“Life is about chasing goals, and I know many of you have goals right now. Just remember: there will be challenges that act as roadblocks to you achieving your positive goals, but you need to break through them. You are all at the beginning of your life journey, and that journey starts with you – right now.”
Turner was invited to deliver his inspirational message by Delta Vista High School teacher Allan Cacciaroni. Delta Vista is a Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) institution that provides state-accredited education to the youth of the Orin Allen facility.
“The boys really love hearing from these speakers,” said Cacciaroni. “They showed Mr. Turner lots of respect by listening so intently.” Other gridiron greats Cacciaroni has brought to Orin Allen include Ronnie Lott, Eason Ramson and Bennie Blades.
Turner, a member of four Super Bowl teams in his 11 seasons with the Niners, brought two of his Super Bowl rings for the boys to hold, try on and marvel at. “I’m very happy to have those rings and other accolades that my team and I accomplished, but I’m more proud of the college degree I earned,” said Turner.
Turner attended Purdue University, where he majored in physical education. “After my playing days, I went straight back to college and earned my B.S. degree in organizational behavior at the University of San Francisco. “Let me tell you guys: I keep my Super Bowl rings in my sock drawer, but I have my college diploma hanging up on a wall in my house.”
Turner spoke of his current life: father of three, an active volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club, and his job as vice president of football affairs with the 49ers. He also described his life leading up to his football career – growing up in Chicago, playing high school football and attending Purdue.
Among the questions Turner fielded from the boys: How much money did he make while playing? Who was the hardest hitter on the team? Did he get into trouble as a young man? Who was the most difficult player to tackle? Did he do drugs? Was he related to Tina Turner?
In his closing remarks, Turner reminded the boys to set and achieve their goals for a better life, and start their positive journeys immediately.
Contributed by Jonathan Lance