The Real Rudy

(INT. Football Announcers’ Booth. ANNOUCNER 1 and ANNOUCNER 2 sit in front of two microphones)

ANNOUCNER 1

And the Fighting Irish offense takes the field with enough time left for one last drive.

ANNOUCNER 2

These are the moments that dreams are made of, Gary. Notre Dame on their own twenty-yard line, a minute and a half left to play, and the hopes and dreams of a championship season hanging precariously in the balance.

ANNOUCNER 1

You can absolutely see the tension in Coach Johnny Bruiser’s face. If he’s going to make something happen, Scott, it’s got to be now.

ANNOUCNER 2

And standing next to Coach, as always, is equipment manager Tommy Littles — a plucky young man who most fans consider to be the true heart and soul of this team.

ANNOUCNER 1

Tommy is a familiar face to fans of the Fighting Irish. Born and raised in the hardscrabble town of Sadness, Pennsylvania, it was Tommy’s life-long dream to play football for Notre Dame. But due to his small stature and a debilitating case of Orphan Lung brought on by a childhood spent working in a coal mine, he never quite made the cut. But that didn’t stop him from showing up to every practice in his homemade helmet and pads, just hoping that he’d get a chance to touch the ball.

ANNOUCNER 2

Nothing was going to stop Tommy from being a part of this team. The kid absolutely loves the Irish, and when Coach Bruiser offered Tommy the position of equipment manager, he literally jumped at the chance. He’s here on game days before anyone else arrives, and is here working until they shut off the stadium lights at night.

ANNOUCNER 1

The players call him their good luck charm. In fact, quarterback Jack Myers told me before the game that Tommy Littles was not only the hardest working person on the team, but also his hero.

ANNOUCNER 2

But Jack Myers has more pressing matters on his mind at the moment, as he’s going to need all the focus he can muster to lead this team to victory.

(Calling the game)

The offensive line settles in as the clock ticks down. Myers looks left, looks right…but wait just one second! Coach Bruiser has called a time-out! He’s signaling for a position change. Is he — this can’t be!

ANNOUCNER 1

It is! It is! He’s putting Tommy in the game!

ANNOUCNER 2

I don’t believe my eyes! Coach Bruiser is putting Tommy in the game! And the crowd is going absolutely wild!

(Chants of “Tommy! Tommy!” are heard from throughout the stadium.)

ANNOUCNER 1

This is it! The kid who couldn’t catch a break is going to get to live his dream! Tommy Littles is in the game!

ANNOUCNER 2

And here’s the snap. Myers drops back, pump fakes left…and hands it off to Tommy! Tommy’s got the ball — and there he goes! He dodges a tackle…pushes through a hole in the offensive line…and he’s off on a clear path to the end zone! He’s at the forty, the thirty, the twenty, the…

(The sound of a loud “thud” is heard off-stage. The fans react in horror.)

…oh my God.

(Beat)

ANNOUCNER 1

Wow…that was one hell of a hit.

ANNOUCNER 2

Tommy Littles was literally just clobbered by the defensive end.

ANNOUCNER 1

That was about the hardest hit I’ve ever seen. It sounded like a bag of soup dropping off of the Empire State Building.

ANNOUCNER 2

It’s pretty clear that no one has ever showed Tommy how to brace for a tackle…did you see the way his head just kind of tetherball-ed around like that?

ANNOUCNER 1

I just hope that cracking sound that ricocheted through the stadium was just a bunch of broken ribs and not something more serious…

(Sound of crowd cheering is heard)

ANNOUCNER 2

Tommy struggles to his feet…

(Sound of the crowd groaning is heard)

And down he goes…

(Sound of crowd cheering is heard)

And he’s back up and limping his way to the offensive line. You’ve got to admire the heart on that kid. Injured as hell but still determined to stay in the game.

ANNOUCNER 1

And here we go again. Myers takes the snap and drops back…he fakes a handoff to the tail back…scrambles left…looks like he’s opting for a shuffle pass…and he shuffles to Tommy! And there’s no one around him for miles! There’s no one stopping this beautiful dreamer now! Tommy’s at the forty, the thirty, the twenty, the ten, TOUCHDOWN!

(The sound of a whistle is heard)

Nope. Nope. The referee is calling it back.

ANNOUCNER 2

Looks like there were too many men on the field during that drive. To make matters worse, it looks like the extra man isn’t even a player.

ANNOUCNER 1

He seems to be a doctor of some sort, and he’s gesturing to Tommy. Tommy is limping over…the doctor is saying something to him…

ANNOUCNER 2

My lip-reading isn’t as good as it was when I was spying for the Allies, but I can clearly make out the words “Tommy, you have tuberculosis” coming from the mouth of the doctor.

ANNOUCNER 1

You would have thought he would have at least waited until after the game to tell him, wouldn’t you Gary?

ANNOUCNER 2

Well, you sure do need to admire the heart on Tommy. Just learned he has a terminal illness that should have been prevented by a routine childhood vaccination he clearly couldn’t afford, and he’s still holding his head high as he breaks out of the huddle.

(The crowd roars to life once again)

ANNOUCNER 1

Would you look at that! There’s Tommy, holding his helmet up to the bleachers, pointing to the seat where his mother sits every game, praying that her baby boy will get a chance to live his dream.

ANNOUCNER 2

Now that’s a sight that would make even a washerwoman cry. Specifically, Tommy’s mother, who had to work three jobs cleaning toilets with her hopes and dreams to provide for her family. Her heart must be bursting with pride to see her son wearing the blue and gold of Notre Dame.

ANNOUCNER 1

But wait just one moment, Scott. It looks like Tommy’s mom isn’t sitting in her usual seat today. In her place is a sign reading: “Tommy, your mother died on the way to the game. She shouldn’t have been traveling, but she wanted to see you. If she stayed home she would have been fine. But she tried to come see you and she died. Sincerely, the Pauper Removal Service.”

ANNOUCNER 2

Looks like Tommy just can’t catch a break today, can he Gary?

ANNOUCNER 1

Alright folks…there are five seconds left on the clock. The Irish have time for one final play, and it looks like they’re lining up for a Hail Mary. There’s the snap…Myers drops back…back…Myers slips and the ball comes loose…and Tommy recovers the fumble! He breaks through one tackle and he’s on his way once again! This is what we’ve all been waiting to see! Tommy slips on what appears to be a foreclosure notice for his home, but he stays on his feet! Oh no — a feral dog has somehow made its way onto the field and is gunning for Tommy, but Tommy is outrunning the slobbering beast! He’s going to need to dodge the House Un-American Activities goons who have descended on the field to accuse Tommy of Communism — and he does, with a brilliant bit of footwork! All that stands between Tommy and the end zone is the memory of his alcoholic father drunkenly calling him a disappointment — but he represses it! Touchdown Tommy! Touchdown Tommy!

ANNOUCNER 2

And that’s the game, folks. Notre Dame loses 81–6.

Lights