Writing exercise: Take a commencement speech and…make it interesting. Parody and hilarity.
UMass Dartmouth Graduation: Commencement by Roger Goodell – Full Transcript
“Welcome to the graduation of the surviving class of 2015…we’ve lost some great people these past 4 years, mostly due to the book stores insistence of charging us money for our texts…and alcohol. Mostly alcohol. But we are strong! We are moving on into the world together, unless we are applying for the same job, or you’re an art history major…Right Trevor? He knows. As Class President, I did not want to have my introduction end on a chorus of boos, so I will have someone else come up to introduce our guest speaker. With that, here is Rob Gronkowski to introduce our guest speaker, the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell!” (Gronk spikes microphone) …
Thank you to Mr. Gronkowski for “introducing” me, we obviously have a lot of Patriots fans in attendance today…but did he really have to spike the microphone? Easy Gronk, have a donut. It’s a great time to be a Patriots fan, unless you’re the ball-boy at Gillette stadium. Anyway, I just wanted to thank the chancellor for her wonderful words earlier, and for speaking on my fathers accomplishments, regardless of the consequences; The FBI, role in the assassination, the arrest, etc. I am here to tell you, yes you, hey down front, be quiet…I’m here to tell you that your voice is important and I respect it. Before I even began campaigning all over the country to give commencement addresses at every school in a state that houses an NFL Franchise, I took a poll amongst students on those campuses; asking them what they thought was important for me to share with you today. Out of the hundreds of students I approached, I got about three of them to actually talk to me and want to share their questions with you now.
1St: “How did you get started and develop your career?”
Look, it is important to remember that I was sitting in your chair not too long ago. That one, row 4, aisle seat, can you see if I left my fried rice under the seat? No? Dammit. Hey, I know what it was like, I was nervous about my future too. I know it’s common at ceremonies like this to tell graduates to “dream and to dream big.” I say you need to do a lot more than that. When you dream, you are asleep! When you dream, it ends, or you wake up in a sweat calling out for mommy, but your wife just slaps you upside the head and tells you to shut up. Screw that dream! You need a vision! Visions! The best way to have a vision is…no not determination and planning…mushrooms. Yes, mushrooms, Just take a little, you’ll be fine. Keep a vision journal with you on your adventure, trust me. And always, always! Vision with a vision-buddy.
My vision was football, since I was 6 and my dad was spiking my cereal with hallucinogens, I would sleep with a football, and his name was Paddy. I loved Paddy. Paddy died when my wife buried him alive after a mishap in the bedroom…I don’t want to talk about that. So, my vision was the NFL. Not to actually be a great player in the NFL, but to be a part of the real heart and soul of the industry and work in an office. Everyone’s ultimate brass ring. I would write them a letter every couple of months, telling them about my adventures and visions of Paddy and I. For some reason they would always send me rejections. So I started, well they call it stalking, but what I did was just what I like to call ‘determined friendliness’ and I set my eyes on one particular executive. I can’t tell you his name, due to some pending lawsuits still, but let’s just say, mission accomplished.
After I wore him down in that basement, he finally agreed to let me intern at the NFL for a season. When he threatened to have me arrested the day I showed up for that internship, I had to remind him of the videotapes that we had “made,” and that one season internship has turned into a lifelong career! After about 10 or 15 years of this, I forget how long exactly, you’d have to ask him..or her! But, I asked, “Why did you hire me?” And the executive told me, “I hate you.” So, you see, it doesn’t matter how you get your foot in that door, just get in that door! Seize the opportunity that is in front of you, no matter how bleak or danger or “illegal” it is! In this economy, trust me, you need every advantage.
Look, a lot of you are going to make mistakes. Tom Brady makes mistakes, that guy is just a game manager who completes short passes, but still throws LOTS of interceptions. HEY! Who threw that? My head is bleeding, Jesus Christ! Brady was that you?! Security!
“Sorry boss, I was tossing it to Gronk. It was just a “mistake!”
