In the 2005 film "Cinderella Man," Russell Crowe plays the legendary heavyweight champion James Braddock, a washed-up boxer who struggles to take care of his wife Mae, played by Renee Zellweger, and three children during the Great Depression--often going hungry so that they could have a bit more to eat. When he gets an opportunity to start fighting again, he begrudgingly accepts, not for the fame, but to support his family, even fighting with a broken hand at times. As he starts winning more and more matches, he gets the chance of a lifetime--a title fight against Max Baer, the world heavyweight champion, known for having killed two men in the ring. In one of the film's most touching moments, Mae goes to church to pray for Crowe before the big fight and sees the church filled with people also praying for her husband.
Not knowing much about Braddock before watching this movie, I was surprised to learn that upon retiring from boxing, he helped build New York's Verrazano Bridge. I don't live far from this bridge, and every now and again when I cross it or see it in the distance, I remember this tidbit of information and think about the ordinary man who became a hero to his family, and so many others.