ARBOR OUTLOOK: Baryshnikov, Vivaldi and Vin Scully
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series on retirement.
“And I ain’t ever growin’ old …” — from “Rollin’ with the Flow,” as performed by Charlie Rich
Many a summer afternoon my husband would mow the yard and settle into a lounge chair by the pool with a ballgame on the radio. Still exhausted from the exertion and the heat and sipping a lemonade, occasionally he’d call me over to sit and listen to the broadcast if Vin Scully was handling the play-by-play.
I’d laugh and attempt to beg off, but knowing my fondness for ballet, he’d say, “Come on and listen. This guy’s the Baryshnikov of baseball announcers.” Funny thing. He was right. Three innings was about my limit, but in that short time, in addition to describing the action on the field, Scully was apt to mention a fondness for The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, drop a reference to a little known Shakespearian drama, or sprinkle an allusion to Rommel’s desert campaign in North Africa. Scully was a throwback to a time when Americans read (thank you) and valued information in concert with their entertainment. His pleasing voice weaved the fabric of the game, providing texture and backdrop and learned references throughout. Scully was erudite and intelligent without being pedagogic or arrogant, and he was an absolute joy to hear.
When Billy Chapel (played by Kevin Costner) pitched a perfect game in his last outing in “For Love of the Game” (yes, I was dragged to a baseball movie), it was Scully who was hired by Hollywood to broadcast the contest. “The cathedral that is Yankee Stadium belongs to a Chapel,” said Scully. Only he could pull off such a line, because it was the kind of metaphor he would have utilized in the actual broadcast booth.
What’s the point? Scully is retiring this year-at age 89. Harry Truman was president when he called his first game 67 years ago in 1950. And while Scully has worked only home games and limited his travel for some time now, there’s little doubt that his vocation has added to the length and quality of his life.
Mandatory retirement ends some working careers. Others of us retire due to health, or after a downsizing, or by choice. Some of us are just plain ready. But many still want to work. And it’s a mistake to retire simply because we think at our age it’s the appropriate action.
A recent Wall Street Journal article says statistics now reveal that people who retire after age 65 are living longer. Working longer, in many cases, is not only financially rewarding, it offers meaningful activity and socialization opportunities that can’t be garnered elsewhere. Folks with lots of experience can still contribute successfully to the workplace, and benefit themselves simultaneously, even if we don’t sound like Vin.
Margaret R. McDowell, ChFC, AIF, author of the syndicated economic column Arbor Outlook, is the founder of Arbor Wealth Management, LLC, (850-608-6121 — www.arborwealth.net), a “fee-only” registered investment advisory firm located near Sandestin.