R is for Rookie or Rudy?


R is for Rookie or Rudy?


This is another repost that fits perfectly today’s theme.

I love sports movies!  Really, I’m fanatical about movies in general; love them almost as much as books, but movies that revolve around sports stand apart as my favorite.  The Natural, The Miracle, Eight Men Out, Field of Dreams, Hoosiers, Mystery Alaska, Sandlot, Angels in the Outfield, Raging Bull, Brian’s Song, The Cinderella Man, The Champ, Rocky, A League of Their Own, Major League, Jerry Maguire, Remember the Titans, Seabiscuit, Moneyball.  I can go on and on and on.  I think what I love most about these movies is the inspirational undertone that they all have in common.  But today’s diatribe isn’t about movies, rather just two films in particular and how their message serves as a backdrop to what some of us struggle with.

The first one is The Rookie, a 2002 movie starring Dennis Quaid as an aging high school baseball coach who achieves his dream of pitching in the major leagues.  The other movie, Rudy, is a 1993 classic depicting the struggles of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (played by Sean Astin) to play football for the university of Notre Dame.  Both of these films are based on true stories.

I bet you can already see where I’m going with this.  You’d be mistaken.

Both of these characters, although from opposite ends of life experiences, had to overcome steep odds to realize their dreams.  For Jim Morrison (the actual rookie), it was the fact he was thirty-five years old and been out of baseball for many years.  For Rudy, it was both his physical limitations combined with the lack of money and grades to gain entrance to the school he idolized.

As writers, aren’t we in the same position?  Each of us faces crushing odds that tell us our chances of actually breaking into the publishing world are slim.  Yet we show up to practice every day, running the laps, doing the drills, studying the first stringers, perfecting our technique, preparing, doing everything we can to prove our readiness.  Each query letter we send out is a plea, “Put me in coach.  I know I can play!  Let me prove it to you”

Both of the men in these movies I mention ultimately realized their dream…although in dramatically different fashions.  Jim Morrison actually made it into the MLB and spent two seasons pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Rudy played for the University of Notre Dame football team for two plays

In the end, the key difference between the two stories…skill.  Jim Morrison threw a 98 mph fastball (with control), Rudy was only 5’6” and weighed 165 pounds with average speed.  Rudy was immortalized for the grit and determination it took to overcome his shortcomings and simply make the roster of one of the premiere college teams in the country.  Almost as a by-product, he obtained a valuable college education and became a role model for underdogs everywhere.

I ask myself a question everyday…and I believe that same question tortures a lot of us. Which am I?  Rookie or Rudy?  Do I have the talent to make it in this industry, or am I merely demonstrating my unstoppable drive and desire.  Of course we’re all pursuing the dream of becoming the next Rookie, but what if you’re a Rudy? Would you be satisfied knowing your only accomplishment was making the players around you better?  Just brushing against your publishing dream and settling into a comfortable life on the fringe of that world…like say…a popular blogger?

What if my writing legacy turns out to be only a mention in a critique partner’s book dedication? 

Can’t worry about that now…I have a game to prepare for!  Maybe…just maybe…the coach will have noticed my potential and take a chance on me today.  I’ll be ready…whatever happens!  


28 comments

  1. Would you believe that I haven't seen either movie? As for the question, I'd hope to be a little of both, Rudy and Rookie.

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  2. Great post. I agree that a bit of both would be ideal.

    Rudy, btw, is in my top 5 most favourite movies ever. The slow clap at the end. That's the kicker.

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  3. My favorite sports movie is We Are Marshall. But I'd say Field of Dreams more closely matches my idea of what writers must go through. Darn that James Earl Jones!

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  4. Rudy is one of my favorite movies -so there is my vote

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  5. Love the post. I'd forgotten about Ice Castles. I think I watched that a hundred times, when I was younger.

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  6. Great post! Right now I'm a Rudy, but practicing almost every day, with gritty determination, so that I can maybe become the rookie.
    How could you leave out Facing the Giants and Bull Durham? Both great sports movies, yet completely different. Bull Durham is just for fun, but Facing the Giants is of Remember the Titans quality.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

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  7. I just realized reading this I'm a sports movie buff too! :) And I never thought of writing as a sport, hum? I have some pondering to do on that one. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  8. I'm not sure if my favorite 'sports' movie is really even a sports movie: "Caddyshack" ;^)

    But I loved "Rudy" (and have also been an Irish fan since I was old enough to be indoctrinated into the cult by my grandfather). Never seen "The Rookie".