OK, then. Anyway…god dammit, I need some ice, I might have a concuss…I mean, I’m fine! OK, see, this is a great example. Life is about navigating through uncertainty, being resilient. You just need to adjust to every blow to the head and keep being determined. Don’t let yourself get comfortable, avoid the comfort zone – and the friend zone, that thing’s a bitch to get out of. Challenge yourself and, the more you know, etc.
The second question asked by that massive focus group of students I polled was: “How do you make decisions?”
Well, a lot of people ask me that, and frequently it seems. Every-time I make up a new rule at the NFL offices, they’re always asking me: “Why do we have to bring you birthday cake every day now?” or “Why did you hire all the waitresses from Hooters as new receptionists?” Listen! When you’re the boss, you make the rules! Get your facts straight people! But because of technology today, everyone’s a critic, and everyone’s taking pictures of me with the Hooters girls in the women s bathroom and posting them online. Look, so much access to information, your challenge is not the amount of information, but determining the credibility of that information and making better decisions. The Hooters information is the wrong information. It just is, so don’t even look at it. Get other points of view, listen to other people, like the Hooters girls who said that they were not sexually harassed.
Get as much feedback as you can from a diverse group of people. Because you do not have all the answers, no one does! Not even Google, Trevor! So, shut up! If anyone yells out again about the Hooters girls, I’m canceling the next NFL season, that’s it! Where was I? OK, humility. You need humility and to understand that no one succeeds on their own. This world needs a lot less finger-pointing, especially at me, and a lot more solutions. We make decisions in the NFL all the time, then we over rule those decisions, then we vacate those decisions, then we just make new decisions that completely ignore the earlier decision. We have to, because we want to improve and not become complacent or piss off the players too much. Make decisions, but ya’know…easy.
I don’t know why I just shouted that and raised my arm in that forward saluting motion, I sincerely apologize. Third question, mmhmm: “What do you wish someone had told you, when you had graduated?”
Well, I don’t remember who spoke at my graduation, I didn’t graduate. But if I had, I’m still sure I would have no fucking clue, I was still on my vision quests. As long as you all listen to me, I’m sure you all won’t remember this either. But here’s a little nugget for you all to remember: your education is not over. This is just the beginning, because let’s face it, most of you just barely skated by and are morons. But it’s not all bad news, you have learned an important skill here in college: the skill of faking it until you make it, and now that is one skill that you can utilize for the rest of your life! Especially if you go to our NFL Careers booth over here to the left of the stage, and fill out an application. It’s all about teamwork, people, teamwork is essential for success. FYI, we do not offer health benefits or equal pay for women. But if you have worked for Hooters or another similar establishment before, please be sure to send me head-shots, a resume, and a detailed personal letter telling me why you should by my NEXT NFL receptionist. Big plus if you know how to Google, I still have to have my girls show me how to Google every day, sometimes twice a day when I feel like it.
By the way, did I mention that I climb mountains? Robert Kraft bet me four hundred grand I couldn’t climb this mountain, and I did it! But I think next year, I’ll just write him a check, cuz that shit was hard. Which brings me to our struggling economy. It’s hard times out there in the economy. The job market is tough for idiots like you with only an undergraduate degree. Worse for Trevor. He knows. Stop crying Trevor. Just focus on the best job opportunity, with great people to work with that will help you develop, and don’t stop blackmailing people until you get that job!
In conclusion, I just wanted to share with you two lines that my father wrote to me after I had told him that I graduated from college. I know right, sucker. When I told him, he wrote back to me and said:
“Stop writing me. We talked about this.”
It just meant to me that he wanted me to go out and make it on my own, and I could never thank him enough for that. You and I owe HIM all the thanks today for me being commissioner of the NFL, without those two lines of inspiration, I would still be working as a bartender at Applebees. Like Trevor will be soon.
The audience sat in stunned silence while the guest speaker tried to run down the aisles high fiving everyone during his exit.
Rob Gronkowski did not have a doughnut.