I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Sam McDowell Interview: All-Star Player with Hall of Fame Second Act

Diana Landau | May 10, 2022

This week Carl interviews baseball legend "Sudden Sam" McDowell. After a record-setting career as a Major League pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sam embarked on a stellar second act as a sports psychologist and motivational speaker, creating addiction and recovery programs for players (and their families) in all sports. He had many ups and downs in his own baseball career, however. "My career was fueled by alcohol and addiction," he shares. Sam is also author of the book, "The Saga of Sudden Sam: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Sam McDowell."
 
Growing up, Sam's family (including his 6 siblings) lived in Pittsburgh, PA. Sam's focus was sports. He played baseball, basketball, tennis and ran cross-country. (Fun Fact #1: His father was a football quarterback in the Rose Bowl.) At the young age of 17, the Cleveland Indians recognized his talent and he was recruited with a big signing bonus. By the time he was 18, he was already pitching in the major leagues. Sudden Sam became a star, a six-time All-Star and led the American League in strikeouts five times. By 1971, he injured his rotator cuff and his decline continued. "I didn't retire, I was kicked out," says Sam. The anxiety and depression that came from the pressure of being such a young superstar took a toll and his drinking continued.

 

After a short career in real estate and then in insurance, Sam hit rock bottom, losing his wife, family and mountains of debt from a failed business venture. The turning point came when he moved in with his mother. "I woke one morning at 3am and felt in my heart like something beat me." He made a call to a recovery center that morning. (Fun Fact #2: TV Show "Cheers" based their Sam Malone character on Sam.)
 
After learning in recovery that alcohol is a genetic disease, he says the lights went on. His own therapist encouraged him to become a sports psychologist and help other players with addiction and recovery. Sam attended Harvard's continuing education program in sports psychology and eventually was hired by the Texas Rangers to be their sports psychologist, a first in any sport. After a very successful second career in baseball, now at age 80, he continues to help players and former players in all sports through his programs. He has two World Series rings to show for it from the '90s. "The Toronto Blue Jays felt I was valuable in helping them win it all!"
 
Sam's Advice on (Un)Retirement Success:
  • Financial security: "It is extremely important. You must be honest and realistic with yourself. Be sure to consult a financial planner—you may live until you're 90!"
  • Cheering has stopped: "Yes, you had a successful career. Accept it. Now go on."
  • Second act: "Get a hobby, volunteer, play sports. Where does self-worth come from? Set out to accomplish a goal, then do it. This builds your self-esteem."
 
• More about Sudden Sam McDowellClick Here for more unretirement ideas
The Saga of Sudden Sam: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Sam McDowell
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by Gary Sirak's How to Retire and Not Die
 
• Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
 
Tags:    blog   interview   major league   baseball   redemption   financial security  

Corky Logue Interview: Pawn Shop King Turns Into Pickleball Pied Piper

Diana Landau | April 11, 2022

 
Carl talks this month with Corky Logue of Rollingwood, Texas. Corky is a man of incredible energy and focus. As a serial entrepreneur, he has owned 40+ companies. "One of my biggest shortcomings is I'm a little too optimistic about things," he says. A big success came at the age of 47, when he went public with his chain of EZ Pawn stores, leaving the company a few years later with about $30 million in stock. A self-described workaholic, Corky is still as busy as ever at 74. "Everything I do is fun. If it's not fun, I'm not doing it!"
 
Corky's father was in the Navy, so his family moved some but most of the time they lived in the South Austin area, in a trailer park. Corky has a large family and six children of his own. He says he was a geeky teen, very involved in Explorer then Eagle Scouts. "It taught me leadership,"  he says. After high school his father urged him to join the Marines, but Corky wanted to attend the University of Texas and moved out on his own. He worked 2-3 jobs and put himself through college. Sometimes on the podcast, guests talk about their worst job and how the biggest problem was usually the boss. Corky tells Carl, "Since 1972 (when he was 24), I have never had a boss. I've been the boss!" 
 
He has owned drywall supply companies, bike stores, travel agencies, software companies and more. From the early 1970's to the mid-1890's he was running 12 companies simultaneously. He also became a pilot. "I like living at 100 miles an hour." Corky says he only needs about 3 hours of sleep each night. "I'm still as busy as I was when I was working. The big difference is back then I had few friends. Now, through tennis and pickleball, I have more friends than the previous 65 years!"
 
