Rudy Ruettiger (aka “Rudy”) was the subject of a great movie in 1993 about his improbable story of getting into Notre Dame and then playing on their football team. It’s a true testament to the human spirit as he played high school football (not recruited), went to the Navy for two years, worked at a power plant for two years, and then after not getting into Notre Dame for low grades, went to
for two years before being admitted to Notre Dame on his 4th
try! Whew! Holy
Then he walked on to the football team and made it(!), got beat up on the scout team every day at practice, and then got on to the field his last game and picked up a sack. What a story!
Hollywood embellished the story a little bit
as Joe Montana, a freshman quarterback at Notre Dame at the time, said in an
interview. No players were taking off
their jerseys demanding that Rudy get in the game, it was typical for seniors
to get into the last home game, and the players carrying Rudy off the field in
triumph were just playing around. And
Rudy’s legendary work ethic? “He worked
his butt off to get to where he was and do the things he did. But not any harder than anyone else,” Montana said.
The truth is that Rudy should have never gotten into Notre Dame due to his bad grades (4 tries! Where did he get the money to pay the college application fees? Does “no” ever mean “no”? Did he finally get an admission officer who was napping?). He never should have been on Notre Dame’s football team (He was 6 years older than everybody else. He was 5-foot 6 inches tall and 165 pounds! He’s lucky he didn’t get killed in practice.). “Rudy” should have never happened and a movie was made about him because somehow it did.
As a Charlotte property manager, we sometimes get rental applications that I feel might have been inspired by Rudy. And I’m not saying that to be mean. I really feel that if we approved some of the applications we received, we’d essentially be ruining the applicants’ lives. For example:
We had a rental house on the market for $1,400.00/month. We received an application where the prospective tenants had several credit cards almost maxed out, they had been late 8 of the past 12 months on rent, and the rent they were currently paying was $1,000/month on a smaller house. How was adding $400.00 in additional rent (not to mention higher utility costs for a bigger house) a responsible move for anyone- landlord or tenant? It would just have made life much harder for everyone.
Even as romanticized as Rudy was, the chances are no one would have wanted Rudy’s life prior to running through the tunnel and getting into his one Notre Dame game. He was studying all the time to pass classes that were too difficult for him, while walking around with a beat-up body from banging into guys that were too big and strong for him to compete against.
Rudy may have learned character, perseverance, and many other worthwhile traits (while being the subject of a great movie!), but it was a hard journey. He was able to walk away with a Notre Dame degree, a great memory, and a lucrative speaking career after the movie came out. But I’m not sure there are any rewards for taking on more housing payment than one can afford. It’s stressful, and hurts families and relationships. Usually, it leads to evicted tenants and fired property managers.
We all want to root for the underdog, but Rudy is best seen in the theaters and not experienced in real life. Denying unworthy applications can sometimes be a great act of kindness.
Happy (& Responsible) Landlording!