The graduation speech from the sports section
We hope everyone had a good graduation.
As always, we, at the Vail Daily, are excited for you, not only for your achievements, but for the fact that it’s time for the sports editor to play golf. Yeah, we’ve been going hard since August trying to keep up with you. We’re ready for summer.
OK, let’s keep this educational. You probably processed and/or recessed to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Who’s the composer?
I will skip the “I can’t believe you graduated” phase, reserved for kids I knew as tots and are now going to college. (Sug Ellsworth? Really, Sug?)
Instead, we will give my version of a commencement address.
Root for the Giants
Seriously, if you fine graduates have learned nothing from the Vail Daily, orange and black is the path to happiness. (Actually, until the last five years or so, it was the road to heartbreak and madness, but. …)
It also wouldn’t kill you to root for the 49ers. They’re really going to need your help this fall.
Go to class
This may seem obvious to you right now, but it gets a little hazy once you actually go to college. With freedom comes responsibility. This is one of the great lessons of going to school. You are on your own. Your folks aren’t there to shove you out of bed, and, if you cut a class, you won’t get detention.
On the other hand, your professor will not care about whatever kept you from going to class or turning in that assignment.
You shouldn’t have your nose in a book all the time and simply go from class to dorm and back. Yes, by all means, go to a party (or three or six, maybe not six … in one week), but remember that you are going to college to study.
And, gents, don’t forget to do laundry. This is important — once every two weeks whether you think you need to or not (You really do need to.)
Meet different people
Growing up in Eagle County, you might be inclined to view that most of the world is a ski resort. Believe it or not, it’s not. You’ve grown up in an interesting part of the country — there’s a reason I moved here and stayed. But it’s time for you to branch out.
Hopefully, your roommate is someone completely different than you. So if you’re say, Sug Ellsworth, I want your roommate to be a hippy, nonathletic person who’s really into performance art. (I’m just guessing that Sug is not hugely into performance art, and, yes, Sug, I will be picking on you during this column.)
This is OK. Learn from each other, people. Unless you’re an astro-physics major — and if you are, good on you — a lot of learning you’re going to do is not limited to the classroom.
Make a point of meeting people whom you think are “strange.” In fact, you’re probably going to seem strange to other people. After all, you’ve grown up in a ski resort, which is really kind of weird to most people.
And if, you’re going to CU, CSU, Colorado Mesa or Fort Lewis or Mines, don’t hang out with your high school friends. It’s nice that you know some people on a campus that will inevitably seem huge to you after going to high school here, but branch out.
Do different things
OK, I took a History of Gardens course when I was at Pomona College. Let’s face it, the course was held at Scripps College, an all-girls school, and I had ulterior motives there.
Despite this somewhat shady example, there is merit here. If you’re on the math/science track — fantastic — but take something in the humanities that isn’t core curriculum. Take a classical-music appreciation course. (Edward Elgar wrote “Pomp and Circumstance.”) If you’re a humanities major, try something in computer literacy or building a website. (I say this as a humanities major who has no clue when it comes to technology.)
This is the point of college — broadening yourself.
And do that outside of the classroom as well. If you don’t like sports, go to a football game. If you like rock, go to a symphony concert. Go to a poetry reading, a play or an art show. Please don’t spend your weekends playing a video game on your computer or phone.
Coming home and not coming home
I am fine with alumni coming back here and taking in a basketball game around winter break. Hey, you got back from school and you want to see your alma mater play. Terrific.
I don’t want to see you coming back for every game. There are exciting things like newspapers, say the Vail Daily, with which you can follow your old team. If you had a great time during your high school years, good for you. If high school is the highlight of your life, that’s a problem.
You are going away to school, with an emphasis on going away. There point is for you to go out on your own, and coming home every weekend really defeats the purpose.
Of course, home is always there in an emergency, but spread those wings.
And make sure you call your folks every once in a while. Moms, especially, appreciate that.
Oh, yes, sports
There is a reason that this piece is in the sports section. For our athletes who are continuing to compete, this is going to be an eye opener.
By merely stepping out on the field, you are not automatically the best athlete because now everyone at college will have been the Sug Ellsworth at their high school. (This will also happen in the classroom because there were a lot of other students who have been wracking up good grades.)
There is actually a chance that you may fail at your endeavor — you probably won’t make varsity or you will turn in a paper that will not be brilliant.
That’s OK. How you respond is the big question. Do you give up or work harder?
Here’s a hint — you’re going to fail a lot in life. It happens. Bouncing back is the measure of a person.
On the other side of the coin, you’ve got it in you, as long as you root for the Giants, go to class and do your laundry.
Sug, I’m looking at you on that last item.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.