LADY AT THE BAT: Commencement Honors For Two Former Yankees

Monday, May 21, 2007

Commencement Honors For Two Former Yankees

As we all know, it's graduation season again. Commencement ceremonies are blossoming all over the country, with many well-known people making appearances at them. This weekend was no different. Mets Manager Willie Randolph and former Yankee Bernie Williams each gave commencement speeches and received honorary doctorates in humane letters this weekend, Randolph from Fordham University and Williams from Iona College.
Randolph actually gave the keynote address at his own daughter's graducation on Saturday. All four of his children have now graduated from college, a huge accomplishment in today's age of spoiled rich kids with no real ambition in life. His parents, who grew up in the South picking cotton, were also in attendance. Randolph told the graduates: “It makes no difference what job you may have years from now: never give up. If I had given up, I would not be at Shea Stadium. If I had listened to the critics along the way, who knows where I might have wound up? I went on 11 managerial job interviews and was rejected on each one of them, and it was their loss. The excuses were different, but the message was the same: No job for Willie Randolph.”

Speaking at The Theater At Madison Square Garden yesterday, Williams told Iona College grads to “stay focused on things you can control and not things you cannot control. Don’t let your job define who you are.” He later told reporters that he's enjoying his time away from baseball but he does miss it. He's staying in shape and definitely open to a return to the game.

When I heard that these two men were giving commencement addresses I scoffed. Athletes speaking at graduations? Lol! But then I heard and read about Randolph's parents and his accomplishment of getting all of his children through college, as well as his fight to become a Major League manager. I also remembered Williams' educational background and his work as an accomplished jazz and classical guitarist. That did it. No more laughing for me. The 2007 graduates of Fordham and Iona heard from two outstanding role models this weekend.

The Lady

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