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I Brought Pickleball to the Superbowl

Last updated on October 2nd, 2023 at 01:26 am

After losing 35 lbs playing pickleball, Brad Cousino, former NFL Player and current Pickleball Ambassador, brought the game to the Superbowl!  

Brad shares his inspiring story of growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional family and defying the odds by making it into the NFL. After retiring from football, he found community and purpose in pickleball. 

He has become a pickleball enthusiast, spreading the word about the sport and making countless friends and connections. Listen in to hear his amazing story…




you will love pickleball if you’ve ever hit a ping pong ball a tennis ball a

badminton if you ever hit a baseball bat uh you know like any of those kinds of things that’s hand-eye coordination and

if you can do that then you can figure this out and have fun just do it with other people at the same level at you hi

I’m Crystal Brown your host after losing 35 pounds playing pickleball Brad Cousino former NFL player and current

pickleball Ambassador brought the game to the Super Bowl he shares his inspiring story of growing up in an

abusive and dysfunctional family and making it all the way to the NFL he’s become a pickleball Enthusiast spreading

the word about the sport and making countless friends and connections along the way listen in to hear His Amazing

Story welcome to Simply pickleball the podcast where we discuss all things

pickleball the fastest growing sport in America and around the world we’re interviewing the founders industry

leaders athletes lovers of the sport that are driving the spectacular growth if you love pickleball as much as we do

listen in okay Brad Cousino thank you so much for

agreeing to talk to me today about pickleball but before we get to pickleball I really you have such a

fascinating story kind of a rags to riches story and also uh your story with pickleball is super fascinating so let’s

just start with when you were young and what sports meant to you and and what thread it’s been in your life okay well

um I came from a really dysfunctional home and uh in in that whole process uh

my parents had to get married because of me when I was and uh when they were 15 and 16 years old I never had a lot of uh uh

love given to me except when I did well in sports when I was the hero of the Little League

game or the star of the football uh uh Pop Warner League or whatever my parents

just seemed nicer to me that day I didn’t understand why at the time now I do all the parents you know when you’re

the one that’s made the your son’s the one that’s made the home run the Atta boys are going on Pat’s on the back

that’s all occurring it was happening on the sideline they didn’t wear out but they were just nicer to me on those days

and so that sort of fed me to keep wanting to be the star you know even though I was a little guy I wasn’t

supposed to make it and uh so so that became a very important part of my

earlier life and uh then it it occurred when I was in high school the same thing you know if I

was the star so I was a All-City all League all district and football and baseball and hockey and I and I was a

very good wrestler and um so that became uh sort of part of

my uh personality if you would uh that’s why I got my ego stroking I didn’t get it from my parents telling me that they

love me just because I was Brad uh it was because I was the star of their of the baseball team or whatever the case

might be so how did you sort of figure out that it was a path to college or you know you know that you were going to

take what you were doing in high school and get to College through Sports it didn’t happen that way uh I basically my

dad worked in a glass factory my mom was a rageaholic my dad was an alcoholic and

as a result of that I just wanted to break out of that that prison that I was in and I felt that college would be the

way to do it we had no money zero money my parents never even had a savings account

and uh so I thought well maybe football and I could be a uh get a scholarship

well I got turned down from about 25 different colleges they said I was too short too slow too small Ohio State

Michigan uh the Mid-American schools University of Toledo Bowling Green even

Ashland colleagues are some of those really small ones I I’m feeling sorry for myself I basically said I gotta do

something and so in this winner of my senior year I sat down and hand wrote 25

letters to all the coaches that were within a 200 mile radius of Toledo Ohio

begging for a scholarship there was no scholarships I followed up with phone

calls to all the coaches and and all I got most the time was uh secretary saying can I take a message

one coach responded back uh coach Bob rublin from Miami University Miami of

Ohio and he said Brad that’s a pretty daring thing you did to write back to us and

ask for a scholarship even though we’ve already turned you down and they said but we saw your video your

film and we liked what we saw but and I said was there any scholarships and they

go no scholarships but we have an alumni that works in the Toledo area that thinks he can get you a decent paying

job and at that point in time I had no other Alternatives I said I’ll do whatever coach and and that summer I worked

cleaning out sewers storm sewers underneath the highway of Toledo Ohio I-75 digging out all the crap out of the

sewer systems got paid four dollars and fifty cents an hour and that’s how I paid for my first quarter of school at

