Kansas City Illustrated; 133; Life After Sports
A lot of players I live in the limelight now and not looking forward to what they're going to do. And. I think. They're overindulging right now and I've seen other professional sports and you read about you know players that haven't been able to handle life after professional sports and that's what I'm trying to prepare myself now. Good evening. Welcome to Kansas City Illustrated. I'm John Masterman. On three programs in February we presented a series entitled life after sports. The report dealt with the adjustments financial and emotional experience by professional athletes upon their retirement from playing for pay for tonight's program. We've combined the three reports and updated the information on how the people we talk with are getting along. For example when we talked with him several months ago the first former pro player in our report Kurt Mer's was working for Canby's the radio. Recently the station let him go saying he didn't seem
to fit into its format going to a new job voluntarily or not can be a difficult thing. So can change your good career especially from something as distinctive as professional sports. There's money and fame and when it's time to leave the field there can be a sudden introduction to anonymity. The transition made by a professional athlete can be simple it can be traumatic. REPORTER Is the home. For most of us when we were in school athletics were a diversion something to do while we figured out what to do with the rest of our lives. Some are so good with a baseball or football or basketball that they went right into that and they were able to do that for a while so they don't get many 20 year pens in professional sports and eventually most of the athletes too must decide what to do with the rest of their lives. The average football career lasts about four and a half years for baseball it's
about six years not counting an average of four years in the minor leagues and for pro basketball. The average is about four years. Put another way. Most athletes begin their careers after college around the age of 22. That means that at the age of six when his college buddies are promising young junior executives the average football or basketball player is looking for another job. A search he may have trouble with. According to Dr. Robert Trout line associate professor of psychology at William jewel Troutman works with Chiefs players to help them toward a career after sports. He says that in setting up the program he talked with a lot of pro athletes who had left the game and had trouble with the transition. Troutman says many of the athletes went through a stage usually experienced in high school because they've just had one focus that. Sports and athletics has sort of perpetuated. Putting off you know career decisions and so on in a way they are very
naive about what possibilities are out there what they can do. If you would imagine for a second that you woke up one morning and you were suddenly stripped of your identity the way you provide for your family you no longer can do that the way that you gain recognition and approval you can no longer do that. You can imagine what a shock that would be the transition varies with the person. Some ex-pros seem to glide from one career to another suffering neither financial nor emotional trouble. Others may never recover from leaving the game. Two well-known Kansas City athletes Jim tire of the chiefs and Bill Robinson of The Kings have committed suicide in the past few years after apparently not being able to adjust to leaving the game. At the time a family friend of Tiger was quoted as saying Jim had gone through some real difficulties in deciding changes in his vocation and at the time Joe Axelson the king's
general manager said Robbins Zene was very despondent about the apparent end of his NBA career. But most athletes who leave their sports fall somewhere between the extremes but rather than talk about the athletes we saw some of them to talk about life after sports and the transition. After a year in the Canadian Football League Kurt Mer's joined the Chiefs as a guard and played from 1962 until his retirement after the 1968 season. He began as an all-American played nearly 10 years in the pros. He learned to play many games and really earned the name of mother. He has spent the past 15 years in the radio and is currently as the afternoon man at NBC. ABC type 3:51 let's keep your current child is managing a restaurant at the top and some radio people frequent the restaurant.
Having a talk with a little. Joke around a little bit as they should how would you like to do sports on the radio. I've never done anything on the radio. You never said. Either of them. Hey there's a fumble let's go get the ball or something like that. I didn't know how to talk. So we'll try it out. So we went there. We tried it out of there. I did a couple of sports shows of afternoon. As a matter of fact where I. And they said hey that's working out all right. Solar forecast is that they're going to call it in the morning do some sport for you. OK. I'll call it in the morning. It's working out pretty good. How would you like a sports talk show. No but my job was full have to go. It was like 15 years ago here. Actually I was really lost for a year and a half when I was really. Bouncing around. It was just a matter of blocks. I where his life
was run. But I had a great time. Gave me a break. So sometimes things take time to get going. Sam Lacey could tell you that Sam Lycee joined the Cincinnati royals in 1970 and became a king when the team moved here in 72. I trade in 1981 sent him to New Jersey. Last season he played in Cleveland then retired Lacy returned to Kansas City to become a small business man or a big small businessman. Though he says it is taking longer to get things going than he had hoped. Some projects are beginning to show results. Among them a company called Lacy and Collins lasing provides the funding for his partner's ideas. We've been getting close. We have it getting there taking orders for their first product. Automatic car starter running flashing Cleveland. I think that's what really I wouldn't say me against basketball but
that was a fail that was coming down to the end because you know I wouldn't mind playing if I was still playing here in Kansas City. But the last two years I left I what the majority of the day after I went to Cleveland and I didn't want to end my career like that just jumping from team the team and it was always one more year one more year. That's enough I couldn't play in Kansas City anymore. I don't want to play. And that's why I decided to go in business with Sam Lacy isn't putting all his eggs into one automatic car starter. He also runs a summer basketball camp and says that Burger King has approved his application for a franchise and to learn more about minding his own businesses. He says he plans to go back to school and. That's something the athletes talk about going back to school in the offseason or after their careers have ended. Shell do both as one of the original royals show held down the third base job from 1969 through 1974 when he was traded to California.
