A Man and His Dream

Today’s post was inspired by Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, the man who inspired the movie “Rudy.”  Surely you’ve seen the movie.  (Read about it here.)

Released 20 years ago this month, “Rudy” is the inspiring story of a young man with a heart the size of a football field, a dream the size of planet earth and what happens amidst persistence, consistency, commitment, passion, loyalty, respect, and encouragement.  The answer is: a series of unforgettable, life-changing experiences.

Fortune: Hey kid! You’re not supposed to be here!
Rudy: Hey this place is really something else huh? Someday I’m gonna come out of that tunnel and I’m gonna run onto this field.
Fortune: Well it ain’t gonna be this day…
Rudy: I’m here to play football for the Irish!
Fortune: Coach Parseghian know about it?
Rudy: No… not yet.
Fortune: Well maybe you best tell him first…

Late in the story, Rudy is in his final year of athletic eligibility at Notre Dame.  He has spent countless hours on the practice squad and he’s never suited up to play.  With the final game of the season just days away, his dream is slipping away and his reservoir of hope is empty.  So he does what ordinary people do.  He quits!  Well, almost.

Rudy is no ordinary person.  He has earned the respect of many and built a substantial circle of influence.   One of these within his circle is his mentor who intervenes with the following story of regret…

Fortune: I rode the bench for two years. Thought I wasn’t bein’ played because of my color. I got filled up with a lotta attitude. So I quit. Still not a week goes by I don’t regret it. And I guarantee a week won’t go by in your life you won’t regret walkin’ out, letting them get the best of ya. You hear me clear enough?

With hope restored, Rudy returns to the team.  If you know the story, you can already see the smallest guy on the team standing in the tunnel next to the team captain, suited up and ready to enter the field.

Steele: Rudy, are you ready for this, champ?
Rudy: I’ve been ready for this my whole life!
Steele: Then you take us out on the field.

By the time you read this I will have enjoyed a day with the real Rudy.  Here’s my prediction.  The movie is great, but meeting the man in person will give his story greater relevance with my life.  The experience will also top off my reservoir of hope.  Best of all, this day will inspire me to ask game-changing questions like, “Do I have a Rudy’s heart-sized Impossible Mega-Dream?”  and “What am I doing now to turn my dream into reality?”  Here’s the easiest prediction of all.  Before this day with Rudy, anticipation will inspire me to write about it on my blog.

Dealing With Difficulties

Personal and professional development is not what some think it is.  It’s not about eliminating or even reducing our difficulties.  So you you might be asking, why bother with it?  Development leading to growth…

  • Alters our attitudes about difficulties so we are open to what they can do FOR us, not TO us;
  • Prepares us to deal more effectively with the inevitable difficulties of life;
  • Teaches us to respect and value life’s challenges for what they are — growth opportunities;
  • It reveals the role good character has in avoiding many of the most common difficulties;
  • Strengthens us for bigger challenges;
  • Gives us wisdom that we can use to help others deal with their challenges; and
  • Rewards us with more meaningful challenges — the kind that lead to greatness.

“…life is supposed to be difficult!  It’s what enables us to grow.
Remember, earth is not heaven!”

— Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, p. 173.