Project Description

1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Perseverance is not for the weak. Many times we will find ourselves defeated in life and with no more to give. It is at this point that we do move on, move forward, and move in a direction to overcome defeat. Failure is inevitable. It is just a part of what it means to grow, to learn, to achieve. Those that persevere are the ones that reach their goals. You can fail 100 times before you succeed, but stop trying and you will never succeed. That is what perseverance is all about – continuing even though the path is hard and filled with opposition.

When I hear the word perseverance I think of Dan (Rudy) Ruettiger. He grew up in Joliet Illinois in a lower-middle class blue collar family, the third of fourteen children.

Ever since he was a small boy, Rudy dreamed of going to college and playing football at Notre Dame. But he was small, his grades weren’t good and his family had little money.

Because of Dyslexia, a learning disability, Rudy struggled in school. When he was a senior in High School, he was just 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighed only 150 pounds. No one thought Rudy would ever make it to Notre Dame, let alone play football there. Rudy worked at a Boiler Factory after High School for 2 years, saving money to pursue his dream. His grades weren’t good enough to get into Notre Dame, so he spent two years at Holy Cross Junior College. He suffered through three crushing rejections to transfer into Notre Dame, but was finally accepted as a student in 1974. He came close many times to giving up on his dream of going to Notre Dame and playing football, as he worked tirelessly to pay his own way through college and make good grades.

Beating all odds, Rudy earned a place on the Notre Dame scout team, a grueling practice squad position that helps the varsity team practice for games with almost no chance of playing in real games. Rudy’s perseverance and hard work on the scout team caught the eyes of his coaches. In Rudy’s senior year the coaches allowed him to suit up for the final game against Georgia Tech. Coach put him into the game as defensive end for the last two plays, on the final play of the game Rudy sacked the Quarterback and was carried off the field by his teammates. Rudy went on to be the first college graduate from his family. The perseverance Rudy learned on his football journey played a key role in his later success as a husband, father and in the business world. His story was immortalized in the movie “Rudy”.