Corky has 2 courts in his backyard, where he schedules 45 people to play pickleball each week, 4 games a day. "When they're through, they come up for a beer. It's so much fun. I've met some great people." In his spare time, he spreads the message of Toastmasters as a 50-year member. "Absolutely, Toastmasters has made me a different person and I want to pay back what it gave me." Corky also spent some time as Mayor of Rollingwood. There's a pattern here with Corky—a high energy lifestyle, leading by example and having fun—all at the same time. "I used to be somebody, and now I'm nobody and I'm damn happy about it!"

Corky Logue's (Un)retirement Advice:
  • "Play pickleball! It's one of the few sports you can play 7 days a week. With pickleball, I've made the most friends, had the most fun and it keeps your body happy too. "
  • "I have a daily routine that I stick to, I'm still trying to learn to live at 55 miles an hour." (vs 100 mph)
  • "Being social helps you live longer. If that's the case, I'm going to live to 150."

• Sponsored by Capital Advantage

 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.

 

Tags:    blog   interview   Corky Logue   pickleball   toastmasters   texas   EZ Pawn   serial entrepreneur  

Mike Murphy Interview: Political Hack turns Media Pundit

Diana Landau | March 08, 2022

This month Carl interviews the entirely engaging Mike Murphy, co-host of the political perspective podcast "Hacks on Tap" with David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs. On the show, the hosts, (and friends in real life), really pull back the curtain on what's happening on the political scene. Mike has had a very successful career as a top Republican strategist for more than 40 state and national races, including John McCain, Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and a particularly long-shot win—Arnold Schwarzenegger. After decades on the campaign trail, Mike has flourished in a new career as a media pundit, writer, producer and professional speaker. (Carl says he is "The Don Rickles of Politics" for pretty much stirring it up with both parties.)

 

Mike grew up in Detroit in a "classic, Irish Catholic family" that eventually moved to the suburbs. Always a political family, his grandfather was a lawyer elected as a local probate judge, his father was a labor lawyer and his mom was a trailblazer in local Democratic precincts. As a teen, Mike was deeply interested in politics and performance theater—two main themes throughout his careers. He says he wanted to focus on international policy and went to the Foreign Service School in Georgetown for college, even learning to speak Russian.
 
While in college, he was recruited to help a losing candidate craft radio ads. They worked, the candidate surprisingly won and Mike's phone started ringing while still a student! "I was always entrepreneurial," Mike adds. After graduation he went to work in campaign politics. "It was so much fun. They gave a lot of responsibility to idiots like me. I joined the circus and have been there ever since!"
 
His big break on a national scale came in 1987, working for Dole as a media consultant. He worked on Senate races but specialized in governor races. "I had a good run in the campaign business," he says. Carl asks him how he decided on his second act. "I liked film and TV, I like creative stuff, so I thought hopefully that eventually I'd have a fun run." He certainly has—as a co-host on a very popular national politics podcast, as well working as a writer and producer. You'll have to listen to the podcast to hear Mike's best guess on the 2024 elections. He's unabashedly an anti-Trump Republican, since an initial meeting with him in the early 1980's—back when Trump was a Democrat.

 

Mike also got married and now lives in L.A. where he is developing a TV mini-series called "the Drop" about 1980's Atlantic City, the mob, the gaming biz and Trump. On his professional speaking engagements he says, "Half of it is stand-up (comedy) for me. It's fun to have people laugh and to be entertaining." Seriously, Mike is one smart, funny guy.

 

Mike Murphy's (Un)retirement Advice:
  • "If you want to keep busy professionally, get outta the house!" Keep an office somewhere, too. Have somewhere to go, do stuff, volunteer—something!"
  • "Be smart about your money, so it can give you some financial freedom to develop your second act—Who knows? You might find out you are really good at it."
  • "If you are happy 3 out of 5 days while working, that's pretty good, (and realistic.) If you are 5 out of 5 on the happiness schedule, well that's fantastic!"
  • "I did used to be somebody. Maybe I'll be somebody again!"

 

• More about Mike Murphy
• Check out Mike Murphy and David Axelrod podcast Hacks on Tap
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.

 

Tags:    Blog   Interview   Mike Murphy   Political Campaign   Donald Trump   Detroit   Georgetown   Arnold Schwarzenegger  

Renel Brooks-Moon Interview: Former Radio Personality Breaks Barriers as Baseball Announcer

Diana Landau | February 01, 2022

This week Carl interviews the remarkable Renel Brooks-Moon. If you haven't heard of her, you probably know her famous voice. Renel has been a big-time radio personality in the San Francisco/Bay Area for over two decades, one of the major markets in the country. For her second act, she is now the public address announcer for the San Francisco Giants. She has earned a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame as the first woman in history to be the public address announcer for a World Series game and championship game in ANY professional sport. (Note: Carl has a super-fan gush going on in this interview.)

