Rudy wasn’t my first choice of movies to watch this week. My first choice was Door to Door, but it wasn’t available on Netflix, and there wasn’t time to purchase it from Amazon. Next was October Sky, and when I first looked (didn’t have time to watch it then, and didn’t yet belong to Netflix—I didn’t know how it worked) I was pretty sure that I saw it. Next was Rudy, but I’m not much of a football fan. Finally, there was Cool Runnings, and Jamaica bobsledding held no interest for me at all, even though I knew that the purpose of watching any of these films was not the plot but the reason behind the plot.
When I finally went back to Netflix to get October Sky, it wasn’t there. Damn! So I watched Rudy. All I can say is—WOW! I was so inspired by that kid. I must have reached for the Kleenex a half-dozen times. So often he got knocked down, but was never, ever discouraged. Now THAT was a Hero’s Journey.
After watching the film (it was 12:30 am or later when it was over) I searched for the true story (adding another hour or so to watch various clips before turning in. Rudy was in the movie with a very brief cameo.) The movie was dramatic, and it was unclear what was actually true and what was added/changed for dramatic purposes. The real story, though, was pretty mind-boggling. This small kid from a working-class family and town with few good football skills but with heart and desire from here to the moon and back completely fulfilled his dream/goal—to play football for Notre Dame.
What I found most astounding, however, is the tremendous support he earned from his teammates. This support didn’t come naturally or quickly. So much so that some of the team were willing to give up their spot so that Rudy could play (only a certain number of players could dress for a game), so the coach conceded to let him do so. But the truly unbelievable part came at the very end when crowd starting chanting his name, “Ru-dy, Ru-dy.” The coach had to let him play. Then (and this actually happened) Rudy, this small, scrawny kid, sacked the quarterback of the opposing team in the last play of the game (Notre Dame was way ahead, and Rudy’s entry into the game didn’t make a difference for the score). Then the team carried Rudy off the field. That was the ONLY time that Notre Dame ever carried a player off the field.
No, he didn’t go on to become a football star or even a player after that. That didn’t matter. He persisted and persisted and persisted. He was obsessed, and so long as you don’t hurt anyone in the process, obsession isn’t bad. It’s necessary!