Vince Papale's life appears to be going from bad to worse. He's just lost his job as a part-time teacher and arrives home to find that his wife has left him. In a fit of rage, he trashes his apartment. Papale has hit rock bottom.
The one bright spot in his life is football, watching his beloved Philadelphia Eagles and playing roughneck football after work with his friends. But even the Eagles are going through a slump and the whole city seems to reflect Papale's dark and dreary state of mind.
"A Course in Miracles", says that no matter how dim the light of God in the mind might be, it never completely goes out. Jesus can use our hobbies, talents, and inspirations to pull us out of the darkness and to use them as backdrops to extend the light within. For Papale, the entry point for the Spirit to help him recognize his worth is football and a healing assignment with the legendary coach named Dick Vermeil.
Papale's friends encourage him to try out for the Philadelphia Eagles pro football team, which strangely enough is holding open trials for anyone able to throw a football. The Holy Spirit arranges time and space for the miracle and, even though Papale doesn't fit the mold of a pro player, he realizes he has nothing to lose in trying out. With no plan Bs, Papale gives himself fully to this outrageous opportunity to play for the Eagles.
At tryouts, Coach Vermeil immediately recognizes the Papale's raw talent but also intuits something deeper that Papale could bring to the team—heart and a determination to go beyond what they think they are capable of. It's a message Vermeil wants to hear for himself, and he gives Papale a chance to do just that—despite the raucous shrieks of the ego voice to both Vermeil and Papale that they are outsiders. There is an assignment they've been invited into by the Holy Spirit to heal their thoughts of unworthiness, and they both say yes!
Success is by no means instantaneous or easy for Papale. He must face the voices of doubt and criticism from his ex, his father, team members, and friends, and see beyond them. The voices of littleness actually compel Papale to continue taking the steps laid out for him and, as he does so, the obstacles melt before his eyes.
In the darkest of dark, Papale gets a sign that encourages him to continue: he sees a young child wearing his jersey number in a local street game, symbolic of the truth that one's healing ripples out to the whole universe and affects a constellation of people one can hardly fathom.
Papale's story can inspire us all. God's will for us is perfect happiness, to live a life of inspiration and magnitude. Papale's decision to follow his heart and pursue his dream catapulted him, not only into living a fulfilling life but helping to inspire an entire city.