There he finished the season and thus his career. Hi I'm Dr. Paul Schaal. Many people have asked if my greatest satisfaction in life was to play baseball in the major leagues. Well it was. But today my greatest satisfaction is to give help to people suffering with painful conditions despite constant medication. The Science Channel has gone from the crack of the bat to the cracking of BACS as a chiropractor in Overland Park Charles career planning didn't happen by accident but because of one thing that really influenced me more than anything was when I was playing for the California Angels. Nineteen sixty eight. Was playing third base for them at the time and I was injured. I was a bad I was hit by a pitching ball and that was mid-season I was about June and I was able to play the rest of the year. I still have lost my hearing in my left ear because of that I was having dizzy spells equilibrium problems. It looked like as though my career was going to be over and that kind of frightened me. That was kind of a sudden shock to me that really made me sit back and realize that I'd better plan. You never know when your career is going to come to an end. That accident.
Actually there were some benefits too that had made me decide that I had better plan for the future which I did. I started picking up some extra college credits during my off season. And I started thinking a lot more about my future following that final season. I got involved with the purchase of a restaurant a pizza restaurant here in Kansas City so that was actually my first experience outside of baseball or any other type of business involvement. That particular business. I had for about four years four to five years and basically it was never anything I was going to continue to do. I didn't intend to do that for the rest of my life but it didn't finance my college my chiropractic college for me. Had you given much thought before you retired as to what you might do at this point. No I really didn't. And I think most ballplayers are guilty of that. But his teammate Freddy Polytech did think about his future. Did go to school in the
offseason but the results haven't been so good thus far. After nine seasons as the royals shortstop Patek went to the California Angels after the 1979 season. During the winters in California he went to broadcasting school in hopes of doing color commentary or play by play. After his career which ended when the angels let him go before the 82 season and according to partic it has not been an easy transition. Well I think the day that I got released from the California Angels I came back. When I was living in Anaheim and I started picking up the telephone and started looking for work. It took me about 10 minutes. I guess the realization probably did not set in for about a about six or eight months because I stayed in the game and I did a lot of cable stuff for sports vision out of Chicago for the White Sox. Basically what I'm doing now is I'm trying to pursue two things I'm I am. I've been looking this past year for another occupation probably in the field of sales. I've talked to several people in the Kansas City area
but I'm getting kind of the feedback that I'm getting is basically they want to use use my name and they really don't want to use me and you know just for me to get them into the door and make them wealthy and I'm kind of disappointed in that area. But I'm still going to continue to search in and look for a job in salesmen in the summertime. I'm hoping to hook up with the cable TV company this year and hopefully channel 62 and do some of those royals games. Has it been a tougher transition from baseball than you had expected. Well I don't think that you can ever anticipate. How difficult it is to me. It's been the most difficult thing that I've ever had to try. You know it's been the most difficult challenge for me ever. It's been extremely tough mentally and physically. And when you're pursuing work. For an entire year or two. You have a lot of self-doubt into what's going on. A lot of things of that nature. And if you can keep yourself from panicking and getting too emotional and try to stay contend with yet continue to strive and look
for something that you want to do I think those are the keys to it. But I think I can appreciate what all former athletes now go through what an ex pro goes through varies with the ex-pro. But Dr. trout line of William Jewel says he thinks athletes go through two phases after they leave the game. Probably initially there's a shock period. They had all this time and maybe even maybe even during this time a little bit of deluding themselves a little bit of fantasy. Oh you know it's great. I'm retired I've got all this time on when I travel and they might do some of those things in the very short term and as far as I'm concerned I think the shock period is the last. It's going to vary but probably two to five months. OK well you can't exist that way forever. And so finally you're going to come out of this this period and you're going to start. For a little while you move forward from the fantasy. You know retirement mindset if you will to well I'd better now start looking for a job so you sort
of become more reality oriented and I imagine that they know that most athletes would make an attempt and start making contacts calling old friends and I think at this time this is a crucial period for them because most people don't you know aren't going to give them something for nothing. They probably don't have as many great contacts as they thought. People have moved on. People can't produce you know they're all Brender. They can't produce for them in regards to a career. So all of a sudden now they feel like they've been abandoned. Hey where are their fans. Where are their friends. And all of a sudden they're alone they're abandoned and that would be a scary time for anyone. Just as their adjustments vary so do their thoughts on retirement and on the games they have left. I don't miss the game that much. If I just got more free time than I normally
have to learn how to put that time to the best of you and I'm having fun doing it. I mean it's totally different from a schedule I've been on for the last 13 years. I think just being a professional athlete you are always catered to. I was very. Whether or not we want to accept it or not it was a very regimented type of a life. And now when you get out of that and you have to reorganize and do things in a different manner. That has a tendency particularly for myself. My own experience has lost me hours of late and I was really a late night person. I played baseball for 13 years of my life and when I decided to get back into school I had to start waking up at 5:30 six o'clock in the morning and then hitting the books at night and closing the door and basically locking the door and forcing myself to study getting up study habits at age 31 all over again. It was very difficult. When you when you love baseball what what
