What do you get when you mix up South Africa, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood? I don’t know. It depends on the mixing method, I suppose. BUT, if you have Clint Eastwood directing a film set in South Africa starring Freeman and Damon, the chances are good that you will end up with a sweet film!

For authenticity’s sake, I went to see Invictus with no less than three for-reals South Africans! One of my top-five best friends, Greg Lawler and his dad along with current Costa Rica resident Martyn Hoffman. Greg even wore his SA Rugby jersey! To make sure these guys didn’t get too cocky, we had our US team present. At forward, a two Chris front (Schoolland, Mundell). At Defense, a two Tad front (Clark, Wagner). And finally, a Nate (Rogers). The wild-card. Unfortunately, none of us Yanks knew the damned rules so…

With Invictus, you know what you’re in for. You know the political story, you know there is sports involved and you know the cast and crew are all top notch. With all that in mind going in you’d think I’d be sitting back going, “OK here’s the part about the racism and the elections. OK, here’s the Mandela being gracious, OK here’s the rugby that means more than just rugby” without being effected emotionally. But I was effected. I was on the edge of crying at several points. Now you might say, “Well, Chris, aren’t you ALWAYS on the edge of tears? Like when you think of your kids or God or, like, when you watch Biggest Loser?” OK, yes, that’s true, but this film is moving, man! South Africa’s Apartheid situation is recent history. I know these guys that grew up in it. It feels real and immediate. So all Clint had to do was tee it up and yell “Four!” Here is where I would insert a Tiger Woods joke. But, I have matured to the point that I no longer feel like I need to prove myself in that way. OK, fine. They say Tiger was stingy & uncharitable, but a bowl of tiger penis soup cost US $ 320 in Taiwan and he was giving it away free y’all!! WHAT!?! He’s like the Bob Geldof of Tiger Penis!

I leave you with this moving poem, the namesake of the film. Morgan Freeman did the voice-over. Too bad they couldn’t get someone with chops…


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
– William Ernest Henley