VFL Julio Borbon Steps away from Cultural Norm to Graduate 14 Years After Leaving UT
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WVLT) – Flight For Life Julio Borbon walked through the University of Tennessee graduation scene this spring, 14 years after leaving the state to play Major League baseball.
Borbon has had a huge career in baseball, but getting his college degree was a goal he had failed to achieve until now. He said that growing up playing baseball in the Dominican Republic, most talented players went straight to the pros to earn money instead of going to college, but his family encouraged him to studying at UT and playing baseball.
“Once I made the decision, you know, it wasn’t something that a lot of people back home for me because it was usually the norm. It was like being offered a decent amount of money, you take it and not only help your family but you, you start your career and the sooner the better and I kind of broke that routine.
Arriving at Rocky Top, Borbon had the difficult task of getting an education and learning a new language, English. The VFL said it wasn’t easy, but they worked as hard off the pitch as they worked there.
“I didn’t want to be embarrassed so I wanted to make sure that I always worked ahead to give myself the time that I knew I needed to be great because most of the guys, my old teammates back then , needed two hours to get the job done, needed four or six, to be honest, just because I almost felt like translating things and had to spend that extra time not just getting the information, but also knowing that I was translating in the right way, ”Borbon said.
The center fielder helped Flights reach the Collegiate World Series in 2005 before his name was called up in the draft. He left UT after his junior year in 2007 for a 12-year career playing in the pros for the Rangers, Cubs and Orioles before returning to Tennessee in 2019.
“It really hit me, especially after I was done, and I realized I was only 33. I was like, I have one life left and what am I going to do now, so I want to put myself in a good position, ”Bourbon said.
Immediately after his retirement, Borbon was hired as a member of the Yankees coaching staff. Once he had a full-time job and a family, Borbon returned to school to complete what he had started.
“I was full to juggle things that weren’t the easiest to be honest and it wasn’t easy navigation because obviously between parenthood and the two girls as you know you have to get up early to finish. things because during the day you have responsibilities so that’s kind of how it went, but as far as graduation goes it was one of my number one priorities Borbon said.
Borbon took online courses at UT for two years and in the spring of 2021 he finally made it through the graduation stage and graduated in Sports Management with a minor in Commerce. “Setting goals, I think it allowed me to allow myself to accomplish things and, still to this day, allow me to be disciplined. After my playing days, I can’t wait to do things so you know that when you enjoy what you’re doing isn’t, I tell people that I always feel like I haven’t worked a only day of my life.
Borbon said he hasn’t finished yet – that he plans to return to school someday to get his masters degree.
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