were your feelings at the time. What were your reactions. Let's be totally honest with you I was I was somewhat relieved the last few years of my career the traveling. Bothered me more than anything. Just living in hotels or three or four days at a time and packing up and going to another hotel. Being on the road for two weeks at a time. I was. Relieved that I didn't have to wake up on Sunday morning still being sore from last Sunday's game and having to do it all over again. But. I was kind of sad because I had done this. Since junior high school you know 25 something like 25 years 30 years. Every fall. You're playing football in the first fall. You're saying I'm supposed to be doing something that I have always done and I'm doing it and I miss the. People. The players. You know if you have a regret I guess it's because you get too old. But I don't have any regrets about anything. The travel I really don't miss
that much but. I would gladly go back into it to do that. You know if that were possible but those things are in the past. You know realistically you have to look to the future. Today I would say that I miss more than anything is the camaraderie the players the closeness because it's like family. He lived together for six months out of the year on the road together and you really get to know each other very very well. And I have some very close friendships. And again when you get out of the game it's funny how you tend to drift apart. I think what I miss most about playing pro ball is the traveling you know like I saying as now I'm just sitting around home and. I only get out of town when the family and I go out. But what I what I really love about not playing football again is waking up in the morning and your knees in knots and your back is nice so you know just knowing it's everywhere and it feels good to just wake up and just roll out of bed you know without you waking up and you move over and all of a sudden you got to catching it back and going. I don't miss that at all.
I never did get off. I never did think the game was. I was bigger than the game because I played pro basketball and how people idolize athletes that I never get carried away with it and I guess just what I can just leave again and I come down and watch them without getting totally involved in it. Like I know it's my retirement. And I said Great I'm done with it you know. Let's do something else. And then like 24 hours later two days later it really hit me that I wasn't going to do this anymore and I was really mostly doubt. That I actually wasn't going to be an athlete anymore. You know I'm joined all my life and I've. Done it. You know most all my life. And two days later. I was really crushed emotionally that I wouldn't be able to do this anymore. And then it was a gradual getting over that initial shock which was a kind of an aftershock. I think that this all was just you and whoever you was with in my case is just me and my
family and you. No I don't I don't miss it that much. I don't know. I'm not worried about you know I don't like to hear the roar of the crowd. The trouble with athletes adjusting to civilian life really starts at a very early age. From the time they've discovered that this kid can. Run a little faster. Throw a ball a little farther. Hit a baseball or whatever you're treated differently. So like something special that starts a very early age. And it goes on and rather than people counseling you saying hey listen this is not going to last forever or does this patch on the back and say hey you're doing great. Do some more. You know do good and this and do that in high school college. PROS. People constantly taking care of you and patting on the back and picking you know creating a little extra special you know getting in restaurants earlier you know. Oh just a brilliant thing in high school you know
maybe not doing so well in school maybe they'll say well. Give me a little break because he's an athlete team or something like that and it's all the same. And then you quit. And then a lot of these. People when they quit. They walk out and they say OK now who's going to take care of me now. I've been taking care of ever since I was. 14 13 years old. And there isn't anybody. And that's when shocking. Really. As of late last week Murray said he was trying to call radio stations looking for another job in the business. He says this feeling differs from the shock of leaving football because he quit football and wasn't fired. Lacey is still in the automatic car starter business and the former king is looking for a place to become a Burger King. Fred Patek was still looking for employment according to his wife before he left recently on business interviews. As of Monday afternoon she said she didn't know how they were going. So far we've heard from professional players who love sports to earn a living. Now we
turn to some former pros who stayed in the sport but changed their roles in it. Athletes vary in the transitions they make from professional sports. Some have no regrets about leaving. Others would like to play again. Some leave with a direction a plan which works and seem to thrive in a new career and lifestyle. Others require more time to adjust to leaving the game. But one of the players who never really leaves the game can just change their roles in it. I think when I decided to quit playing football I feel you know you always have aspirations you're still trying to maintain some hype. Link. Into a plan you know into the into the game itself you don't like and just walk away from it and say well that's it. And I'll start something else. And so Walt Corey stayed in the game as a linebacker from the University of Miami. Cory began his career with the Dallas Texans in 1960. The
AFL first year he moved with a team to Kansas City and stayed with the chiefs through the 1966 season. Then after several years in college coaching Corey returned to the chiefs in 1971 except for three seasons with Cleveland. He has worked here ever since. At that time Hank Stram didn't have a linebacker coach as such. And he was looking to increase his coaches. So he offered me the position of linebacker coach. And I jumped at the opportunity because once the Chiefs. It seems like you always want to be a chief and I enjoyed it. And. Let's say I hope to. I hope to finish my career here too. But once a Chiefs player not always a Chiefs player. Corey finished his playing career after going through three operations in three seasons. I finished on a real good note because we we we finished
the season being a champion. We went in and played the first Super Bowl game which was a highlight of anybody's career. And. So my mighty partner really wasn't anything traumatic. You know I. I enjoyed everything that I did. I accomplished more than I thought I would accomplish. And I was looking forward to. Doing another thing. Corey went on to do something else in the same profession but unlike some players he had something else on the resume besides football. Corey says that while playing he taught school in the offseason to supplement his football salary. If I was in football I probably would have been a school teacher right now because teaching and coaching are basically the same thing you work with people and individuals and you're you're trying to improve on their skills and their. Their desires. Are being successful. So one way or
