on and pull that trigger, you little son of a bitch, and I’ll kill you before I hit the ground” and the thugs ran off. When I read this, it reminded me of when I was in seventh grade. My father got transferred to Winchester, VA and I was in a new school, trying to acclimate. I was in sports and that helped. There was one boy who I befriended. He was mentally and physically challenged but he was making his way. We called him Captain John Smith after the explorer who founded Jamestown, VA. One day, a boy started to pick on Captain John in the hallway. I have a thing about bullies. Like Captain America says, ” I don’t like bullies, I don’t care where they come from.” I interceded on John’s behalf. Being the new boy in school I didn’t know how this was going to turn out but I asked the boy to stop. He didn’t and then he punched me. I immediately picked him up and threw him into the lockers. By that time the assistant principal showed up. I was taken to the principals office and was questioned about the situation. The assistant principal thanked me for standing up for John and I didn’t get disciplined, the other boy did. That outcome probably reinforced my belief in standing up for those who cannot and probably would not happen in today’s society, but in the early 70’s, people understood and respected right from wrong. So if you watch Clint Eastwood movies, he usually played a little angry and stood up for those who could not stand up for themselves. My kinship with Mr. Eastwood grew even more.
This past week I was in Chicago and had the pleasure to visit Podcast Movement. I had the opportunity to meet Joel Boggess who interviewed me last year, meet many other podcasters and had dinner with one of my business partners, Jessica Rhodes. Jessica brought many of her partners together for dinner and I had the opportunity to meet others with like mindsets. During dinner, one of her clients looked at me and said “you know you are probably one of the oldest people here!” I looked around and also remembered the others I met and I said” yep, I probably am.” But then I thought about the podcasters I have met, either face to face or during interviews and many of them were young, probably didn’t quite fit in the standard “corporate world” and wanted to stand out doing their own thing, impacting people in their own way. Some may have had challenges fitting in during adolescence and they found their niche in this world called podcasting. I think that is why I have an affinity for them. They didn’t let the standard thought process of having to do things a certain way define them, became entrepreneurs and started their own industry. That is what happened to me after January 15, 2009. As Bishop Ken Carter told me after he heard me speak for 9/11 services in 2009, “it’s like you came out of the water and there was a new you.”
Like all of us, Clint Eastwood, Captain Sullenberger, podcasters, whomever, we have all gone on a trek to be who we are. It wasn’t always easy but with patience and persistence, your true mission will be revealed and the trek will be worth it all. When we all see “Sully” for the first time, we’ll see Captain Sully’s trek to who he has become, directed by someone who has had 86 years of life experiences who will bring out the best in a hero’s story. I am honored to have been a part of the “Miracle on the Hudson, ” meeting all of the passengers and crew, Captain Sullenberger and Captain Skiles and meeting the man who will bring that story to light, Clint Eastwood. Until next time remember that all the “MOMENTS” in our life “MATTER!”
Go to DaveSandersonSpeaks.com and for a limited time only, when you purchase a copy of “Moments Matter“, you will get a copy of the book “HalfTime” free and can get a copy of“Brace for Impact” for $10.50 while supplies last!
I’m excited to share that we’ll have a book signing of “Moments Matter” on 7/14/16 in Coraville, Iowa. I would be honored if you are in the Cedar Rapids area if you would join me!
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Dave Sanderson is the Managing Partner of his firm, Dave Sanderson Speaks Enterprises based out of Charlotte, NC. On January 15, 2009, Dave was the last passenger off the plane that crashed into the Hudson River, best known as “The Miracle on the Hudson” and was largely responsible for making sure so many others made it out safely. In addition to speaking and training, Dave conducts workshops and his book was released titled “Moments Matter” on January 19, 2016, in which he discusses how by employing 12 key resources was a key factor that turned a potential tragedy into the “Miracle on the Hudson” and how does one take a potentially tragic experience and turn it into an opportunity to grow and contribute. He and his wife, Terri, reside in Charlotte, NC. They have four children, Chelsey, Colleen, Courtney, and Chance.