There’s a great movie called “Rudy,” which tells the story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. He lived in a town where he was expected to work at the refinery and live a blue-collar life just like his father and grandfather before him. But he had a dream to play for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and to make something more of his life. His grades weren’t great, so he had to take two years of junior college. He was finally accepted at Notre Dame and without a scholarship was the final player chosen for the practice squad. He was simply happy to be a part of a team with some of the best college players in the country. In his final game as a senior, his teammates, who had really appreciated his enthusiasm and effort, and then the crowd began to chant his name to try to get the coach to put him in before the game ended. He got the surprise of his life when his coach put him in with less than a minute to play. He responded with a sack of the opposing quarterback on the last play of the game. With the crowd roaring sits approval, his teammates lifted him up and carried him off the field on their shoulders. No other player has ever had that honor.
I watch a lot of college basketball and one of my favorites to watch is the UConn women’s team. They have been remarkably successful for over 25 years. Their coach when asked about recruiting new players out of high school noted that, as the years have passed, many young graduates now feel that they deserve to be picked for good teams. They have begun to feel entitles—even before ever putting on a college team’s uniform. The concept of teamwork, unselfishness and hard work are for others—not for others. They want to be the star. So ,a coach who looks for the best team players often has a hard time picking players who fit that mold. Unfortunately, many coaches buy into that philosophy and constantly look for and use players with that mind set. This has led to poor graduation rates as the extremely talented athletes play for a season or two and then immediately go pro.
And it eliminates opportunities for people like Rudy.
He understood waiting. “But as for you, be strong and do not give up for your work will be rewarded.” (II Chronicles 15:7) “When the time is right, I the Lord, will make it happen.” (Isaiah 60:22)