the other it can work hand in hand it was a way of staying in teaching and doing something that I was familiar with because I've done it for so long a period of time. It really wasn't very tough as an assistant coach because obviously there was a head man who has the responsibility for his ball club and the assistant coach. He has to to support a head coach. And that was a very easy transition for me but wasn't very long during the first season that very Castelo our head coach resigned them and I took over the head coaching responsibilities which certainly was much more complex. The voice of Don Nelson the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA. Nelson played 14 seasons in the pros with Chicago Los Angeles and Boston. Ending his career in 1976 last year as an active
player. I made the decision that I wanted to stay in the NBA in some capacity and I thought the best area for me to contribute to the game was in officiating. We're trying to make a career in officiating. I went out in the summer league in Los Angeles and worked about 12 games of operations for that. But in between that I got an offer for a job. The walk. Don Nelson went straight from pro playing to pro coaching. Same thing with Royals manager Dick Howser Houser spent eight seasons in big league baseball as a player including more than two seasons with the Kansas City A's after the 1968 season. He joined the Yankees as third base coach I thought while you're still playing about what you might do when you quit. As a player. No I didn't really. I wanted to stay in baseball a little bit maybe as a scout maybe as a college coach whatever because
I like baseball I think. I think I'm pretty good at what I do. I won. I wanted to stay in the baseball area but no not really I think as a player in those days especially when there were not multi-year contracts. You're so concerned about staying in the big leagues and in the good lifestyle and doing something you want to do that it's such a day to day thing that you really can't look too far in advance. You really can't plan for the future because you don't know when where the future is when it's going to be when it's going to hit you. You know it's out there but very few guys really get in a position to prepare themselves for the future. That's one thing that makes you unique the fact that you have stuck with it you didn't go into some other business did you ever even consider anything else. Well not really I just feel like I've been I really enjoy baseball. Professional Baseball has been something I always wanted to do since I was seven years of age. And there are very few people have been as fortunate as I have to be able to stay in the game. Houser is what you call a career man. He has worked in pro baseball since 1958 except for one season as a college coach.
That's a way of staying in the same profession at a different level. Marty Patton is doing that in Lawrence as head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks. He pitched 13 major league seasons including seven with the royals. Bratton says he prepared for life after pro sports and I prepared myself a long time ago because before I signed I had about one or two courses to take before I got my degree at Eastern Illinois University and and when I signed a professional contract I went back in the offseason and finished up in a year and then finished my masters degree so I actually prepared myself for the day when I got out of the game that I at least have a college education to fall back on. I had an opportunity while I was playing baseball to go back to my alma mater at Eastern and and work out a third facility there during the winter months and I I thought I would help out with the college team and their work with some of their players and I thoroughly enjoyed working with young men and being able to teach them
and I kind of had my mind it when I was done with the game that it'd be nice to be in a college situation somewhere. How did you get to you. Well it's I think after the 1980 World Series I had several job opportunities and I didn't particularly well at the time that those were for me. And and was fortunate enough that this job became available and I sent my resume and then was very fortunate that I was chosen to be the head coach here. I think it is a real challenge you know to be a college coach and you have to be very versatile in some of the things that you have to do. You're in charge of the recruiting end of it. You have to make sure that all your facilities are available to the kids. You have to see that the field is in good condition you got to do these things yourself and and hope that you know that your kids will will do a little of things out on the field too. But this is a phase in my life that I'm really
enjoying. Do you think. That pro-sports. Owes it to the players to help them find something when they quit. Well you know that's a question that can be very controversial. I feel that any time a person gets into professional baseball you know there's there's a certain amount of things that that person has to do. And I think that he has to do some things during the offseason to try to prepare himself for when he gets out of the game. It would be nice if say some of the major league teams would would be able to counsel some of the players that are you know are thinking about getting out of the game to find out you know what what other things they can do when they get done with the game. Because I've seen an awful lot of people that have spent a lot of years in the game and when they get out it just seems like they struggle for a few years to find something to do. And to me the most wisest thing that I could
tell anybody to do would be to get a get a college education because if you can get a college education you've got something that's going to be worthy of the rest of your life. With me in the studio are two famous Kansas City sports figures of the recent past. Famous Men in their sports Len Dawson of the Kansas City Chiefs and Steve Busby formerly the Kansas City Royals are well-known figures in sports and men who did not go into coaching but who went into an allied field broadcasting their sports broadcaster Len Dawson has done lots of work for NBC Sports now with HBO and with other things working. Yes I know looking at your piece of some of the players and what they do and they get out of sports and how they're getting acclimated to the real life as we said you know back I think when Steve and I started we had to do something in the offseason to supplement our income. We had families I think with a huge contract today. It's
