Rudy: “You might have to take a different path to get there, but you will get there and that’s what’s exciting.”
The real-life inspiration behind the classic sports movie Rudy was a special guest at Progressive Field on Thursday, September 20. Rudy Ruettiger delivered an inspirational address to a group of students and fans, and later threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Indians game against the Minnesota Twins.
Ruettiger, the Notre Dame walk-on whose improbable impact on the Fighting Irish football team was chronicled in the movie Rudy, encouraged the audience to be fearless in pursuing their dreams.
“When I was [young], I was giving up on myself, and the reason was I was hanging around with the wrong friends, and because of the wrong friends…I didn’t believe in myself,” said Ruettiger. “The day I changed my friends was the day I started dreaming again. When I started dreaming again, I started doing better in school, I started thinking better, and I started dreaming bigger.”
After speaking for half an hour and answering questions from the students and others in the audience, Ruettiger moved down to field level where he threw the first pitch.
“When I was a little boy I always wanted to catch a foul ball at a ballpark, and have that first major league ball. I always wanted that, and those dreams come true today,” Ruettiger explained. “Now I get to go out and throw first pitches out on baseball fields, so dreams do come true. You might have to take a different path to get there, but you will get there, and that’s what’s exciting.”
Ruettiger concluded: “The key is: dream, never quit, and keep preparing for the dream because you never know when your opportunity is going to happen.”
– Tribe Vibe contributor Max Lom