Miami University I was a non-scholarship walk-on uh like a Rudy I was a Rudy uh

and I except I ended up doing some better things than what Rudy did right

that that movie if hopefully people have seen it that’s really an inspiring story so you so you walked on and

um did you start doing well were you playing well did you feel I was on the scout team and uh you know at that level

that was right before uh freshmen were ineligible to play on The Varsity so

that was my the last year and so the scout team was the team that they practice against and they were bigger

stronger faster than all of us we were a small little Rook you know uh uh freshman walk uh freshman but one day

one of the key people on the freshman team went AWOL he had a bad practice he

went back to the locker room packed up all of his bags and gave and drove four

hours Home didn’t tell the coaches didn’t tell anybody gave up a full scholarship now I’m sitting there

figuring out how I’m going to pay for my second quarter of school so that afternoon at practice they called for

the scout team and he was the stud of the scout team and they go where’s where’s Thompson at and I I

uh everybody said coach he quit and they didn’t know it and so I said they said maybe we need a middle Garden here right

now so I jumped in there now a middle car is usually 230 240 I was 192. I was

511 way way too small the coaches said cousin get out there you’re going to get killed I said I can do it coach and then

they basically said in so many words well we’re gonna have a No Mercy given and and I responded back and not a nun

taken either you know and so so what what ended up happening was on the first play I made the tackle on the second

play they ran another play I mean I made that tackle now all the varsity guys are

mad at me because I was showing them up in front of the coaches and they’re the starting team and I’m a number a nobody

through the long and short of it is by the end of practice I have made so many tackles that the they made the varsity

offensive line run extra Sprints after practice now you can imagine how well

liked I was you know in in the locker room that was the beginning and from

there it was a war every day I like and but the law and Sherman is by the time summer ball was over they gave me a

partial scholarship during this uh winter uh I I was given a full ride

because they saw that I was doing even I was very small wasn’t supposed to be able to do it I just had this huge heart

I had to get a scholarship fighting in a scholarship I was going to be back home with my parents uh living in Point Place

Ohio amazing I mean that kind of ambition and drive that you that you have is pretty amazing and then to take

it to the NFL right like you you could have stopped there you could have decided I’m going to play college ball and you know go on and get a job but you

didn’t my college career was I just so happened that when I was there we had the longest winning streak in the

country we beat teams like Florida Georgia Purdue South Carolina and I was quote the stud of the defense

again 511 195 pounds I just would not be denied I was very quick and I was mean

as a snake even though I was like really small because that’s how I had to survived I needed you know to be able to

do that so I I became an All-American I was the most memorable player of the league for two years in a row the best

defensive player in the Mid-American Conference they draft 442 football players two basketball players they

drafted two guys that never played one down of college football and I didn’t get drafted because they said I was too

small too short too slow Etc Paul Brown is a living legend he started this

Cleveland Browns and then also the Cincinnati Bengals he was the head coach and he was also an alumni from Miami so

he’d been following my career and he’s in Cincinnati Oxford is about 45 minutes

from Cincinnati and so he was following it and called me up and he says Brad you should have been drafted we’d like to

know if you’d like to try out for us as a free agent free agent wasn’t a good deal back then not compared to what it

is today and he says all I promise you is is that I’ll give you a fair shot and

that’s all I can ask for it and that’s all I ever wanted it was a fair shot long and short of it is I ended up

making the team I was the only free agent that year that made it in the NFL I was the specialist on special teams

and I was a backup linebacker but I led the the NFL in tackles block kicks

fumble recoveries anything on that as this little this little guy never made a lot of money but I made three times more

than my dad ever made in a year in six months so my dad made the most he ever made in the year was eleven thousand