a problem for some of these athletes because their if their number one draft choice in any sport they're virtually secure for life and here it is. They may be playing their sport at age 30 it's all over and they know nothing else to do. They're not in a position to get into another field. It's a really psychological and emotional problem well Steve you're a broadcaster for the Texas Rangers with Merle Harmon doing the television and occasional radio 100 games a year you're doing until we do 130 actually long. We do 100 on cable TV which is very similar to the time the royals will have in 1984 than we did 30 on their commercial network so it's it's a good schedule we only miss 32 games a year and it keeps the involvement with the game at a very high pitch. Sometimes when you're here wouldn't you like to be working the other side. You know I find myself torn at times yes. But it hasn't worked out yet. I have one more year on the present contract I have with the Rangers and
you never know what's going to happen in 1985. Well when are you prepared to go into broadcasting for a long time while you were an active player. You graduated from Purdue and then played for Pittsburgh in Cleveland and came to the Chiefs. And 62 I had actually the last nine years that I played quarterback for Kansas City I was the sports director of Channel 9. Also the sports director of KMBC radio. And I rather fell into it. Jon I had had an interest in broadcasting but I know when I first inquired about broadcasting when I was with the Pittsburgh Steelers they said well you're going to have to go to school and learn how to talk and do all these things and hang around a radio station and maybe you'll get a chance. Well I didn't really want to do that because as I said I needed money to supplement my income in the offseason. It just so happened that Mark go on longer then general manager of Channel 9 decided to go to a 30 minute newscast at 10:00 as opposed to a 15 minute newscast and he was trying to make a determination whether he wanted a professional broadcaster or
a athlete that's presently playing in the chiefs at that time they were looking for publicity. So they gave me the go ahead and I said well I'm in the insurance business. Was it at that particular time I took a leave of absence is something that I really wanted to try. Said if it doesn't work so and I'm still playing football and it lasted the next nine years well then it was a pretty easy transition to leave. Major League football into major league road. Well I don't think it's ever easy to leave a sport that you've been involved with. In my case for 27 years of organized football but it made it a lot easier because I just eliminated one of the jobs that I had. I had three jobs. I was in radio television and football and I eliminated the hard work the work of playing football. So it was a lot easier for me I think because I was still on the fringe. I wasn't a player but I was still there on Sundays. And in some capacity with the game. Steve When did you decide to go into broadcasting.
Well strangely enough when was one of the influences that I had. I met him when I first came to Kansas City he was in the winter. I should say in the summer he was doing some work and of course I had followed his career. Knowing him as a great professional quarterback that encouraged me to look into different opportunities. The late Bruce Rice had a big effect on me. I became very very good friends with Bruce and he taught me a lot about the inside of sports how he was a great sportsman he loves sports ball kinds and he showed me a method of staying close to something he loved while not being actively involved in it as far as the competition is concerned. And then. But Blinder who is one of the royals broadcasters talked to me a lot about being an ex baseball player and he mentioned something that you touched on a minute ago. He told me you know you don't have to have a great voice to be a good broadcaster. It's more important what you say than it is how you say it. And that kind of gave me a little heart. I listen to the people that are professional
broadcasters and I don't have the greatest voice in the world but I have tried to learn and make it as good as possible. But really concentrating on what I have to say and making it concise and important. It was rumored Len that you could have gone into all sorts of coaching positions when you left the team. Was it true. Were getting offers too. Well I could have yes John but one of the reasons I got involved in broadcasting is something that I wanted something when I ended my career that I could step into as a profession. You know not just to go into something but I wanted to build on that and make it become a profession and I was very serious about broadcasting. I was never really serious about coaching. The only type of coaching that I was ever interested in was perhaps coaching youngsters at a camp or something for a three or four weeks and not have the problem of winning. But I have the opportunity to teach these young people and I have done that and it's very enlightening
to me and it's something that I really enjoyed. But I was never really interested in coaching. Steve brought up a point about somebody that was important in my career. Bruce Rice I think when when I was offered the opportunity to go on television the first man I went to is Bruce rice because he was not only an outstanding broadcaster but he was a friend and he I think he influenced a lot of people in. It you sort of going into coaching. John I have I still I still do think about it as a matter of fact. What we do. My basic job with the Rangers is a color analyst I do some play by play. But basically that's coaching. You're analyzing situations you're educating the public the people viewing the game what is going on why it is happened what possibly will happen so in essence we are coaches on the air and maybe not to the same depth that we would be with professional athletes. But nonetheless I feel that the biggest part of my job when I do a baseball game is to
teach because what would you like to go off and work with a group of young pitchers with the Kansas City Royals and. Are you lumping them with. Well one of the problems I have I at least I feel I have it different than the one he has. I dont feel that I could teach a group of young players that were not professional about pitching because I have geared the last 15 years of my life to winning. And I agree with when its not fair to teach young kids that winning is the most important thing. And yet that's what I base most of my teaching capabilities on. Probably your view of this is a little bit biased since you're both the former all star athlete in broadcasting but you think the best broadcasters that you hear that people we work with necessarily but the best you here are former coaches or like Stram or George Allen or former players for your time but
