The story of the athlete coming up from nothing and making it to the big leagues is one as old as time yet it never seems to get old because America loves to root for the underdog and, even more, America loves a comeback story.
The new documentary Trials to Triumph – an extension of a book by the same name – plays like an ESPN 30 on 30 episode with friends and family being interviewed about Freddie Stevenson, a former college football standout and NFL player who made it to the top only to see it come crashing down. It follows not just Freddie’s struggles but that of other athletes including former NFL player Delvin Breaux and three-time Emmy award-winning actor, Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital).
Freddie, like far too many now professional athletes, grew up in a dead-end town. A place where “there are only so many dreams. Most don’t even begin to dream. Many see their dreams crushed by reality.” A place where if you weren’t lucky enough to make it out, you’d likely end up doing or dealing drugs…or both.
From a young age, Freddie dreamed big. Despite being homeless and his father being incarcerated for dealing drugs, Freddie knew he was going to make it out. And he did – first to Florida State University where he won a National Championship and then onto the NFL where he played for the Chicago Bears. But life isn’t always easy and life isn’t always fair. An injury in college deeply affected Freddie’s mental state and anger replaced joy after he was cut by the Bears.
Trials to Triumph: The Documentary is a story of faith, overcoming adversity, and finding one’s voice. Even better, it’s a story of faith without too much religion. A story of overcoming adversity without being too preachy. And a story of finding one’s voice without silencing others. It questions what you do when you’re at rock bottom or when life throws you a curveball – like when what you thought was going to be your calling is suddenly no longer an option.
We were fortunate to have an opportunity to interview Freddie and Maurice Benard where they shared more about how they’re using their platform to discuss mental health and facing adversity head-on. To view our interview click HERE.