A little while ago, I came across a great story told by Rudy Ruettiger, a renowned player for the Notre Dame football that inspired his squad for years with his determination and work ethic. Hollywood eventually made a motion picture about his exploits and help to inspire thousands of people around the world.
In the following story, Rudy tells a touching story of him and his father and how a certain situation turned his life around…forever.
Notre Dame is a legendary place. A spot on the team means a chance at great fame. Rudy Ruettiger is a legend himself. He made the Notre Dame class. He then went on to become the heart of the Fighting Irish. His dad, Daniel Ruettiger, was a war hero and legendary dad. 14 kids. Married a world-class mom. Worked three jobs. Yet he always found time to attend his kids’ games.
“Bullied, badgered and mad, I became a rebel in school. Sophomore year it came to ahead. I befriended a rough kid who well could have spelled my end. A big fight was planned for that Friday night. My friend said, ‘Rudy, we’re tough. Let’s go.’
I foolishly agreed. I had a big head. It was a chance to show off. I’d smear those kids who had made me so mad.
I waited until the family was fast asleep. Quietly, I slid out of bed, pulled on my clothes, and tiptoed to the back door. I was careful not to make a sound.
Dad knew something was up. He cut me off at the door. With his hand on my shoulder, he insisted we talk.
I admitted where I was headed. The kids we would fight had belittled us. It was our turn to teach em’ some stuff.
That’s when Dad rescued my future, and maybe my life. He replied, ‘You are no man when a meaningless fight is your way. You become a man by knowing when to walk away. Learn it now and remember.’
I’m blessed that Dad stayed up to catch me that night. Bad news came the next day. Several were badly hurt in the fray. With a blow to the head, my friend was now dead.
It could have been me, or I might have been cuffed and taken away. Either way, that would have spelled the end of my dream – no Notre Dame.
Dad, you were the best: You taught me to stop the big talk; to get in life’s game, then go out and fight to make the big plays. You taught me to know when to walk away.”
By: Rudy Ruettiger
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” ~ Proverbs 1:8