Coping after playing days can come easy for some but it presents challenges for many athletes. If you played professionally or competitively at the college level there is a coping period once playing days are over.
There is an emotional aspect in leaving the game. It doesn’t matter if you were a World Series player, made a big splash in the game or ended your career in the Miner Leagues. The game is in your blood no matter what level you played. It is part of your DNA and players face emotional adjustments once it comes to an end.
In cases where an athlete leaves the game because of a physical injury, emotional adjustments can be great. If the departure was because talent couldn’t get to the next level, or simply couldn’t get required playing time, these too present coping issues. Some athletes leave the game because of outside necessities unrelated to their ability, here coping can also be difficult. Leaving the game no matter how or why requires starting all over in a new career at the bottom, much like being in an “Instructional league” but it’s not baseball where you had some ability and experience.
Athletes regularly think too little about what’s next when they will be out of baseball. Rarely are they fully aware of all the emotional issues ahead when they no longer come to the ballpark daily. The transition from baseball into a different life is stressful. Sometimes it takes years to adjust and get over the game. A current player’s focus and energy is directed toward playing to his potential, making little effort to build experiences needed once outside of baseball. If an athlete happens to be married with one or two kids the emotional stress may be even greater. If a player had forethought when signing and wrote into his contract that the team will pay for schooling, good for him. This will ease the transition but the longer away from school the less likely an athlete will go back.
So what now? If a player has friends that played the game, it’s helpful to talk with them about adjustments they made. Sharing experiences helps. Not sharing adjustment issues with someone may lead to problems and potentially make adjustments and coping harder. In cases where the transition road has too many curves or bumps, former athletes can fall into drinking more or even drugs. But even that could be worse. Years ago I had a teammate, Bruce Gardener who could not cope. Bruce was a very talented pitcher that developed arm trouble and had to give the game up. What happened was tragic. He became so distraught and after a period of time failing to find a way to cope, sadly, he committed suicide.
A major part of coping is finding the right career to pursue. Being young, much of life is still ahead but not in playing baseball. Finding the best option or path after baseball is a challenge. There will be opportunities to build a career in corporate life. This may work since athletes are skilled in
being a team player. They are good at setting goals and working to achieve them. Players have experience adapting to new situations and finding ways to succeed. A corporate career life is one option. But be prepared to find that it is not like baseball in a number of ways. In corporate life managers can tend to avoid decisions if risk is involved. Decisions tend to be by committee to lessen accountability. Politics defiantly plays a part in most corporations and people can be promoted because of who they know. Surviving in a corporate environment depends on staying in step. If you are ahead or behind your time, your career advancement could be a problem. Athletes by nature are risk takers and this trait does not do well in many corporations where patience is often the best policy.
Being in the executive search and placement field I can see that a corporate environment may be frustrating for some and an entrepreneurial route may be a route to consider. This is so because when evaluating former athletes they excel in individual drive and for the most part have a rigorous work ethic. These and similar other traits make athletes well suited to be entrepreneurs. Athletes see the big picture and what makes an entity thrive. They think strategically and can focus on short and long term goals. They do not find it difficult to put action into their strategies. Athletes generally make good leaders and consequently are successful when building their own company or discovering opportunities where they can achieve based on their own skills and talents. These traits are valuable in corporations but tend to be more suited for entrepreneurial positions.
Recently Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott criticized the NCAA’s enforcement process for lack of uniformity and consistency stating that he felt penalties levied against the Trojans were excessive. USC was treated “unduly harsh,” Scott said.
We all know prices keep going up. Sometimes it’s surprising how much. 1946 prices
World Series tickets $1.20 to $6.25 $110 to $1,040
Hot Dog and a Beer 50 cents $10.25
Program 25 cents $15
Player Bonus $3,742 $377,002
W/S Ring $100 $10,000
Please make sure you and other fellow Trojans keep us updated with your latest contact information. Send updates to my attention.
