It’s funny to me how entertainment and the media can affect how someone will view a situation. When someone finds their way onto television or into a movie, they are almost instantly lifted to celebrity status by a frightening large cross-section of our society.
Movies also blur reality. I’m not talking about battling robot cars or dueling wizards, we all know that’s just good entertainment. I’m talking about the “true” stories that uplift and inspire us. When directors and screenwriters get involved, however, much of the truth winds up on the cutting room floor.
I’ll admit, I’ve been caught up in it too. Arguably one of the best sports movies of all time is Rudy. At the end of this movie, when the crowd is chanting “Rudy! Rudy!” and his dad is crying in the stands as Vince Vaughn jogs off the field, pokes the ball in Rudy’s chest and says; “That was for you!” –doesn’t the hair on the back of your neck stand up a little?
Then, when Jon Favreau screams “Who’s the wild man now?”, just try to hold back a little sniff. I dare you.
It’s time to take a breath and gain a little perspective. I played college football and I didn’t understand the reality of Rudy until I got my first starting job in my third year. I hate to break it to you but, EVERY TEAM HAS A RUDY! Most have loads of them. It’s called a “Scout Team”. Hell, there was a time that I was a “Rudy”. Only then they called it being a “Scout Team All-American”. There is always a guy that is trying WAY too hard on Tuesday’s practice and ends up getting his bell rung day in and day out. I know. I was him. I was annoying.
It’s hard for a young man right out of high school to understand that, no matter how hard you try to get past the starting tackle trying to “make him better”, you’re not as big and fast as the starting defensive end at Texas A & M. If you were, you’d be starting for your team.
Now that I have all of the Rudy fans hating me (DSP Harley), I’ll take it a step further. Google “Daniel Reuttiger“, the real Rudy. Today, he’s made a career piggybacking off of the movie as a motivational speaker. He gets paid 10k a pop (probably more now). All this because his “story” was told on the big screen–a story no different than a lot of other guys out there.
This fact couldn’t have been made any clearer the day I played golf with a couple of “youngsters” and one impressive stranger. I started talking to the older guy about this and that and he asked me if I had played football (my wife says it’s my abnormal calves that give me away). As it turns out, he had played college football too…at Notre Dame. Impressive.
Just then, one of the two other guys chimed in, “The dude in the pro shop said you played with Rudy!” He gave me a sideways knowing glance and answered “Yup.” I could tell this was about the millionth time he had been asked. They fired question after question at him about Rudy but most of his responses were “You know, I don’t really know.” He was polite but I could see a glazed look wash over his face.
We finished our round, shook hands and headed our separate ways.
On my way back from returning the golf cart the two buddies walked by chatting enthusiastically. One said, “Wasn’t that cool? I can’t believe he played with Rudy.” I smiled back and simply said, “Guys, he played with Joe Montana too.” Their jaws dropped. Now that’s a TRUE story worth telling.
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