I have a kind of reverse snobbism that comes from growing up on Kaua`i, a place celebrities love. Yeah, that was Sly Stallone’s horse I exercised at the polo club, and Pierce Brosnan I bumped into in the aisle at Foodland, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar whose legs tripped me as a waitress in the trendy restaurant I worked in. Charo’s house on the North Shore was a real bitch to clean (way too much glass) and Billie Jean King’s home tennis court was a leaf trap. Elizabeth Taylor looks better in person than in pictures and Demi Moore is really, really short. I’ve even been therapist to celebrities’ children, and trust me when I tell you that life is no picnic for them.

Because of this exposure, though I was in subservient roles, I was the privileged one as a real local resident while (for all their money) they were only wannabes.

I have always been less than impressed with celebrities.

Until now. Until Bethany Hamilton.

Known this girl since she was in diapers and she's just awesome.

Even as I write this I feel an internal resistance rising up. Am I just one more person jumping on the gravy train of her story, a story that is truth way better than fiction? Because I know these ‘celebrities,’ heart and soul know them, and a less glamorous, more down to earth family you could never hope to meet.

But this is my story, and how it intersects with witnessing hers, and at a time when her story is about to break out across the world in the major Sony Pictures movie Soul Surfer, it’s time to tell it.

I've known the Hamiltons since elementary school. Tom was Mike's groomsman in our wedding and is still one of his closest friends.

Mike's third from left with his arm around Tom Hamilton.

Cheri helped coordinate our wedding.

Cheri helps me into our funky "getaway vehicle" note surfboards on top.

I'll never forget holding their first baby, Noah, when he came home from the hospital. My kids played with Bethany and Timmy on the beach, whacking each other with sticks and (prophetically) jumping in and out of the shorebreak.

Our kids, the Hamiltons, and various rascals at Easter sometime early 1990s.

What do you say when Tom Hamilton, a man you’ve known most of your life, calls up and says, “Yeah, Dennis Quaid is going to play me in the movie, and Helen Hunt is going to play Cheri.”

OMG is what you say. That’s amazing is what you say. After you hang up you speculate aloud around the dinner table with your kids what celebrities would play YOU if your life was a movie. (I picked Julia Roberts for me, but was booed down. They all said I was more like Bette Midler with a nose job)

Those movie trailers for Soul Surfer. They make me and Mike tear up every time. I don’t know how we’re going to go to that movie and do anything but cry—because some celebrities are truly wonderful human beings, some stories are unbelievable and yet true, and sometimes the human spirit triumphs over every obstacle.

I know. I’ve witnessed it firsthand, and in these dark days in our world, we need these stories. Go see this movie and be uplifted, it’s that good.

Soul Surfer the Movie official website. Cool stuff here.

Soul Surfer

More to follow.

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