James Hetfield's acceptance speech included a cool story about being forced to choose between football and music.
James Hetfield struggled with family problems during the two years he spent at Downey High School in Downey, CA. At the time he had no idea he would go on to sell a million records as the singer and a guitar player in one of the biggest rock bands in the world and even get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With his impact as a musician felt around the world, his old high school found it appropriate to recognize him for achievements, and inducted him into the school's Hall of Fame.
Among the highlights of his acceptance speech was this story about a coach who told him he'd have to cut his hair if he wanted to stay on the football team:
"The thing that happened to me was I on a football team as a freshman, I came back the next year to be on the sophomore team, and Coach Cummings was his name, he says, 'You're gonna have to get a haircut. Your hair is way too long. It's past the ear.' And I look at football players now and say, 'Well, you have to have big hair to be a good football player.' But at that point he said, 'You've gotta cut your hair or you're off the team.' And at that point it was a very major decision. Do I wanna be a rocker? Do I wanna be a football player? 'Cause my whole life growing up, I wanted to be on the Oakland Raiders. That was it. That was my life. And the other dream was I wanted to be the guy on the poster, the Aerosmith poster I had in my room. So at that point I made a decision. You know. So I handed in my gear and I just concentrated on music. So thank you to him for making that very, very, very distinct. Very distinct. He stood his ground and so did I. So I'm very glad that that happened at this school."
You can watch Hetfield's entire acceptance speech in this video: