Rudy: The underdog story


The 1993 football movie “Rudy” is an inspiring story about a young man who refuses to be denied his dream of playing football for the University of Notre Dame.

Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger grew up in Joliet, Ill., during the 1970s, where he learns to love Notre Dame football from his dad and older brothers, all of whom are intense Notre Dame fans. Rudy dreams of playing football for the Fighting Irish but is often ridiculed and made fun of by his father and older brothers, who don’t feel that Rudy has the skills to succeed at Notre Dame. Only Rudy’s friend Pete believes Rudy could achieve.

However, Rudy’s position as an underdog is secured when a tragedy befalls Pete, leaving Rudy alone in feeling he can accomplish his goals. Rudy makes the decision to set out on his own and try to accomplish his dream of playing football for the Fighting Irish.

Rudy leaves his family and job at the steel mill behind and heads to South Bend with only a few possessions and $1,000. Through the help of a kind pastor, Father Cavanaugh, Rudy outlines a plan to get himself into Notre Dame and overcome his difficulties in school.

Through hard work and dedication to his schoolwork, Rudy finally gets accepted to Notre Dame after being denied admission three times. Now as a student at Notre Dame, Rudy’s focus turns to accomplishing his desire of playing football for the Fighting Irish. Even though he lacks any real athletic ability, Rudy is one of the few walk-ons that made the team.

Rudy spends his junior season as a defensive end for the scout team. He impresses the coaches by giving all the effort he has even though he is over-matched by offensive linemen who are almost a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than he is. By the end of the season he has convinced the head coach to let him dress for one home game his senior year.

Adversity doesn’t leave Rudy alone for very long, though. A coaching change in the off-season means Rudy is once again the underdog. He has to prove himself to his new coach and overcome feelings of defeat if he is to achieve his goal of playing in a game for the Fighting Irish.

Does his hard work pay off? Does Rudy prove that he belongs with the Fighting Irish? You’ll have to watch the movie and find out.


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