analysts Yeah. I think that they have the basic background and knowledge of the game is not necessarily they're the best because in in any sport or any business you've got to do your homework and a guy could have a great amount of knowledge and Steve may agree or disagree but unless you do your homework and study what's happening right now I don't care how good you were in the past and you can get this across to the people. Then you are not going to be successful and you don't have to be an athlete to do that. Well everything you've said when you've worked with when Jim Simpson was not did come from an athletic background but he was superb. So is sports broadcaster takes intelligence. I think in any profession and a lot of hard work and a man that you mentioned Jim Simpson he's outstanding and he's done a lot of a lot of work over the years and he is a real he's a pro's pro as they say. And I think he can do any type of event. And you know you've succeeded in Texas. The young fellow named Dick
reizen Hoover who died tragically of cancer several years ago. Dick had played at the University of Texas and then coached in high school but he was not an All-Star or sports figure bit of fun. But you're right there are many many fine broadcasters that have no sports background as far as playing or anything else. I think as far as an analyst job it it simplifies matters if you have played the game but that doesn't mean to be an analyst you have to have played it you just know what to look for it makes your homework a lot easier. And I think being a play by play person it may hinder you at times having been an analyst too because you want to analyze things instead of describe the action will then help you Steve to get on into broadcasting and both of you were counseled by Bruce Rice in that same way. Are you talking to players now active about the opportunities that might exist for him in broadcast. I have talked to some some of indicated an interest in him. I think today and in football
for example you see so many games and and the networks are hiring ex football players as there are analysts or their color men that a lot of these players today say I want to do that. And I said wait a minute you know you just don't want to do it. You may want to do it. You may not get the opportunity but if you want to stay there and you want to do it well you had better prepare yourself. And I have given advice to some of these players who have come up to me and ask and ask of my assistance. I don't think anybody prepared better than Linda used to go into broadcasting nine years the sports director and then. Well I think the biggest thing was he learned the industry. You know he found out what the ins and outs were and that that enabled him to decide what kind of broadcasting he wanted to go until he found out he liked the industry first learned about it and then was able to make that choice and have very good credentials going in. Which is the important part. We want to thank you for being with us Len Dawson the great quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. Never to be forgotten. And Steve Busby who no
hitter will never be forgotten along with many other things he did for the Kansas City Royals. Thanks for coming in. Thank you. Many athletes it appears learn from example even while in their sports careers their developing careers for the life after sports. That's what Len Dawson did. Our final report of the evening examines the choices of some others who are planning ahead in this age. Many of the sports stories come from the courtroom so a player who's also a lawyer may have a big advantage in knowing what's going on. Consider the case of Tom Condon who considers cases as a lawyer in Kansas City. Condon joined the chiefs in 1974 as a guard from Boston College. He serves as the senior member of the team and is the recently elected president of the National Football League Players Association. By the time I finished with Boston College I had been accepted to law school and had also been drafted by the Chiefs so it was it was time to make a decision. I wanted to course play with the chiefs and take a chance at pro ball but I didn't want to give up the opportunity to get a law degree
some time to. As happened with other athletes in our reports an injury made Condon look to his future he contacted the NFL Players Association for information and heard about Baltimore university as a place which could accommodate his unusual schedule. After my first year I tried to get a job and there weren't that many companies that were interested in hiring for a six month period so I thought that you know school was the next best bet and it worked out well it was just that my locker room my law school career was a little bit fragmented and that made some of the continuity difficult. But all in all I think it turned out OK. Do most of the players seem to realize that there's going to be something else down the line that they're going to have to do after football and have they started thinking about that. You know that usually comes about your third year in the game. Maybe the first two years or so of course your first year into the pros I remember I was so excited about being a professional football
player that I really didn't think of much else in the second year was making the jump from being a special teams player to an established veteran starter. And that took up most of my thinking and most of my work. And I think that relates pretty much to most of the other players when you get past that a little bit then you start to be concerned with the investments and what am I going to do when it's done. Tom Condon went through a knee operation after his second season in the league. So did comets defender Tim Clark. Clark is playing in his third season in the Major Indoor Soccer League is second with the Comets. He went through knee surgery in July. Any time you're obviously injured in sitting in the stands watching everybody else play and kind of sit back and reflect. What's Tim Clark can do when he's sitting in the stands as a fan. Permanently and this is what led me to get back in school each week. Tim Clark spins too hot winter evenings in a Rockhurst college
classroom working toward a bachelor's degree in accounting. When I grew up Mack was always my favorite subject and. I just like to keep tract of my own books and somebody else's book. So when do you think that most of the players give any thought to what it is that they might do after they leave the game. Well. I think a few of the players that we're giving are thought we will just see on the comments there's a few of us attending school in graduate school but I think a lot of the players. I live in the line right now and not really looking forward to what they're going to do. And I think. They're overindulging right now. And I've seen other professional sports and you read about you know players that haven't been able to handle life after professional sports and that's what I'm trying to prepare myself for now. Jim Clark former teammate Craig's stall says he wasn't quite prepared for what happened to him on February 18th. Stahl came out of Rocker's college to spend two seasons as a Comets forward.
