Rudy MovieI am a firm believer of surrounding yourself with empowering, supportive environments to help you reach your goals and live an authentic, fulfilling life.  Everything in my life supports me: my art, vision boards, books, calendars, music, friends, daily emails from Tut, fitness, nutrition, my pets, my home, my garden and the tv shows and movies I watch.  I love watching inspiring movies, particularly true stories that share determination, inspiration, and true grit.  One of my favorite inspiring movies is Rudy.  The movie came out in 1993 and it’s one of my all-time favorite “go-to” movies to remind myself what dedication and commitment to a goal looks like and what they can accomplish. And it gives me that extra kick to keep trying when I might be tempted to give up.

Rudy shares the life and dream of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger.  His sole dream was to play football at the University of Notre Dame.  While this is a lofty goal for any athlete, Rudy had many challenges to overcome to realize his dream.  He was small, he was not athletic, he had dyslexia and academic challenges, his family expected him to work at the steel mill with his father and brother and he did not have a support system.  In fact, his family thought he was crazy and mocked his desire to play football.

Despite his severe challenges, Rudy was laser-focused and never wavered in his belief and commitment to achieve his goal.  He was denied admission to Notre Dame so he attended a nearby junior college with the assistance of a local priest. He faithfully attended classes and innovatively found a tutor.  The tutor helped him with his studies and Rudy helped him meet girls.  He had to pay his way through college, so he got a job working with the football stadium’s groundskeeper and he snuck into his office at night for a place to sleep.  He ran his own drills to work on his skills.  He lived, worked and breathed his goal.

After many rejections from Notre Dame, he was finally accepted as a transfer student. He tried out for the team as a walk on, through the snickers of players twice his size.  His determination was greater than the entire team combined.  He was beat down, knocked down, bloody, battered, and bruised, but he jumped back into action after every hit.  His heart was in the game.  His tenacity and “never-die!” attitude earned him a spot on the practice team.

He endured endless beatings as he helped ready the first string for the season.  Players told him to take it down a notch as he was making them look bad.  Rudy simply could not imagine not giving 500% to his dream. Despite his heroic efforts, he never made the list to dress and play on game day.  In fact, his family didn’t believe he was on the team.   He finally obtained the coach’s agreement to let him dress for one game before he graduated, then the coach left Notre Dame.  The new coach, former NFL coach Dan Devin, had no intention to let Rudy play.

Rudy’s tenacity and heart made an impact on the team and they all backed him.  One-by-one, they turned in their jersey and told the coach they’d sit out so he could play.  On the last game of his senior year, he earned a spot on the team and the honor to lead the team out of the tunnel onto the field.  His family filled the stands and the pride was palpable.

At the end of the fourth quarter, Notre Dame was winning so coach played the seniors, except Rudy.  The Notre Dame bench started to chant Rudy’s name.  Soon, the entire stadium was chanting “Rudy,” encouraging the coach to play him.  Showing their support of Rudy, the Notre Dame team disregarded coach’s instructions and created another opportunity for Rudy to get into the game.  In the final moments of the game, coach let Rudy play.  The entire stadium erupted in supportive glee!  As is appropriate for the culmination of a dream stemming from his efforts, Rudy sacks the opposing quarterback and the entire stadium and the Notre Dame bench went wild!  Rudy was carried off the field on his teammates’ shoulders, the first and only player to earn this honor.

This inspirational movie reminds you that you have to give 500% and never give up on your dreams, even when all seems impossible.  Believe in the power of your dream and hold on tight.  Do whatever it takes to pursue and reach that dream.  Don’t give up when it gets challenging and hard.  Have a bigger heart than anyone else.  Innovate and get creative to find solutions.  Don’t let other people define you. Don’t let the negativity of others impede you.  Have faith.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.  Let your actions define you.

I recommend adding this to your list of movies to inspire, empower and encourage you as you step into the New Year and reach for your dreams.  You simply can’t give up after watching this movie.

Carpe Diem!