Rudy is my all-time favorite football and sports movie. Released in 1993 it stars Sean Astin who plays Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger, a small, undersized, slow defensive end who dreams of grander things. After high school his future is to end up working in the factory like his father and brother but he has grander dreams. When his best friend dies in an accident he decides to try out for the Notre Dame football team. The movie follows his struggles and triumphs until in the end he's finally able to dress for a game, gets in for two plays and sacks the QB, whereupon his teammates carry him off the field.
It's an incredibly inspirational film. I used to watch it before football games to get pumped up, but how much of it is true? Join me after the jump as we take a look at the real Rudy and learn how much of the movie is fact and how much is fiction.
The real #45, Rudy Ruettiger
Daniel Ruettiger was born August 23, 1948. He grew up in a working class family, the third of fourteen children. School was hard for him because he had dyslexia (which wasn't diagnosed until he went to college). Since his grades weren't good enough to get into Notre Dame he attended Holy Cross College and in 1974 was accepted as a student at Notre Dame. He walked on to the football team and spent his entire career on the practice squad. In his last home game Coach Devine put Rudy in at the end of the game. According to Ruettiger the movie gets the ending mostly right. Players did go to Coach Devine before the game asking him to let Rudy play, and the crowd did chant Rudy's name--apparently the school newspaper had written a couple of articles about his story so they knew what was going on. Rudy has the distinct honor of being one of only two players ever carried off the field by Notre Dame players.
Since the release of the movie Rudy travels across the country giving motivational speeches. These are some of the ideas that he focuses on:
"Don't hang around negative people. They will destroy your dreams and your passions."
"Combat goofy thoughts with little moments of victory." (Remember things you do well to avoid beating yourself up over a mistake.)
"When you get mad, you should pray."
"You're not a bad person if you make a mistake. Just don't make it again."
"My football career [what Rudy calls his moment] lasted only 27 seconds. Don't cheat your moment by cutting corners in your preparation."
"Always project enthusiasm. It influences people, unlike pessimism."
"You don't need a lot to be a somebody. You need a dream and heart."
"Do not surrender to authorities. Surrender to people who pick you up."
"It took me 10 years before someone finally agreed to make my movie, when I was 44. Be patient in life. Your big moment will come."
Here are two great You Tube clips with interviews of Ruettiger
Here's the actual play depicted at the end of the movie
So what's your favorite football movie?