Staal was 26 games into his third season when the comets let him go. Ten days ago Staal says that when he joined the comets he put school aside and didn't think about life after sports until last year. He took a couple of college courses. I knew I wasn't a superstar. And I knew that any day. Soccer could be over with either through an injury or being released or whatever. And I knew that it was very much you can be a possibility and. You have to. Make some alternatives. Stahl says he figured the comets would let him go because he had been playing very little but he thought the pink slip would come this summer. Not now. His main goal he says is to get back into the league somewhere. I guess the most difficult thing is just for my wife and I. And my boys just say we're in his first term situation of having to say OK I want to play soccer and I will continue to play soccer with I have to pack up the boat.
And make shop somewhere else. And that's kind of a scary feeling from that point. I guess that's the main drawback of a professional athlete just happened to be here today and somewhere else tomorrow. Simply because the fact here is my home I've been here I went to college here and I've made a lot of friends and ties and connections and that's that's really my my home. I have a couple of months here and I'm still be I'm in the context of getting paid. And. Well be the rough month. When. My salary will stop. There. I won't be getting a salary in June and July I've prepared myself for the time and I have camps aligned in St. Louis as well as Kansas City here. So that should keep me going through the summer. Then at the end the summer. Time we get in shape and worry about possibly some other alternatives to soccer or business wise. If Stahl can't get another job on the field he may try to stay in soccer somewhere in the front
office. But he says he wants to finish the few hours he needs for a degree in marketing. I think it's pretty much in a lot of pro sports most of players really. Think a quick Kalas without finishing or prematurely get out of college and going to pro-sports and. Never end up finishing. And my parents have always harped on me. I think Kitchin agree. Can never take that away from me but. There's just something about pro-sports. If there is the opportunity. You'll go in no matter what you're leaving behind. And I'm a victim of it too. I left college to go play pro and said you really didn't hold that against them. Are you the least bit bitter about anything that's happened. No. I don't think there is it. I think maybe. Maybe I don't know. I mean Pat talked about it. We had a long discussion after he told me it was an open discussion. And I told him point blank that
I felt that really I wasn't giving a good crack at it. And you know our differences were you know we had differences but perhaps a new environment new saying the best for me. You know that sometimes happens and that's what he brought up because some players who don't do well in one situation go to another place and become a superstar and he says hey if that happens I wish you the best. Well I taught myself the past. It will pass. I hope that happens. I hope I can come back here and maybe make a believer some disbelievers. Craig Stahl says he wasn't a superstar but what about the plans of someone who seems to fit the description. Royals second baseman Frank white. Try this on your resume. Six gold gloves and the Royals 1983 player of the year award last season. White had a pre-game radio show. He says that job figures in his life after sports. Well I think that the radio show that I do is part of what I want to do and I think that when I quit playing I like to maybe coach young players
in the minor league systems or young players I don't want to travel a lot because we've been traveling quite a bit already and I'd like to maybe go down for spring training and work with the ball club in that respect. I don't think I want to do one thing I think I'd like to get into a little bit more. I'd like to go into real estate. I like to take my real estate test and give my real estate license. I like to do three or four different things that I don't want to just do one thing one local team is helping athletes to make the right contacts some Chiefs players have been going through a career counseling program which the club set up to help them toward a career after football. Coach Matthew Vick is expecting the players to leave in Kansas City. Many of them have job opportunities or contacts from wherever they're from of course many of them big stars in their particular institutions and their colleges and have some some contacts and so you have to induce them to come back in the care of the city. Not only
does it benefit the football team but I think it also helps the fan appeal if you've got your your team living right here in town. So I think that the program itself is going to serve a twofold purpose. Initiate the players to move back into Kansas City and at the same time help them for a career after football. Dr. Robert Trout line Associate Professor William jewel runs the program in New Jersey firm developed through a vocational test and interviews with trout one. Players should get some idea of what they're good at and what they like to do. Area businessmen learn of the program and it is hoped match people with jobs. He says 11 players have entered the program. What are some of the things that they they tell you in the session about. About what they're thinking. Well again there's no one typical response but a lot you'd be surprised how many of them really don't know. They feel that they're at a crossroad
and they see that an approaching time to make a career change and they really don't have any ideas. And so for them it's a chance to explore alternatives and they're open to a lot of things. And then there's other fellows that have good ideas. They pretty well know where they're headed. Some things have become clear in our reports. A lot of athletes think about life after sports and a lot of them don't. But generally they seem better nowadays at preparing for the transition. Their incomes will probably drop off dramatically in life after sports. But there's something else to consider. There's the emotional adjustment. It's a bizarre lifestyle that athletes lead up there on the pinnacle the travel the publicity the pampering having a lot of basic things done for them. Some of them when their careers are over float back down to the real world gently others land with a thud. But one thing's for sure going to life after sports is a transition.
