‘Rudy’ talks at TU breakfast
A national speaker said that through it all, he never abandoned his dream and went on to become one of the most recognized University of Notre Dame graduates
Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger delivered his keynote address – excerpts from his book “Insights for Winning Life” — Thursday during Tiffin University’s Good Morning World Lecture series.
Ruettiger was one of 14 children from a working class Chicago family. He and his brothers fought over everything — socks, shoes and even underwear, he said.
Ruettiger said he was excited throughout fourth grade.
“Teachers told me I could be anything and everything I wanted to be,” he said.
But it was in fifth grade, when Ruettiger began to be given homework, he began to struggle.
“I was so stressed out about homework,” he said. “People learn when they are inspired. I was focused on what I couldn’t do.”
Ruettiger struggled with dyslexia and teachers embarrassed him in front of his classmates. Ruettiger graduated third from the bottom of his class and went to work soon after.
“I didn’t like where I was,” he said. “I then joined the Navy because of (the Vietnam War).”
While in the Navy, Ruettiger said he was issued new clothes, including his own underwear.
“I was so excited,” he said. “I learned not to tell people your victories. They will steal your joy.”
Overtime, Ruettiger was looked at as a leader for his upkeep of his footlocker and his confidence was building.
Ruettiger said he also got “his edge” from his mother.
“I began to start dreaming again,” he said.
His dream always was to attend the University of Notre Dame and play college football.
Through his persistence, Ruettiger was accepted into Notre Dame. He began to fully pursue his dream when a friend of his died and Ruettiger discovered life is too short and to not live in regret.
Ruettiger’s crowning achievement was when he sacked the quarterback in the last 27 seconds of the only play in the only game of his college football career. He is the only player in the school’s history to be carried off the field on his teammates’ shoulders. In 1993, Tristar Productions immortalized his life story with the blockbuster film, “Rudy.”
“It took 27 years to play 27 seconds,” Ruettiger said.
Ruettiger said he owes his success to having a positive attitude not focusing on the negative.
Ruettiger said he quit hanging around the “excuse” and “why” guys.
“Winners want you to succeed,” he said.
“I made it by not listening to someone who said I couldn’t, but to someone who said I could,” Ruettiger said.