On September 1, coinciding with the first day of Deaf Awareness Month, the film “Never Give Up” releases in select theaters, telling the true story of Deaf World Tennis Legend Brad Minns. Minns, who lost his hearing at age 3, was undeterred in his goal of being a tennis great, culminating with a gold medal after an extraordinary comeback at 1985 World Games for the Deaf, now called the Deaf Olympics.
Minns calls the film, based on his autobiography of the same name, “a dream come true” and another way to share the inspirational message of how God helped him overcome challenges in life. Although he wasn’t a Christian when he played his famous match, he did look up to heaven and ask, “God, help me.” Years later, after a career in modeling and bodybuilding, he realized he wasn’t on the right road.
“I was on the wide road the Bible talks about,” he said. “There are two roads, the narrow one and on the wide one. I was lost, I didn’t even know it.”
Minn befriended a man who was a born-again Christian and frequently wore scriptures on his t-shirts. Even with everything going right in life, Minns knew there was something more he needed, so he sought help.
“I asked my friend one day, ‘What’s the matter with me?,’ and he turned around and on the back of his shirt with a scripture from Revelation that ‘Behold, I stand at your door and I knock. And if you hear me knocking and open the door, I come in and dine with you and you with me’, he said. “I knew that God was speaking to me that day. And my friend said, ‘Brad are you ready to turn your life over to Jesus Christ and make him the Lord your life?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, what do I have to do?’ I got born again. I went home, I opened up my Bible, I couldn’t put it down. That was the beginning of my walk with Jesus Christ.”
When Minns was asked to coach the Deaf Olympics in Bulgaria, since he was deaf but had never learned sign language, he wanted a way to communicate his heart to the players. So he wrote the book, “Never Give Up” and give it to them. That later sparked an encounter with a producer in his Bible study in North Carolina for the feature film. During the end credits, Minns appears as himself and gives God the credit for his story.
“It’s an incredible experience with this book coming to life on the big screen,” he said. “I could spend all day telling you all these people I want to thank for making it happen, but most importantly, I want to thank the Lord for answering all the prayers through our Bible study.”
“Never Give Up,” starring Harrison Stone, Erin Bethea, Drew Waters, Nicolle Ashley, and written and directed by Rob Loos and produced by Rick Eldridge, releases Friday, Sept. 1 through ReelWorks Studios.