NRK, Norwegian broadcasting have made a serie of biographies of norwegians with huge success abroad without gaining any fame in Norway. The show is called “forgotten heroes” and the 6th episode is about a legend in USA, Knute Rockne. Tick the link in the beginning to see the program.
Knute is in no way forgotten in our family since his father was my great grandmother`s sister, hence he was my grandad`s cousin and we have always been very proud of what he accomplished in USA. I believe the reason he is forgotten in Norway is that the sport he reformed, American Football, is totally unknown in Norway. If he had done the same thing with soccer he would for sure still have been a living legend and world hero.
When my great grandmother Kristi (Rokne) Ringheim married and moved to Store Ringheim one of the items she brought from her home was an old cradle that Knute`s family left when they emigrated. It had among others been Knute`s cradle when he was a baby. This old cradle is still in the family at Store Ringheims possession and as a curiosity I can tell that I spent some time in that when I was a child. It did not give me any interest in football or soccer though:)
Knute is first of all known as an astounding human being with the capacity of inspiring and leading his team to success. He had a very bright mind and had developed an unique understanding of the game and possible strategies which when implemented boosted the transformation of American football from amateurhood into a professional game.
Unfortunately my grandfather and his famous cousin never met but we have had visits from the other parts of our American family, it is always a pleasure to meet distant members of the family and learn more about their lives and how it was for their ancesters to emigrate to a foreign country.
Allthough he never really achieved any fame in Norway at least we know that he will always be in our family`s harts and that his shining memory in USA never will fade.