Former NFL player talks with student-athletes

By Nina Scimenes
October 14, 2004

Nina Scimenes

Former NFL player, Joe Valerio, was the first of two guest speakers to visit Cabrini’s student-athletes. Thursday, Oct. 6, Widner Center lecture hall was full of future alumni who were given crucial advice from Valerio sharing his experienced advice about how to stay “coachable” after college.

Leslie Danehy, Athletic Director, booked the speakers with the money received from an NCAA grant. “I don’t think most Division III schools have money for many speakers, but I got an NCAA grant and so I had the money to hire Robb, and Joe Valerio,” Danehy said.

Robb Holman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Push the Rock Outfitters, a basketball apparel company introduced Valerio. Push the Rock is an active sponsor of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference by awarding a sportsmanship award, and designing championship t-shirts for the conference.

Holman also organizes a bureau of nine athletes, including him to speak to various institutions. During the brief introduction Holman played a slide show of Valerio’s highlights as a Kansas City Chief. In the background played the inspiring words,” If you had one moment, one opportunity, would you capture it or let it slip,” from Eminem’s song, “Lose yourself.” This set the stage for Valerio’s story of encouragement and success.

As a Ridley, Pa. native he is a local football star that made it to the Division I and professional level. Valerio is a graduate from University of Pennsylvania and then spent six years on the Kansas City Chiefs on the offensive line. After finishing his football career he was thrown into corporate America with no coach and no referees.

Valerio stressed the importance of taking the skills that you gain during college sports to the working world. Never settling for second best is what he wants all athletes to strive for. “If people say you can’t graduate, or you can’t do something, you can’t listen to them,” Valerio said.

With the use of three big rocks, an empty canister and salt, Valerio visually symbolized the importance of priorities. Valerio called down Sarah Norfolk, freshman volleyball player from Cabrini’s crowd to help him. Norfolk shared three of her goals, which were symbolized by the rocks. The salt represented the pressures of college, and the numerous distraction athletes’ face. Valerio proceeded to pour salt into the canister and adding rocks along the way on top.

With the salt taking up too much room in the canister, the goals, rocks, did not fit. Then Valerio attempted again to fit everything in the same canister. This time he put one rock in first, poured in some salt, then added the last two rocks, and the lid was able to fit it all in. This proved that prioritizing goals is the only way to make it all fit in life. Prioritizing is an essential ingredient for achieving goals. “Start out early, do it in the right order, and you’ll get it done,” Valerio said.

“I think Joe’s major message was about priorities; that we can have a balanced, fun, fulfilling and successful life if we have our priorities straight,” Danehy said.

Setting goals that are slightly out of reach is what he suggests to do. If the goals are not met, and one falls short of their goal it is still not a failure. “Set goals that are semi-realistic, but higher to raise the team up,” Valerio said. He stressed the importance of team orientated goals. When setting personal goal the team as a whole should be considered as well.

Transferring skills from college to the working world is another important concept that Valerio wanted the audience to grasp. Valerio experienced shock when he had to quickly adjust from being a part of a structured schedule in college and the NFL to an on-your-own-atmosphere of the real world. Athletes tend to have a lot of self-discipline, which employers look highly upon.

“I learned that you have to focus and you can party, but you can’t make your whole life a party. I never realized that discipline is something that will help get you a job,” Cait Riely, freshman cross-country runner, said, in response to Valerio’s talk.

Danehy was pleased with the turn out of student-athletes, but hopes for more to be present in the future. “I’ll make sure the coaches attend for the next speaker so that the athletes feel more obligated to attend,” said Danehy.

The second scheduled speaker is Kevin Robinson with a talk called “Focus strategies for success.” For those student-athletes who were unfortunate to miss out on this speaker, don’t miss The next one scheduled for Feb. 10 7:30 in the Widener Center lecture hall.
Posted to the web by Nina Scimenes

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