My guest today, Rudy Ruettiger, exemplifies what it means to have the deep resilience and persistence needed to make a dream come true. For those who are not familiar with Rudy Ruettiger, his life story was made into a major motion Hollywood sports film in 1993 and to this day, nearly 30 years later, still stands as one of the most inspiring sports movies out there. In fact, in the words of the late, great Kobe Bryant:
“If Rudy could accomplish what he did without being blessed with the physical talent to play football at that level, what could I accomplish if I worked as hard as he did? After watching that movie, I decided that I would always work as if I'm the last man on the team that had everything to prove.”
Kobe describes Rudy as being the one person who's had the biggest influence on his life and he literally broke down in tears the day he met Rudy in person letting him know what a difference he made in his life and career.
As well, 4 US presidents were so moved by the movie that they wrote hand written letters to Rudy himself. The 4 presidents were both Bushes, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama.
Rudy Ruettiger was an undersized walk on who earned a spot for two years on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team in the 1974 and 1975 seasons. Although he did not dress for games, he was given the opportunity to put on the uniform and dress in the last home game of his senior year in 1975 and got in the game in the the closing minute to record his first ever tackle in the final moments of the game. The final scene of this movie is a moving tribute to who Rudy was and why he was so loved.
His story, however, is about so much more than football which is why Hollywood and Notre Dame deeply supported the making of this movie. Full disclosure here, as a college football player myself back in Canada in the 1990s, I was an undersized player who had to work very myself to have a chance to be starting quarterback and punter for my university team. The movie Rudy was a great inspiration to me at the time and taught me that I needed to push myself even harder to be the best I could be with the talent I possessed.
In our episode today, Rudy and I talk about what it was like for him growing up in the family of 14 brothers and sisters, the loss of his best friend which ultimately sparked his desire to quit his job and move to South Bend Indiana to make the Notre Dame dream happen, and we also talk about his spirituality and the desire he has to make a difference in the world by sharing his story.
We also chat about Hollywood actor Sean Astin who played his character in the movie and how he and Sean collaborated in order for Sean to do the very best he could in the role of Rudy in the movie.
I was super excited to record this podcast with Rudy, but due to technical difficulties and a poor internet connection, there were a number of glitches that prevented us from recording the entire interview. After editing, I managed to capture only 17 minutes of our 40 minute conversation but there are still some gems in there.
Connect with Rudy:
Rudy's Movie: https://www.netflix.com/title/60002332