Time to strike up the Band.…
Sometimes the music gets softer and softer until one day it stops all together and we go on not noticing that the music has stopped. Then one day we say what happened; where is the music? That’s what seems to have happened to our once dominating baseball program.
It’s time to say, where is the music? Pound those drums, strike up the band it’s time that our program come roaring back. It’s time to return to Omaha.
Noise and Poise…. Thinking back to the old days, I don’t recall that we ever had a baseball program theme or slogan. But if we had, “Noise and Poise” would fit well. As for “poise”, a trademark of Rod’s teams was how well prepared and disciplined they were. At bat or on defense the teams were poised. As for “noise” in the old days the bench never let up rooting for our team and hurling remarks at our foes.
What was it like … playing for Rod….? Rod drilled us daily, over and over, on doing things right. He made us great as a team and special as individuals. On rare times when we lost a game, he would tell us we didn’t lose, we just ran out of innings. We carried his thoughts beyond our days at Troy and into our business and personal lives. I know I did. Now as the world spins along, with Rod as an example, we choose to compete in life doing things right. Living our lives to the fullest, making it meaningful and special. We were fortunate to have played for Rod.
What was it like for you while playing for Rod? What were your experiences? E-mail me and share your thoughts with others.
In Honor of Stoner … Nothing to do with Baseball
Eight years ago we moved to Marbella and we strolled the wilderness trails in the foothills between Marbella and Stoneridge. We were surprised to catch a glimpse of a great white dog roaming the hillside in the thick brush and on subsequent walks we would always look for him. Neighbors said it was a Great Pyrenees and no one knew when he first showed up. An imposing image, he was around 130 pounds and with that size he was able to ward of coyotes and other wild life. The Great Pyrenees breed is gentle and affectionate but wary of strangers; he would let no one close to him. With an independent and fearless nature he was able to exist alone in the wilderness, eluding all efforts to be caught. He soon gained our love and was given the name “Stoner”. From then on Stoner was like family and a member of our community. For seven years he lived in the foothills and at night would slip down to the houses where concerned families would leave food out for him.
Life span for a Great Pyrenees is around 10 years and last year we found Stoner in the hills having great difficulty moving. For the first time we were now able to catch him. I think he wanted to be caught. For over a year a neighbor kept Stoner in their fenced back yard tending to him with care during his final days. Sadly, earlier this year, Stoner passed away.
In Stoner’s honor a plaque was designed and placed at the entrance of a nearby dog park which reads, “Stoner, a gentle giant who roamed our hills and found his way into our hearts”.
It’s not far away…Celebrating the “Swinging” 60’s…
Our annual Baseball Alumni Banquet is almost here. It you have not made your reservation don’t put it off any longer. Come back home. See your teammates once again and enjoy memories of the past. If you’re from the 60’, make a special effort to be here as we celebrate your era and pay a special tribute to the three national championship teams. Join us as we review one of the most colorful periods in history and Trojan baseball.
November 17th Sunday Fall Banquet, Galen Center. The biggest event of the year. Theme will be the 60’s era “The Sweet, Swinging, Surging 60’s” with three National Titles. All former 60’s players are encouraged to attend. This is homecoming weekend with our football team playing Stanford on Saturday homecoming day, our Banquet on Sunday and on Monday join Trojan baseball supporters for a golf fundraising event at Dove Canyon.
February 16, 2014, join us for a special tribute to coach Rod Dedeaux. Trojans play Northwestern at Dedeaux field and there will be extra festivities to celebrate and pay tribute to Coach Rod. If Coach Rod was still with us it would be his 100th birthday.
Coach Rod gave baseball, USC and his players so much. Now, all of us have a chance to pay tribute to the “Trojan” that became a baseball legend. Part of the tribute to Coach Rod will be the unveiling of a life size statue that will be displayed at the entrance of Dedeaux Stadium.
