Recently, a baseball scout was a part of a panel on ESPN’s Outside The Lines program and he made a statement that reminded me of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger from the movie “Rudy.”
The scout said, “Baseball is a failure game.”
I have never heard baseball described as a “failure game,” but it sure makes sense. Consider: a batter who fails seven out of ten times is considered an outstanding hitter. So, the great hitters have to have a short memory and a strong resiliency to get back up after the many failures.
Isn’t life a “failure game” as well? I believe the people I respect the most have experienced failure – both personally and professionally – and then they got right back up and lived what Pat Riley said, “Success is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.”
I know very few people who were knocked down as much as Rudy.
We recently renewed our friendship of forty years when we spoke together at a YMCA convention in Wisconsin. Hearing his story again reminded me of all the failure – all the closed doors – he has opened in his life by the sheer strength of his resiliency.
How does a guy who graduated third from the bottom of his high school class earn a degree from Notre Dame?
Where does a guy find the resiliency to get back up educationally when for twelve years of school he was constantly told he was stupid? No one diagnosed his dyslexia during these years. They just told him he was dumb.
How does a 5’8”, 185 pounder make the Notre Dame football roster?
And how does a guy who made one tackle in his collegiate career convince both Hollywood and Notre Dame to make a movie about him? As he pursued this idea for ten years door after door was continuously closed on him.
Just think about his life…and his accomplishments. It is virtually impossible to believe that he could overcome all the obstacles in his path.
He may be the only guy in the history of Notre Dame to rank in the bottom 2% of his class and get his degree from there. And how does a guy who is a totally unknown former Notre Dame football player who has no knowledge of the movie industry convince Hollywood to make a movie about his life…and then get Notre Dame to buy in?
The great majority of movies fail. But this movie about a Notre Dame student-athlete who nobody heard of is one of the great inspirational movies of our time.
None of Rudy’s success makes any sense!
His life is baseball. It is a failure game. But he just kept getting back up against all odds. He has traveled the country for the past 30 years telling kids not to give up on their dreams and even more importantly, telling them not to allow anybody to call them dumb!
All leaders meet failure because life is like baseball.
Periodically watching “Rudy” may give leaders the resiliency to keep getting back up.