Residents of Davis County celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday in a truly unique way, as Notre Dame Fighting Irish football legend Rudy Ruettiger visited Layton High School to speak to an auditorium of fans. (Carissa Hutchinson, KSL-TV)
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LAYTON – Residents of Davis County celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday in a truly unique way, as Irish football legend Notre Dame Fighting Rudy Ruettiger visited Layton High School to speak to an auditorium of fans .
Yes, this Rudy. The Notre Dame extra fired the Boston College quarterback in the final game of the only game Ruettiger would play. This piece inspired the hit movie “Rudy”, as well as millions of people who relate to Ruettiger’s story of perseverance.
“His message of perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges is one we can all learn from,” said Davis School District assistant superintendent Logan Toone. “That perseverance is our goal as a district.”
His story – along with the message to never give up – is what brought Ruettiger to Davis County. Don’t call him a motivational speaker, though.
“I’m a storyteller,” Ruettiger said.
Armed with his stories, and Ruettiger has a barrage of them, his message Thursday night was “to inspire people to be better, to do better (and) to inspire people to know that we all have skills and talents” .
“Dream big and keep going when it gets tough. Hard work pays off,” Ruettiger said.
For Ruettiger, you don’t have to be an athlete to resonate with his story, and you certainly don’t have to be one of the most famous alumni in Notre Dame football history.
“Everybody’s a Rudy,” he said. “We all have our struggles and obstacles, we just have to move on and overcome them – no one has a free pass.”
He recalled his days at Notre Dame — days when he often felt like he didn’t belong or wasn’t good enough. To overcome these feelings, Ruettiger looked to the hours he put in both on the field and in the classroom that earned him his place at Notre Dame.
“It’s a combination of your heart, your passion and your commitment,” Ruettiger said.
Ruettiger’s story, a story that “changed” Kobe Bryant’s life, contains many messages and advice. For Ruettiger, the most important piece is simple.
“Have the courage to move forward towards your dream,” Ruetigger said. “Just get up and work hard. It’s pure, it’s not complicated. Hard work pays off.”