Recent comments by the National Football League’s Hall of Fame, quarterback, Joe Montana, drove me to watch the 1993 movie Rudy again.
Rudy is based on the life of, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. Rudy came from a huge (thirteen siblings) catholic family and his dream was to play football for Notre Dame University. But there were some problems. Rudy’s grades were bad, the family didn’t have the money and at 5’ 7” he was a little small for college football. So off to the steel mill he went like most of the other kids who didn’t go to college. After the tragic death of a friend/co-worker, Rudy decided that his dream couldn’t die like his friend in the mill. He left home for Notre Dame.
Now if you haven’t seen the movie, I’m sure you know that if Hollywood made this into a movie, he must finally play football for Notre Dame. And if that’s what you guessed, you would be right. But playing in the football game is just part of the story. The part that stirs your soul is the fact that he did it at all. He didn’t give up when he was declined admission to Notre Dame not once, not twice, but three times. He worked hard to improve his grades and kept knocking down any other obstacles in front of him. He struggled to achieve his dream.
It turns out that Joe Montana was on the Notre Dame football team with Rudy. During a recent interview, Mr. Montana seemed tired of answering questions of his former teammate. He said that “it was just a movie,” and that as a player Rudy didn’t practice “any harder than anyone else.” He also said that pivotal scenes didn’t happen, like the one where the players one-by-one hand in their jerseys to give their spot on the team to Rudy.
I realized that Mr. Montana must not have understood that this movie wasn’t just a movie about football. And so what if all the players didn’t hand in their jerseys. It’s about the journey, Mr. Montana. I thought he was wiser than that. Say it aint so, Joe.