By Stephanie Hammon
Cameron Colvin isn’t nervous about moviegoers learning tragic details of his personal life.
The former De La Salle football star just wants his tale of perseverance to inspire others.
A key player in the final victories of the Spartans’ national-record 151-game winning streak, Colvin’s story of losing the people closest to him and how the football team helped him cope will be shared in the upcoming film “When the Game Stands Tall.” He’ll be portrayed by actor Ser’Darius Blain.
Colvin lost his mother as a high school sophomore. His father passed away when he was a 6-year-old growing up in Pittsburg. Then his best friend, teammate Terrance Kelly, was shot and killed just days before the pair was set to leave for college at Oregon.
But Colvin, now 28 and the CEO of his own real estate development company, never let his life get off course.
“Those experiences have always been my motivation to succeed and live my life the right way,” said Colvin, who is now based out of Scottsdale, Ariz.
While nearly all of the De La Salle football players in the movie are fictional composites based on the types of athletes the program has produced over the years, Colvin’s true story fit in perfectly with the message of the film.
And Colvin’s challenges and triumphs went beyond the time frame of the film.
Regarded as one of the top wide receiver prospects in the country as a high school senior, Colvin saw his college career at Oregon decimated by injuries. Misfortune seemed to follow him, but it didn’t ruin him. Now he’s found success in the business world.
“He was always a solid guy and had a good heart in him,” said Bob Ladouceur, the De La Salle head football coach, who is played by Jim Caviezel in the movie. “He struggled no doubt growing up but he always stayed the course, he never veered off. He stayed real solid and kept his head in the right place. I credit a lot of his friends for that, too. He had a lot of people to lean on.”
That’s what the movie illustrates.
“Those guys were the reason I was able to stay focused,” Colvin said of his De La Salle teammates. “The day after my mom died, I went to practice. I wanted to go to practice because football was my life and my passion, and I knew my brothers were there.
The major motion picture does take some creative liberties — it only briefly mentions some of the more devastating parts of his family history and a few other details, like the timeline of his mother’s death, are altered.
But Colvin is happy with the way that his journey is shown in the film, though signing on to be a part of the film wasn’t an automatic.
“I think I was a bit hesitant with there being a number of different things they could have portrayed that maybe my family wouldn’t want to relive,” Colvin said. “It wasn’t just a personal decision, it was a decision for my family. I wanted to respect the privacy of my family.”
When he learned more about the project, it became a “no-brainer,” he said.Colvin wasn’t on set for the filming, but gave some input, including some long phone conversations with Blain. He’s been pleased with how the film is being received by audiences so far. One response in particular, from a member of the armed forces stationed overseas, touched him.
“When a guy in a 24-hour-a-day war zone is telling you your story inspires them, that says it all,” Colvin said.