When it comes to inspirational football films, Rudy is often the gold standard. Here in Santa Monica, the City’s namesake high school has a “Rudy” of its own, and his name is Matthew Tapia. The 18-year-old-senior is the subject of short documentary.
Fittingly entitled Matt, the short film releases on May 27 and tells Tapia’s story of beating the odds. Specifically, Tapia was born three months premature and, at the time, given a 5 percent chance to survive.
His weight at the time of birth: 1.5 pounds.
Now at age 18, Tapia is a senior at Samohi. On the film’s website, Tapia is described as “gregarious” and “defiant,” a young man who relied upon “stubbornness” to not only survive but put himself on track to attend college next year.”
Indeed, Tapia is not going too far away from Santa Monica, as the graduating senior will be enrolling at UCLA in the Fall 2014 quarter.
Matt is a huge sports fan and dreams of being a play-by-play [announcer] one day,” the film’s website described about Tapia. “Heading into his senior year, Matt took advantage of an opportunity offered to him by a brave coach and some open minded kids, and joined the football team.”
While on the Samohi football team, Tapia reportedly attended every practice.
With Tapia on the team, the Vikings football squad recorded a winning record, made the playoffs, and advanced into the second round.
Along the way, Tapia played in two games. However, his impact on the team was far greater, as he was also described as the “indomitable spirit and positive attitude” that inspired Samohi’s football team discover its identity.
Directed by Seth Shapiro and produced by Diesel Films, Matt will be available to view online.