 

Renel was born and raised in the Bay Area and loved to entertain, even as a young child. She comes from a family of trailblazers—her father was the first black high school principal in San Francisco and her mother was also an educator. She gets her deep sense of community service from her parents, who were long-time community activists. She went to Mills College and after graduation started an entry-level job for a Bay Area radio station, eventually doing every single job there. “I fell in love from Day One,” she tells us. She was finally offered a nightspot on air in 1985, not expecting it to ever become a career. But everything clicked. “Once I turn on that microphone, it’s where I belong!”

 

Renel went on to have a very successful career in radio, meeting Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, Tina Turner and even singing once with Lionel Richie. Renel was in her element. When she got the call from the San Francisco Giants, she blazed a trail again. She feels a responsibility to be a role model for girls and women in both radio and major league sports. “When I was a little girl, there was no representation for that.” She inspires little girls everywhere to go after their dreams. Renel notes, “For some reason, I ended up in two very male-dominated professions, but I love the work.”

 

She’s had many highlights in her second act, whether it’s making history, interviewing baseball legends or giving her voice and influence to community service. Now, after 22 seasons with the Giants, Carl asks her what her third act might be. “Who knows? I've always wanted to have my own talk show!” We won't be surprised when that happens.
 
Renel’s (Un)Retirement Tips:
Network: “Networking is very important, no matter what your career is or where you are in it. Every job I've had is because of a relationship.”
Serve your community: "The most rewarding part of any job I've had is to use my voice for community service.”
Try it now: "If you've had something you've always wanted to do since childhood, and you are still thinking about it, there’s no reason not to try it now.”
Keep moving: “Stay on top of it. Take care of yourself, listen to your body. Mental health is just as important as physical health.” 
 
• More about Renel Brooks-Moon
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.

 

Tags:    interview   blog   baseball   san francisco   world series   san francisco giants   unretirement  

Greg Schwem Interview: Stand-Up Comedian Finds His Third Act

Diana Landau | January 11, 2022

Carl interviews stand-up comedian Greg Schwem this week. Greg not only does stand-up comedy but he has performed on Jay Leno, with Celine Dion, and corporate gigs like Microsoft and United Airlines. Greg talks with us about his third act in the comedy world – as the creator/producer/director/writer/performer of a funny new YouTube show, “A Comedian Crashes Your Pad.” (Fun fact: Greg is also a kick-ass pickleball player!)

 

Greg grew up in middle-class Arlington Heights, a burb in Chicagoland. He says he gets his funny bone from his father, who was an electronic salesman. “You have to be funny to be successful in sales,” he says. Gutsy move: Greg was an introverted teen and not a big “joiner” until he performed stand-up for the first time at 16 at his high school. “Making people laugh has a lot of advantages socially!”

 

After graduating from Northwestern, he worked as a journalist, working for different media. At 24, he moved to Florida and started going to comedy clubs as something to do in the evenings. He soon discovered he enjoyed being a stand-up comedian more than he liked being a journalist. His parents were wary at first, but he says when he brought them to Las Vegas years later and they saw his name on the marquee, they realized he could make a living doing what he loved.
After two decades of performing as a stand-up and doing corporate gigs, he taught himself some new things. “COVID taught me some video skills,” Greg says. He began creating a new show about a comedian who visits people in their homes through one of the home-sharing sites, learning about their quirky lives. “When people are in their own element, you’d be surprised how much they open up.” Greg shares, “When I started it (the show) it was just me with an iPhone and a GoPro.” He now has a crew of one to help with the camera work.

 

Greg's career is still going strong as he re-invents himself. He also loves performing at senior communities. “It’s enjoyable to see people who've worked hard and are now in the second or third act of life. They really enjoy laughing—especially about themselves. It’s refreshing to see them really respond.” Greg still performs around the country when not working on his YouTube show and of course, winning at pickleball. “I am going out on a cruise ship soon and I can’t wait to see people of all ages in one room having fun!”

 

Greg’s (Un)retirement advice:
  • “Laugh! It’s so cliché but I believe laughing is good for your health and keeps your mind sharp. At this age, that’s so key.”
  • “It’s never too late to try something new. Also, don’t worry about what others think of you!”
  • “Look for the next FUN project! I don’t care where you are in your life, it’s out there.”
• More about Greg Schwem
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.

 

Tags:    blog   interview   unretirement   pickleball   comedy   stand-up   third-act  

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