From the Executive Producer
I remember being on the telephone with Stephen Ihli when he first told me his idea for a movie about creating a sport that involved sprinting while jumping rope at the same time. I immediately thought the concept struck a great balance between silliness and plausibility, and I cavalierly volunteered to fund the project based on his cost estimate and the participation of Eric Small. My only stipulation was that the movie be clean and family friendly.
We began work on a script, but not fast enough to keep pace with real life events. We struck a deal with Buddy Lee, and before we had cast the main character of the movie, Stephen was off to Washington, D.C. to shoot footage of Buddy, and then to Vancouver, Canada to attend the Winter Olympics with Buddy. This order of events was cause for some concern, but we wholeheartedly embraced the idea of writing the script to accommodate what the universe was giving us. In fact, we used these events and our own real life experiences as entrepreneurs to organically shape both the character and the trajectory of Eddie Ruggle.
With certain story elements already shot, we were extremely fortunate to cast Sean O’Bryan as Eddie Ruggle, as he made the role come alive as well as any of us could have expected. We were equally fortunate with respect to the remainder of the cast. I thoroughly enjoy each and every character in the movie, and cannot imagine anyone else playing any of the parts. The credit for this good fortune goes to Eric Small and our casting agent Steve Brooksbank.
Still more good fortune found us when Stephen visited the College of the Canyons and met so many great people: Lashinda Demus, Christine Spence, Mikki Barber, Coach Lindie Kane, Coach Denean-Hill, and others. Everyone was approachable and open-minded, and they all contributed to both the movie and the sport. We subsequently were given the privilege of introducing JumpRopeSprint racing to many young track athletes, including Armando Mancias, who helped breathe life and energy into the sport, for which we are very grateful.
The only downside to all of this good luck, the movie becoming bigger and the sport becoming more bona fide, is that we went over budget, repeatedly. My wife, who sympathizes in a very personal way with Mrs. Eddie Ruggle, has been very understanding. Despite the cost overruns, I was so pleased with the result of our efforts that I invested additional funds to re-edit the movie and incorporate additional footage. I hope and believe that people will be pleasantly surprised and entertained by the movie, and if enough people are exposed to it, our story will stand the test of time in its own quirky way.
The foregoing commentary was written to accompany an earlier version of the movie, which never saw the light of day. NOW, after several false starts, we are FINALLY releasing this movie, and we consider the new title to be most appropriate under the circumstances. It has been many years in the making, but hopefully worth the wait. Additional acknowledgments must now be made to Dalilah Muhammad, who came along and set a new women’s JumpRopeSprint record before winning gold in the 2016 Summer Olympics; and Joanne Storkan, who came along and helped get this movie across the finish line. And going full circle, for a final classic example of jumping the gun, consider that I really did have 10,000 FWIDGETS in my garage ten years before the fidget toy craze of 2017.