News

Making one moment count for a lifetime

| May 21, 2018

Rudy Ruettiger is best known for a single play in a 1975 Notre Dame football game.

Rudy Ruettiger is best known for a single play in a 1975 Notre Dame football game.Rudy Ruettiger is best known for a single play in one football game in 1975. Yet he turned a quarterback sack into a life movement he’ll share with Kiwanis club members during the opening session of the 2018 Kiwanis International convention in Las Vegas.

“When the ball moved, I moved,” Ruettiger said. "I can translate that to people’s everyday lives and provide inspiration. It’s all about hope. You have to have hope.”

Ruettiger was a walk-on player who didn’t see much action on the field for the Notre Dame University football team. But he made his move when it counted and he has been known for that ever since. A 1993 movie about his life shows the struggles he overcame to be memorialized for a few seconds of glory on the football field.

After that autumn day in South Bend, Indiana, Ruettiger realized he had a message to share with adults: Anyone can follow a dream, be successful and reap the rewards that come from providing inspiration.  

“People need to know that that they don’t have to make life complicated, that life can be simple, and that we don’t need to be overwhelmed,” Ruettiger said. “We don’t need to overload ourselves — we can live within our means, within a budget.”

Our image, he said, isn’t the clothes we wear or the car we drive. “It’s how we feel, how we treat someone. We don’t have to feel that extraordinary pressure to keep up with the next guy.”

Ruettiger says his presentation will focus on how to “take back your joy” and find inspiration in everyday life. He’ll also talk about the importance of being honest.

“It’s like what Kiwanis does, helping children — always wanting to do better,” he said. And he’s a former Kiwanis club member, recalling the giving people who join and the projects they undertake to help kids.

For those who are not football fans and are unaware of his shining moment, Ruettiger says, “Listen anyway! Even if you’re not a football fan you should listen because it’s not about football, it’s about life.”

Ruettiger will speak during the opening session of the 2018 Kiwanis International convention. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 28 and the festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.

“Bottom line, I’m a tell-it-like-I-see-it kind of guy,” he said.

SHARE THIS STORY