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A DESIRE TO EXCEL
Frank Deford
March 30, 1981
Ronnie Darling, Yale All-America baseball player, personifies the values that A. Bartlett Giamatti, school president and fan, extols
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March 30, 1981

A Desire To Excel

Ronnie Darling, Yale All-America baseball player, personifies the values that A. Bartlett Giamatti, school president and fan, extols

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Oh well, it doesn't really make that much difference, does it, Ronnie Darling? Whether you make it to the bigs or not, you'll always be a Yale man.

"No," Ronnie Darling says, shaking his head sadly. "No, I want to play. Even if I have the Yale degree, even then, if I didn't play...." His voice trails off, and he looks away for a moment.

"But never mind the degree," he continues. "If I could just make the majors! If I could play...10 years! Imagine that! I'd be the happiest."

The best thing about Ronnie Darling's Yale education is that the book learning hasn't confused him about what he is and what he must do now with his tools. Very few of us get a chance to be a Ronnie Darling, and those lucky ones who do would be fools to let the real world interfere with what is now the spring of life.

Giamatti, writing in the Yale Alumni Magazine and Journal about the summer of his 40th year: "Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy.... The real activity was done with the radio—not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television—and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind....

"Of course, there are those...who grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun."

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