September 11, 2009

Bradley and Dryden '69 Talk Sports, Politics at C.U.

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[img_assist|nid=37974|title=Chalk talk|desc=Former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and Hon. Ken Dryden ’70 participated in a panel discussion titled “Lives on the Run: Sports, Service and Leadership” last night in Bailey Hall.|link=node|align=center|width=335|height=240]Last night, hundreds of Cornell students, staff, faculty and alumni filled Bailey Hall for a chance to see and hear from two of the world’s most prominent and successful scholar-athletes. Former Sen. Bill Bradley (Dem-N.J.) and the Hon. Ken Dryden ’69 participated in a panel discussion titled “Lives on the Run: Sports, Service and Leadership” that was moderated by ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap ’91, who was a former sports editor for The Sun.
Schaap led a discussion that explored many topics such as public and personal integrity, the locker room experience, fame, coping with defeat and the current health care debate.
The evening was kicked off with film footage of highlights from the respective athletic and political careers of Bradley and Dryden. The discussion began on a lighthearted note, as Bradley quipped to Dryden: “I didn’t realize until I saw the video, how great you really were.”
After playing basketball at Princeton and studying at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, Bradley went on to play professional basketball for the New York Knicks and won two NBA championships. Bradley represented New Jersey in the United States Senate for 18 years and unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2000.
Bradley stressed the importance of integrity, compromise and learning from others as guiding principles for life and politics.
“You have to listen to what your opponent says to find a couple common steps to move your objective forward,” Bradley explained.
Bradley emphasized the importance of sticking to one’s beliefs in pursuit of goals and following one’s morals in deciding how to act.
“Integrity, if I were to define it, is going a couple steps beyond what is legal,” Bradley said.
Dryden starred as a goaltender for the Cornell hockey team in the late 60s, leading the Red to the 1967 national championship. After Cornell, Dryden played in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, backstopping the Habs to six Stanley Cup victories in his eight years in the league.
Dryden entered Canadian politics in 2004 as a MP for the York Center Riding, served as the Minister for Social Development and unsuccessfully ran for the Liberal Leadership in 2006.
Both Dryden and Bradley have had tremendous success in their careers, but have also experienced disappointing failure. Dryden explained that when coping with defeat, it is important to focus on the next important task at hand.
“[Defeat] is somebody — many people — deciding that somebody else would be a better choice,” Dryden said. “You get on with it. You say, ‘OK, that didn’t happen.’ But there’s lots of constructive things to do.”
Dryden also mentioned that his decision to come to Cornell was one of the most important decisions he ever made. He admitted that he was close to choosing to attend Princeton, but ultimately came to Ithaca and that made all the difference.
“I came here in the end because Cornell had hockey ambitions and Princeton didn’t,” Dryden explained. “It was a hard choice, but in the end, that’s what made the biggest difference.”
The panel discussion was presented by the James Oliphant Distinguished Speakers Fellowship of Sigma Phi Society with additional support from Lawrence Tanenbaum ’68.