The Checker King

39mins2004ShortsTVG
director
Kevin Kelley
"You know how many of us there are who lost their spouses? There are nine million of us. And you know, if you're not careful, you'll have a lot of suicides, because people don't talk to us." Harold O'Brien

At the age of 68, Harold O'Brien met the love of his life and married for the first time. Except when he was drafted into World War II, Harold had never ventured far from his farm and hometown, but Norma convinced him to enter the Iowa state Checkers Championship. With her encouragement and faith, and against very long odds, Harold won the championship.

Only a few months later, though, Norma died, and Harold began a six-year struggle with severe depression. At one point, realizing that he was suicidal, he had himself hospitalized. One morning, in his eighty-first year, Harold awoke thinking about how disappointed Norma would have been with his floundering life. In her memory, he decided to enter the National Championships. This is a warm and inspiring story that is nonetheless honest about the darker realities of aging and depression.

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