Spare Parts


By: Joshua Davis

I was an extra for the movie, and had no clue about this story until I started talking with other extras and some of the cast. Once I found out some of the story, I had to know more.

This book was that more I was looking for, and inspiring, to say the least. I am going to be recommending this book to practically everyone I know. It’s one of those books (and likely to be my pick for Book of the Week this week).

The high school boys from Arizona that were involved with the building of ‘Stinky’ – the ROV that took the to the Underwater Robotics Championships in California in 2004 traveled far to get where they are today. And it was a dangerous journey, every step of the way. Continually at risk of being deported (they were all originally from Mexico), and at odds with each other, this is a story of overcoming adversity and what it means to be American.

Facing off with the likes of MIT and machine labs, high budgets and experience, these boys showed that innovation can occur anywhere. But while the movie ended on an upbeat, this book goes beyond to document the struggles the boys faced after they grew up – a time that was questionable and unknown to say the least. To gain legal citizenship, and to achieve his dream, Oscar turns himself in – to disheartening results.

Every step that these young men took cemented their future, whether they realized it or not. But when it comes to laws and regulations, and the government in general, sometimes even the best-laid plans can crumble. But it is picking up the pieces and driving on from where you find yourself that defines who you are, and none of the young men (or even their amazing instructors) settled with their place in life, and struggled to achieve something greater – not just for themselves, but their families, their country, and those that came after (the track record of Carl Hayden High School after that one competition speaks for this).

I came away inspired to do great things, to dream big, and disappointed in our government’s policies (this is not a political rant, but rather a result of what I have read). Something inside says there has got to be a way, but with young people like this continually striving, continually reaching for better, I have confidence that the better way will be found.

If you want to see me in the movie, I am at the awards ceremony at the end of the film at the Yale table. It’s only about two seconds, but I’m right there. 😉

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