Tag Archive | "Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger"

Hold Fast to Your Dreams

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In the 1993 biographical drama Rudy, a young man from a small steel mill town overcomes his physical limitations, intellectual shortcomings, and the doubts of friends and family members to achieve his dream of gaining acceptance and playing football for Notre Dame University.  The true story, based on the life of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, chronicles his childhood aspirations, academic deficiencies, and familial and societal pressures impeding the pursuit of his dream.  Ultimately, through dogged determination and hard work, Rudy triumphs in a way that serves not only to fulfill his aspirations but also to uplift and inspire his younger siblings and us all.

In the film, during a lunchroom conversation with his best friend Pete, whose untimely passing in a steel mill accident provides the impetus for Rudy to break with family and fiancé and head to South Bend, Indiana to seek acceptance to Notre Dame, Pete offers a definition of “dreams” when he quotes his own father saying that “dreams are what makes life tolerable.”

More than “tolerable,” I would contend that dreams are what make life stimulating and meaningful.  Absent dreams, our lives would meander haphazardly from experience to experience.  With little or no significance attached to any of our experiences, each day would be a virtual replica of the previous one and would compound the sense of life’s meaninglessness.  Without meaning, our actions become pointless.  And, without action, a pall is cast over that expanse of time that is life without purpose.  A life shrouded in depression and poverty of spirit is not worth living.

And so, hold fast to your dreams.  Pursue them with jubilation, hope, and tenacity. Though the dream should remain unfulfilled, you will find that the steps themselves taken toward its achievement represent victories that, no matter how small, will provide your life with purpose and significance.

While providing you with a life of purpose, your dreams may also inspire others.  Dreams are infectious.  Witnessing your efforts to achieve your dreams encourages others to pursue theirs.  And, the sense of accomplishment accompanying fulfillment of a dream stimulates the development and quest to achieve yet more challenging dreams.

The film ends with Rudy being carried off the field in his final collegiate game, but Rudy’s life and story continued.  What he has dreamed and accomplished since that time are fully known only by him and those closest to him.  While achievement of few of life’s dreams is heralded by tens of thousands of cheering supporters, the value of each dream achieved is not diminished.  For each dream is an embryo in a purpose-driven life. 

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