Alexi Lalas is many things: a former United States international in two World Cups, veteran of Serie A and MLS, ESPN soccer analyst, hair icon, recording artist… but he’ll add something just as valuable to his collection of experiences this weekend.
ESPN’s resident ginger will graduate from Rutgers this weekend, as profiled in a lovely story written by the Newark Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi. Lalas attended The State University of New Jersey from 1988-91 before dropping out to “chase a career with the U.S. national team and in the pros.” It’s a great story, especially for people in my area of the world, where Rutgers (and their athletic department) aren’t necessarily seen in the most positive light.
So how did Lalas get the work done to graduate? Being a crazy person, apparently:
He has earned a degree in English with a minor in music, taking a ridiculous workload — 12 classes and 36 credits — over 10 months to get it done. Note to current and future college students: He does not recommend this.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Lalas said with a laugh. “I certainly do not want to do it again.”
Lalas took three classes last summer, five more in the fall — “which just about killed him,” Walker said — and another four this winter and spring. Lalas even ended up with one English professor that he had back in the early ’90s, a class that truly made it feel like his college experience had “literally come full circle.”
I’ve been out of college a few years, and that portion of the article just sent me into a cold sweat.
Regardless, we salute Lalas. Clearly, he had personal reasons to do this, and he accomplished something many people never do, and something no one would have criticized him for not doing. We leave him with this emotional anthem to send him off on his journey.