Willie Mays Aikens visits college

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Former Royals player gives inspiring speech to students

By James Howey

Willy Mays(1) - Copy
Photo by Mike Abell.

Former Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball player Willie Mays Aikens gave an inspiring speech to the college Tuesday. The speech given by Aikens was about the many struggles he went through in his life. Aikens is 18 years sober after being a cocaine addict and alcoholic for much of his life.

“With the kind of life that I’ve lived so far and being able to overcome trials and tribulations of my life, a college campus is a perfect place to try to give people hope and inspire them,” Aikens said. “Our destiny in life depends on the choices we make and I just want the young people here to know to get their education and watch yourself.”

One of the main messages that Aikens wants people to take away from his speech Tuesday is about the spiritual life.

“I’ve experienced the spiritual life for about 18 years and most people in this world don’t take time out to experience a spiritual life,” Aikens said. “I truly believe with a spiritual life it can help us make the right choice in our life.”

Sports played a major role in Aiken’s life, in high school Aikens played baseball, football and basketball.

“Sports gave me confidence and made me think I was a worthwhile person,” Aikens said.

His high school baseball coach Willie McNeil was a father figure to Aikens as he grew up with no father, an alcoholic step dad, and a street mom.

“I had a chance to see the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol with my parents and this guy took me under his wings,” Aikens said. “He told me I had something special as a ball player and because of him I truly believe I went on to have success and become a major league baseball player.”

Aikens closed the speech with statement about his book “Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at home”.

“My book is about a lot of good, a lot of bad, and a lot of ugly.”

Be sure to pick up issue 11 of the Campus Ledger on Feb. 27 for more about Willie Mays Aikens’ visit.

 Contact James Howey, sports editor, at jhowey@jccc.edu.

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