Recently, I had the opportunity to go to a Notre Dame game. Every time I go to Notre Dame, it reminds me of the movie Rudy, which is my favorite movie of all time. Even if you don’t like Notre Dame, you have to love a story of an underdog overcoming obstacles in order to succeed. After attending the game, I felt the need to watch the movie, so my family and I sat down together just a few nights ago and watched Rudy. Throughout the movie, I was saddened by how many people tried to squash Rudy Ruettiger’s dreams of going to Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish. His dad, brothers, girlfriend and teachers all told Rudy that he was a dreamer and that there was no way he could ever attend Notre Dame or play on their football team. Yes, I know Rudy wasn’t your typical college student and especially wasn’t a prototypical Notre Dame football star. His grades weren’t great, in fact they were below average. It is an understatement to say that Rudy was a small player. Rudy was 5’6″ and weighed a measly 165 pounds. On top of his size, he also didn’t have a ton of natural athletic ability. Those things didn’t stop Rudy though, he didn’t listen to the people in his life who told him he couldn’t do it and that he wasn’t good enough. He didn’t let his size and ability stop him from pursuing his dreams. He continued pursuing his dream – day in and day out – until he reached his goal.
I mentioned above that there were several characters in the movie that were dream stealers. Those were the characters that discouraged Rudy from chasing his dream. They told him all the reasons why he couldn’t attend Notre Dame or play for the Fighting Irish. Even when Rudy made progress towards his goal, those dream stealers were right there to tell him he wasn’t being realistic and he needed to give up. Luckily, there was another group of characters. The other group of characters were the dream facilitators. They were the ones who believed in Rudy. They were the ones who helped Rudy along the way in his pursuit of getting accepted to Notre Dame and get onto the football team. They were the ones who encouraged him when he was ready to give up.
If you were a character in the movie Rudy, which type of character would you be? Would you be a dream stealer or a facilitator of dreams? Would you be one to try to find reasons why Rudy couldn’t achieve his dreams or would you have been one to help him, encouraging him during his pursuit?
As an educator, I was disappointed to see that his teachers were some of the ones who were trying to discourage Rudy from chasing his dream. I don’t know about you, but I went into education so I could help students follow their dreams. I became a teacher in order to be a facilitator of dreams. I never want to squash a student’s dream or goal in life. I want to figure out ways to help all students succeed. Sometimes it is even important to help students see that they can dream bigger.
I encourage you to talk to your students about their dreams. Tell them about your dreams. Encourage them to pursue their dreams, no matter what the obstacles may be. Help the students figure out ways around, or over, the obstacles they face. Create positive relationships with your students that will have a lasting impact on their lives. You never know which one of our students will be the next Rudy. Someone who overcomes countless obstacles and naysayers, who achieves their goal and one who inspires others to do the same.
In case it’s been awhile since you have watched Rudy, here is the final scene (the best scene of all time). Every time I watch this I get chills. I have to admit, sometimes I pretend they are chanting my name instead of Rudy’s! 🙂