Monday, May 20, 2013


Good afternoon everyone.  Today I have a story to tell you about a graduation party that I attended yesterday.  On Friday I was invited to join in the graduation celebration of one of my former softball players. Not only was I invited to attend the party, but I was also asked if I could "say a few words" about the graduate.  She told me that both of her parents hate speeches, but that they wanted someone to talk about her.  At this point I asked her, "you know that you'll be in the blog Monday too, right?  ;)"  She told me that that was fine...  Later she got back in touch with me to let me know that her mom had given her aunt a timeline to talk about her and that I wouldn't have to speak about her after all (replace me with a FAMILY MEMBER - goodness gracious)...  ;)  She apologized and let me know that I was still invited to come celebrate her graduation.  My immediate response upon reading this was, "you say that like I still don't have a blog to utilize...  ;) I'll be there Villalpando...  :)"  Yesterday I told Amanda that since I had already started thinking about what I would have said if I had spoken, I was going to go ahead and write it up in the blog today.  This is by no means complete or perfect (and it never would have been), but these are some of the thoughts that were rattling around in my head as I prepared for yesterday...

"Good evening everyone.  As she (the emcee) said, I was one of Amanda's softball coaches in high school.  At this point I should probably let you know (I'm now looking at Amanda) that she is "VILLALPANDO," and that I have probably called her Amanda MAYBE six times since I've known her...  To clarify (pointing at her), this is Villalpando (then scanning the room and pointing at each person individually), and that is Papa Villalpando..., Mama Villalpando..., and Lil' Villalpando (her younger sister Jessica).  (NOTE:  The banquet room was FULL of her family members, and I would have KILLED IT yesterday)...  :P  It is SO EASY for me to stand up here and say good things about Amanda.  Amanda is honestly one of the nicest people that I have ever met, and I'm OLD, and I know A LOT OF PEOPLE...  :)  And when Amanda asked me if I would say a few words about her today, she told me that I was one of her favorite coaches from high school...  WOW... (looking at Amanda) - I REALLY DO appreciate that.......  (Looking back out over the room now). When I was thinking about what I should say about Amanda, I got that mental picture of her in my head..., you know???  I challenge all of you to do this right now:  if you go ahead and close your eyes and picture Amanda, what do you see?  (VERY QUICKLY, I would have followed that up with...)  Okay, you REALLY DON'T HAVE TO close your eyes...  :)  If you did close your eyes though, I bet you saw the same thing that I did:  You pictured Amanda smiling - (looking back to Amanda) she is ALWAYS SMILING!!!...  :)  (Looking back over the room)  As you know, Amanda has such a GREAT disposition!  As a softball player, she was SO COACHABLE.  Anytime that you asked her to do something, she would try her VERY BEST to do it, and she would NEVER COMPLAIN about doing so.  I'm going to share something with you right now that I don't think I've ever told Amanda... (Glancing quickly to Amanda, then back to the room).  I was Amanda's JV coach during her freshman year, and at the end of the season, all of the coaches met to discuss who should be brought up to the varsity team to "dress out" for the playoffs...  I fought for Amanda.......  My stance was that she had one of the best batting averages on the team, she was good on defense, and she had an OUTSTANDING attitude...  She would have been all about it... Well..., the next season, Amanda WAS on the varsity team...  (Turning to face Amanda and winking as I say) Sometimes I'm right...  ;)  (Then back to the room)  As all of us know, earning a college diploma isn't easy.  I mean..., look around this room at everyone who showed up to help Amanda celebrate...  (Then looking back to Amanda)  We wouldn't all be here if all you had done was turned on your t.v. and opened up a bag of cheetos... - they don't throw big parties for that... :) (Then back to the room)  I think that I can speak for everyone here when I say that we are so proud of you for earning your degree Amanda (glancing back to Amanda, and then back to the room).  It takes A LOT of dedication and hard work...  At this point I have to admit that I'm disappointed in myself though...  Somehow I wasn't successful in brainwashing Amanda to go to my alma mater, Texas State, and we let her get away to San Antonio...  That means that we won't be chanting 'EAT 'EM UP, CATS!' right now, but let's celebrate Amanda's accomplishment with the MIGHTY UTSA Roadrunner battle cry... (looking back to Amanda) BEEP BEEP!!!  :)  Please join with me in welcoming your graduate, Amanda Michele Villalpando!  (And as I hug Amanda, I'm whispering in her ear, "Congratulations Villalpando, I am SO PROUD of you..."  Then I give her a knowing wink that says, "kill this room with your speech...").  ;)

You know, just off the top of my head, it would have played out something like that...  Let me say that it was an excellent party and that I ate WAY TOO MUCH before I went to work.  Let me also say that Lil' Villalpando did an outstanding job with the slideshow presentation that she made for Amanda.  Aside from watching her son Dylan dance, one of my favorite moments from the party yesterday took place right in front of my table, when Amanda posed for a photo on the dance floor with her dad.  As they stopped dancing to pose for the picture, Amanda kept swaying to the music...  :)

I'm going to post again later tonight so that I don't muck this up by telling you how horrible my fantasy baseball teams are...  I hope that you have a great day and I will see you again tonight! Oh, and Congratulations Villalpando!  ;)


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