As of Monday morning no soccer club in this league or the NASL had yet signed Craig's stall. He and his family have gone to the St. Louis area for his soccer camps to talk more about where some of those chiefs may be headed. Along with some other aspects of preparing for life after sports Dr. cross-wind is in our studio to talk with reporters Steve. An update on Dr. trout wine. He's now the chairman elect I believe it is the psychology department at William jewel congratulations first of all. Thank you. When we talked a few months ago 11 players were enrolled in the Chiefs program. How many are there now. Two additional players have joined the ranks and now there are 13. What kind of phases do they go through in the program. OK a player comes to you and wants to learn about another career. What do you do from there. The first step is the administration of a battery of tests when the results. We received the results back. The players sit down
and we review the results. They I give them about two weeks to let the results soak in and the next step is to formulate a career objective. Once that is done we structure a resume around the career objective. And then the final phases placement. Have there been any placements here. No the program actually got going late last season and by the time a player did the steps that I just described it's already May. So next year will be the litmus test. Speaking of resumes and placement and all and you said some of the players had a pretty good idea of where they were headed off what they wanted to do. What are some of the things that they want to do and what are some of the things they're good at. It's tough to stereotype players but the three main areas that have become prominent so far are sales
management and person personnel. Some of the players make the transition as we've seen in these reports somewhat easily it seems. And some of them seem to have trouble with it. What are some of the things personality makeup or whatever that helps a player in the transition from the sports to life after sports. One key factor is how they accept being a pro athlete. For some people that's a difficult role to accept. Another one of course is a well-rounded person someone with outside interests who someone who hasn't lived all their life to play football. As you can imagine that would be a very difficult transition if suddenly that career were shut off. And I think a third thing is to get out there and test the waters to have interests other than football. Yes. And to maybe even imply those interests in offseason careers
on their own to at least find out what they don't like. And the flip side would be the player who has trouble making the transition is probably the one who has made sports pretty much his whole life here. Exactly. What are some of the things that a player again being tough to stereotype but with some of the things that a player goes through on leaving his game for the first phase is a fantasy phase if you will. They travel and they feel that they're going to enjoy it. Enjoy the retirement after a while that gets old maybe a month or six months later and the next phase they start calling on friends who promised him jobs or old contacts. And don't go about finding a job as you or I would do this sort of shocks them into reality and often makes them very angry frustrated. And so it puts them in a tailspin can last as long as a year or more for some players and then a third phase they finally pull out
- Kansas City Illustrated
- Episode Number
- Life After Sports
- Producing Organization
- Contributing Organization
- KCPT (Kansas City, Missouri)
- AAPB ID
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/384-97xkszkg).
- Unofficially titled "Life After Sports," this episode is the culmination of a three-part series about athletes transitioning to other careers after playing professional sports. The episode combines multiple segments, interviews, and testimonials on the topic, and provides updates on athletes that were interviewed over the course of the series.
- "Kansas City Illustrated is local news show, featuring in-depth news reports on several current events topics each episode."
- Asset type
- Copyright 1984 Public Television 19, Inc.
- Media type
- Moving Image
Anchor: Holmes, Steve
Executive Producer: Masterman, John
Executive Producer: Baker, Steve
Executive Producer: Breeding, Lew
Executive Producer: Benmuvhar, Rod
Guest: Schall, Paul
Host: Masterman, John
Host: Troutwine MD, Robert
Interviewee: White, Frank
Interviewee: Lacey, Sam
Interviewee: Patek, Fred
Interviewee: Corey, Walt
Interviewee: Howser, Dick
Interviewee: Pattin, Marty
Interviewee: Condon, Tom
Interviewee: Clark, Tim
Interviewee: Stahl, Craig
Interviewee: Dawson, Len
Interviewee: Busby, Steve
Producing Organization: KCPT
Reporter: Merz, Curt
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
KCPT (KCPT Public Television 19)
Identifier: Kansas City Illustrated # 133; 6/5/84; 1 HR (KCPT3039)
Generation: A-B rolls
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- Chicago: “Kansas City Illustrated; 133; Life After Sports,” 1984-06-05, KCPT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 18, 2020, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-384-97xkszkg.
- MLA: “Kansas City Illustrated; 133; Life After Sports.” 1984-06-05. KCPT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 18, 2020. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-384-97xkszkg>.
- APA: Kansas City Illustrated; 133; Life After Sports. Boston, MA: KCPT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-384-97xkszkg