2013 – 2014 Baseball Schedule
Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result
11/17/13 vs. San Diego Dedeaux Field 11:00 a.m.
11/23/13 at Long Beach State Long Beach, Calif. 12:00 p.m.
02/14/14 vs. Northwestern Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
02/15/14 vs. Northwestern Dedeaux Field 2:00 p.m.
02/16/14 vs. Northwestern Dedeaux Field 1:00 p.m.
02/18/14 vs. Cal State Fullerton Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
02/21/14 vs. North Dakota State Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
02/22/14 vs. North Dakota State Dedeaux Field 2:00 p.m.
02/23/14 vs. North Dakota State Dedeaux Field 1:00 p.m.
02/25/14 at Long Beach State Long Beach, Calif. 6:00 p.m.
02/28/14 vs. Cal Poly Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
03/01/14 vs. Cal Poly Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m. PT
03/02/14 vs. Cal Poly Dedeaux Field 1:00 p.m. PT
03/03/14 Waseda University (Ex.) Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m. PT
03/04/14 at UC Irvine Irvine, Calif. 6:30 p.m.
03/07/14 vs. Houston Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
03/08/14 vs. Pepperdine Dedeaux Field 2:00 p.m.
03/09/14 vs. UCLA Dodger Stadium TBA
03/11/14 vs. Loyola Marymount Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
03/14/14 at Oregon Eugene, Ore. TBA
03/15/14 at Oregon Eugene, Ore. TBA
03/16/14 at Oregon Eugene, Ore. TBA
03/18/14 vs. Stony Brook Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m. PT
03/21/14 at Stanford Stanford, Calif. TBA
03/22/14 at Stanford Stanford, Calif. TBA
03/23/14 at Stanford Stanford, Calif. TBA
03/25/14 at Loyola Marymount Los Angeles, Calif. TBA
03/28/14 vs. Washington Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
03/29/14 vs. Washington Dedeaux Field 2:00 p.m.
03/30/14 vs. Washington Dedeaux Field 1:00 p.m.
04/01/14 vs. Long Beach State Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
04/04/14 at Arizona State Tempe, Ariz. TBA
04/05/14 at Arizona State Tempe, Ariz. TBA
04/06/14 at Arizona State Tempe, Ariz. TBA
04/08/14 at Pepperdine Malibu, Calif. 3:00 p.m. PT
04/11/14 vs. Utah Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m. PT
04/12/14 vs. Utah Dedeaux Field 2:00 p.m. PT
04/13/14 vs. Utah Dedeaux Field 1:00 p.m. PT
04/17/14 vs. Arizona Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
04/18/14 vs. Arizona Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
04/19/14 vs. Arizona Dedeaux Field 1:00 p.m.
04/22/14 vs. Hawai’i Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
04/25/14 at UCLA Westwood, Calif. TBA
04/26/14 at UCLA Westwood, Calif. TBA
04/27/14 at UCLA Westwood, Calif. TBA
04/29/14 vs. UC Irvine Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m. PT
05/02/14 at Washington State Pullman, Wash. TBA
05/03/14 at Washington State Pullman, Wash. TBA
05/04/14 at Washington State Pullman, Wash. TBA
05/09/14 vs. California Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
05/10/14 vs. California Dedeaux Field 2:00 p.m.
05/11/14 vs. California Dedeaux Field 1:00 p.m.
05/20/14 at Cal State Fullerton Fullerton, Calif. 6:00 p.m.
05/23/14 vs. Oregon State Dedeaux Field 6:00 p.m.
05/24/14 vs. Oregon State Dedeaux Field 2:00 p.m.
05/25/14 vs. Oregon State Dedeaux Field 1:00 p.m.
BASEBALL ALUMNI MISSION STATEMENT… THE TROJAN SPIRIT
Keep former players connected
Communicate news on USC, Trojan baseball and matters of interest
Preserve & promote our legacy and traditions