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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

Rudy sucked

Four years ago, almost to the day, I watched "Rudy" with my mom to celebrate my acceptance letter from Notre Dame. Hugs were had, relatives were called, tears were shed; it was a pretty great day.
For kids like me who grew up with golden domes dancing in their dreams, "Rudy" was like a fifth Gospel. The kid overcame all the odds to sneak into not just the university, but the legendary football team, even if just for that one glorious sack.
Now that I'm in college, "Rudy" has a different kind of inspiration for me. I know now that the Rudy in "Rudy" is more inspired by a person than the real thing. The jersey scene in Dan Devine's office never happened. Joe Montana says they carried Rudy off the field as a joke.
And, most importantly, Rudy sucked. This is the fictional Rudy I'm talking about, not the real life one, whom I have no interest in slandering in any way. I'm taking about the fake Rudy, from the movie. He sucked.
I find a lot of comfort in that.
He wasn't a very good student, barely scratched by with help from more talented friends and by some miracle was eventually accepted into and graduated from the University of Notre Dame. Assuming I ever make it out of here, I can identify with fake Rudy on that front.
He was a no-talent, no-athleticism shrimp of a football player who toughed his way onto the football field and ended up making one inspirational play. I don't think I've ever toughed my way into anything, but it eases my mind to think that this inspirational figure really wasn't good at very much of anything beyond persevering.
Finals week is fast approaching, with final papers and projects littering my path to the end of my semester like a minefield of group meetings in the LaFortune basement.
Instead of stressing that I'll fail anything and everything that comes before me, and worrying that really, if we're being honest, it's entirely possible that I've faked my way the whole time up until this point, and all my luck is about to run out, I simply sit back and remember, Rudy sucked. And he did okay.
So, if you're feeling stressed as finals approach, if you feel like you don't belong and you don't have any real talent and the whole world is crashing down around your head, take a break and watch "Rudy."
At the end of the movie, when the team carries him off the field, and you feel that old, familiar heartwarming feeling come creeping up inside of you, realize what it really means - Rudy sucked, and so can you. And everything's going to be all right.
Contact Kevin Noonan at
    The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.