Lessons From Rudy

By January 8, 2011 14 Comments

When growing up I loved being active and playing sports.  I would mostly play with my younger brothers and sisters and occasionally with the neighbors.  My family had a rule that we couldn’t join organized sports until we were in 7th grade.  In 8th grade I joined the school basketball team for the first time.  8th-10th grade was an awkward time for my body.  I had a huge growth spurt and at one point grew 6 inches in 7 months.  I never was very fast, strong, coordinated, or quick.  I soon realized that I was overmatched physically and experientially by the guys who had played traveling ball since 1st grade.

I don’t know if it was around this time or if it was something I had as a young boy, but I realized that I might not be as fast, quick, or skilled as the others, but there was one thing each day that I could do better than anybody else.  Can you guess what it was?  It was my effort.  I understood that we are all given a different deck of cards, whether genetic, or environmental.  We can’t change that, but what we can change is how we show up to perform and the level of effort we give each and everyday in life.

So how does this relate to Rudy?  Most of you probably have seen the classic football movie Rudy.  If you haven’t, rent it and have your whole family watch it.  Rudy wanted to play for Notre Dame, but he was very small and didn’t stand a chance against the massive Notre Dame players.  He works very hard, and makes the practice squad and even though he gets destroyed every day in practice he keeps getting back up.  The movie ends with the coach playing Rudy and the whole stadium chants “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy…”  It is definitely a goosebump moment.

Here is the final scene from the movie when Rudy gets his chance:

My coaches soon took notice that I was the first one at practice and the last to leave, many times having to kick me out of the gym.  I steadily improved and in 11th grade became one of the only players (the only one in the couple years I played) who made varsity team and didn’t play traveling basketball growing up.  I went to a big school with over 2,000 students 10-12th grade.  I played mostly JV but would always practice with varsity players and I would get matched up against our top players in practice.  One day one of my teammates came up with the nickname “Rudy” for me.  It quickly caught on and that is pretty much what my coaches and teammates called me.  To be honest I never really liked the nickname and was a little embarassed by it, but looking back on it I can laugh about it.

My 10th and 11th grade years were mostly spent on the varsity bench but when we were blowing out the other teams (which we usually did), the non starters would get a chance to play.  My nickname grew throughout school and when there was a blowout, people in the stands would start to chant “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy…” over and over again until the coach put me in, then I would receive a standing ovation.  This was pretty humiliating back then, but again now it is cool.

My 11th grade year I received the award MIP (most improved player) and was runner up for the hustler of the year.

Why do I share this story with you?  I have found so many people scared and afraid to try my programs out because they don’t think they are in great shape.  They are afraid what others might think.  They are afraid they won’t see the results that most others are seeing.

I want to tell those people it doesn’t matter where you are currently at, and it doesn’t matter what other people think.  All you have to do is give 100% in life.  Outwork everyone else around you and at the end of the day you can be proud of your effort.  During your workouts, push yourself past the point you feel you can’t go.  Write that food journal even if you don’t feel like it.  Get up from your warm bed in the morning and get your workout in.

So many people live mediocre lives and I believe one of the reasons they do this is that they aren’t giving 100% and just being ok with 50%.

I might have shared this video with you before, but I love it and it is worth another look.  The whole video is great but be sure to pay attention to 3:50 and beyond.  Where Will Smith talks about never getting outworked.

Work ethic and how much focus you give to any given task is one of the things I look for and admire in people.  So I challenge you today to look at your life and see where you aren’t giving it your all.  Just remember everything that has happened to you in the past doesn’t matter.  It is only now you can control.  I dare you to get out of your comfort level.  If you have been reading my blog for a long time always doubting whether it would work for you, I want to tell you it can.  You just need to follow the plans and show up.  If you live in the Dane County area I would love to get a chance to meet you at one of my 10 Fit Fun Bootcamp locations.  If you don’t live around Madison, WI or would rather workout at your house, my Fit Moms For Life or Got Core DVDs would be a great place to start.

Everyday I get the honor of meeting people from all walks of life and have all different stories.  I don’t really care their size, sex, ethnicity, or fitness level.  All I care about is the effort they put forth in the workouts.  There is nothing that makes me more proud or feel more rewarded than watching someone struggle through a workout, but never give up.  They might be last up the hill, but if they don’t give up and do there best, that is all I can ask for and want.