    As for my writing, I'd take either one -- both men were "successful" and left an impact in the lives of those around them. Ultimately, that's far more important than how many books I sell...

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  9. I guess I'm a Rookie, as it was just something I never thought would happen.
    Although I was a bit like Tom Berenger's character in Major League when he got the call - yeah, right! Oh wait, you're serious?

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  10. You and my hubby would get along. You love the same movies :) I don't know yet which one I represent, but only time will tell!

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  11. i will be forever chanting "rudy" for the rest of the day! love a good underdog movie... i mean really the dog with the cape.

    Right On... to the challenge "R" is for Refreshing Post!
    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    A to Z Co-Host
    My New Book:
    Retro-Zombie: Art and Words

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  12. I have a few favorite Sports movies, I LOVED We Are Marshall and Hoosiers-I've watched them more than once.

    I also loved The Rookie because I could identify with the lead. And Seabiscuit-"You don't throw away a whole life just 'cause it's banged up a little."

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

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  13. What do they say about practice being 75% and talent the remaining 25%? I guess the difference between Rookie and Rudy can be turning up to daily practice. Here's to success, no matter what that turns out to be for each of us.

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  14. I love the movie, Rudy! *sigh* So great. In fact, I love most of the movies in your pic. collage. :)

    Fantastic post!

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  15. Love both movies....and have seen most of the ones on your list (also favorites, for me, because they are 'feel good" movies).

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  16. You offer a thought provoking question today. My goal is to publish my novels. I enjoy blogging and continue to support other authors but would not be satisfied just to sit on the sidelines and cheer.
    Angels in the Outfield is my idea of a "Yes, You CAN" movie.
    http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com Theme: A World of Crime

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  17. What a great post. I think I will be happy as long as I am always trying and growing. So I am probably more Rudy. Have an awesome Friday! :-)

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  18. I love Rudy - I tear up every time the coach waves for him to stay on the field. AH!

    I think I might be both. I never thought writing would be where I would feel so at home. Interesting to think about.

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  19. Loved this post and your question at the end. Certainly something to think about. My thoughts on writing success has changed drastically during the past few months. A writer friend of mine died recently. Just several months before, he decided to POD and digitally publish one of his six books. He was ecstatic when he got to hold his book in his hands and autograph copies of it. I wish he'd done it sooner so he could have enjoyed being an author for a longer period of time.

    Anyway... I love sports movies too and I see you an LSU grad. My daughter graduated from LSU. Have seen the History of LSU Football DVD? It's really interesing.

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  20. Powerful question. I think we all need some of Rudy's grit and spirit, but I hope I have some of Rookie's talent as well! :)

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  21. Saw and liked many of the movies you mention, but I'm a Canadian boy and hockey is my passion. If you haven't seen any of these, I can recommend them: Slapshot; Miracle; Mystery Alaska and even the Mighty Ducks series is good fun for the family.

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  22. I don't think I've seen either, but I'd say your Rookie. :)

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  23. I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't seen these. My fave sports movies are Wildcats and We are the Titans.

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  24. OK, DL, this really hits home for me cuz, like, you, I ask myself this everyday too. Have I really got what it takes? Or is it just me not giving up. It's such a tough call. And I guess there's only one way to find out.... and at least if we do find out we're a Rudy, we can go down knowing we gave it our all,and that's way better than being a wuss who was too afraid to try. Worse that can happen is we learn a few things, make a few friends, and maybe even inspire just one person to be achieve their dreams. And even tho Rudy never was truly good enough--they still made a film about him and most people know it and love it.
    Both are great films. I find myself cheering for Rudy out of the blue sometime when I feel defeated. Just chant it in a whisper and you feel better "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!"

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  25. I've seen most of the movies you have pictured in your blog post. In fact, I watched A League of Their Own earlier today.

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  26. I balled my eyes out in Rudy! I agree with PK, even if I am a Rudy, I'm going to give it my all. Whatever happens I'll be better off than if I give in to my insecurities and quit. Great post!

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  27. I love sports movies! I was actually planning a sports movie post for after the A-Z. And Rudy is one of my all-time faves. It's sad how many different Sean Astin characters inspire/motivate me. :)

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  28. I loved Denis Quad in the Rookie. Sports movies always have a lot of action and I like that. Great escape.

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