If ever you are seeking inspiration or motivation, one of the best movies to turn to, sports related or otherwise, is Rudy. The movie is based on the true story about a young man named Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger who dreamt of playing college football for the University of Notre Dame. He faced many significant obstacles in his quest to play college football. He was never the most gifted athlete, but he had the heart to make up for it. Youth football players can learn a lot from Rudy. Here are three lessons that can be taken from the movie and applied to football, other sports, and life.

1. Believe in yourself. Not many people gave Rudy a chance, including his own family. Rudy’s family loved watching Notre Dame football, and Rudy wanted to play for the team from the time when he was a kid. Everyone took it as a joke since Rudy was so small and wasn’t particularly athletically gifted. That didn’t stop Rudy from believing in himself. He knew there would be challenges but believed he could face them.

2. Don’t take “no” for an answer. Rudy was told his entire life that there was no chance he could fulfill his dream of playing college football. He decided to ignore the people telling him he couldn’t do it and followed his heart. Not only did Rudy lack athletic ability, but he was academically challenged as well. He went to Notre Dame to seek admission and was told there was little chance he would be accepted. He barged into the office of the Notre Dame football coaches despite being told no and let the coach know he would be playing football for him in the future. Rudy decided to fight the odds and worked his butt off in junior college to get the grades he needed to get into Notre Dame. He went to football tryouts as a walk-on, and he didn’t let his coaches take him out of football drills even when he kept getting crushed. He wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

3. Hard work pays off. Rudy worked harder than anybody else on the football field. During the last football practice of the season, Rudy was still trying hard, and one of his teammates didn’t appreciate it, saying that Rudy shouldn’t be trying since it was the last practice of the season. His football coaches took notice and reprimanded Rudy’s teammate saying, “You just summed up your entire sorry career here in one sentence! If you had a tenth of the heart of Ruettiger, you'd have made All-American by now! As it is, you just went from third team to the prep team! Get out of here!” Rudy was at a huge disadvantage but was able to work his way on to the football team and eventually into a game. His work ethic was incredible and shows just how much can be achieved through hard work and determination. Another great quote from the movie is when Rudy says, “Who cares how much effort I put in, if it doesn’t produce any results?” Rudy’s desire to produce results on the field is what drove him to work as hard as he did.

Rudy is a true underdog story that should be an inspiration to youth and high school football players everywhere. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t the best athlete. He wanted it the most and worked the hardest for it. That’s what mattered the most.

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