I did receive an all expenses paid trip to LA to facilitate this post, but all fan girl, hilarity, and awesomeness are my own.
There are two types of people in the world. One type let’s the world victimize them and let’s life pass them by. The other type stands strong and vows that no matter their circumstances to never give up; they never lose their fight. Meeting the real life inspirations behind McFarland USA gave me a chance to meet a group of men that don’t understand the word quit. No matter what circumstances that were against them, they rose up and fought to embrace the greatness inside themselves. They did it with such fervor that seven cross country runners and their coach inspired the latest Disney movie, McFarland USA.
When I was in LA, we had a chance to sit down with Jim White and the Diaz brothers. It was kind of surreal because we had already seen the movie, and already had gotten an idea of the story behind the movie; their story. Being able to ask them about what it’s like to inspire a full length movi,e as well as what it’s like to be an inspiration to people all across the country, was truly an honor.
The first thing that was obvious when the guys entered the room is that even after all these years, there is still a huge bond between the Diaz brothers and coach Jim White. It was also very obvious the pride that they all had for their community as many of them still live in McFarland today.
About Growing Up in McFarland
The Diaz brothers shared a bit about what it was like to grow up in McFarland. Danny Diaz shared how McFarland is a very small town off Hwy 99 in California. They all joked it was so small that if you blinked you would miss it. That meant there wasn’t much for kids to do growing up there; no malls, no major supermarkets. Danny Diaz shared the limited options available to kids in McFarland,
It’s either education and sports or the streets.
The brothers also shared that the pickers way of life was all that they knew. From ages as young as seven or eight, they began working in the fields. Even after graduating from college, Danny Diaz joked he had his diploma in one hand and was already out in the fields helping his family until he got his first job.
About McFarland USA
All of the brothers and Coach White were very proud of how Disney and the director portrayed their story and their hometown. Jim White shared the only person that had an issue was Mrs. Diaz. He shared “
When Mrs. Diaz saw this film the first time, she came out and she said ‘I love the film, but they didn’t make me strict enough.’
Senora Diaz was quite the scene stealer in the movie, so it was really funny to hear even in real life she has the same personality. In the film she is firm, but fair and really is the glue that holds the Diaz family together.
About Life after McFarland USA
We asked how McFarland is changing since the movie has been filmed. The general consensus is that not much has changed for the small farming town, but the pride of the community is swelling with the telling of their story. There has always been a great pride in their town, but now their pride extends beyond their agrarian roots. Jim White shared how the community logo is no longer a worker in the fields.
[The community motto is no longer the ] heartbeat of agriculture. Now we are a runner running through the field, a figure — silhouette of a runner.
There are times in your life that you meet people that really touch your life. They are filled with so much heart and so much courage that it’s contagious. Their perseverance makes you realize that there’s nothing in life that you can’t conquer when you put your mind to it. These men, and their story, prove that it’s not just a cliche, but something that is very much real life.
If you want to be inspired, McFarland USA is coming out February 20th! It’s a great film with heart that your whole family should see.