dollars my rookie year including a playoff money and everything else was about 32 000 and so I was having fun I

loved it I was a big man on campus in Miami and now I was a stud and and kind of so yeah it was it was good stuff was

good well it’s interesting that parallel with some of the early pickleball Pros now that they’re you know only earning

maybe thirty thousand dollars a year in current times and they can’t they you know they have to do other things so you

know early NFL players as well that’s really interesting so you know I wanna your story is so fantastic

um and you wrote a book about it which I want you to share with the audience what inspired you to write that book and

maybe you can show us the book we’ll definitely have it in the show Notes too this is the book unwanted unworthy

Unshackled unwanted by my parents unworthy as they were beating me and I got beat practically every day I was

told I was no good I was a bum I would never amount to anything and then Unshackled is when I stopped believing

the lies the lies that was being you know uh rained down on me from my parents and my parents you know my my

parents are have both since passed they just came from a dysfunctional family they were just responding out of the way

that they were raised they didn’t know any better so I don’t hold any animosity towards them

um I wish it can happen that way but it is what it is everybody loves an Underdog Story and I have an Underdog

Story and so I got started to be an asked to speak to different groups so sometimes our small groups the most that

I never spoken to was in front of 4 500 people at a time a lot of times it would be three four five hundred people or it

could be sometimes as little as 10 people you know I just speak to a football team or something like that my

story is compelling and it’s true and as a result of that one I I would talk one

place and the coaches would Rave about it and they talk to their friends and then more people wanted me to come and

speak and so I’ve done I’ve done that quite a bit and so part of my story is the way that I was raised and brought up

and that you don’t have to believe the things that you’re being told you are better than that you can do whatever you

want you can do much more than what you think that you can if you don’t quit and you believe that you can do it right and

one of the things we talked about uh when we first met was about Generations trying to do better than the you know we

only evolved so much and so you know you sharing this in your book hopefully will inspire someone out there maybe many

people out there that are thinking about um what they can do to change their situation or what determination will do

to just keep you going fast forward a little bit got the opportunity from the NFL alumni or you’re involved with the

NFL alumni and they somehow knew you were into pickleball can you explain that relationship between NFL and

pickleball a number of years ago I was the president for the NFL alumni the Cincinnati chapter you know uh like that

and so I was talking to one of the bigwigs at the NFL alumni and I I was

just telling them about I had lost 35 pounds just playing pickleball I’d only been

playing pickleball maybe about 10 12 months I didn’t really know what pickleball was somebody said you know

what pickleball I said what’s that I play racquetball so I didn’t really know about what pickleball was all about and

I started uh looking at people doing it and I saw oh this looks fun let me go there and I’ll try it and I had this

lady that was about 70 years old show me how to play the game in the first time

you know and I’m sitting there going I I don’t understand all this but it’s sort of fun and so I played again and then

again and then again and then I I competitive as I am uh it was a good

resource that way but I started noticing that as I was playing I was playing two

two and a half hours a day kovid was going on at the time so we had a private Court in my uh Condo Association that I

belong with so we started utilizing that and I started losing all this weight

wasn’t trying to lose weight I I wasn’t sitting there you know thinking okay I gotta I was just losing it and then I

found out that pickleball is a great lifetime Sport and when I say lifetime

sport I mean I was playing against people that were 75 and 80.

and I was playing with people that were 25 and 30 and I was winning against both

of them and I was getting beat by both of them you know just depending on who I was playing and and that was very

intriguing to me you know and as you know I’m 70 years old and I want to be

as active as I possibly can and I play in tournaments and I’m I’m having a

great time about a 4-0 player um you know and having fun but also

recognizing all the interaction it’s very it’s a great social Sport and as we

get older most people start losing their friends either because they’ve moved out they’ve been closer to the grandkids uh

you know death whatever and that’s one of the problems as people get older they become isolated pickleball stops all

that if you get involved with pickleball you are going to have friends and a case in point about eight nine months ago I

had my left hip replaced and in getting that hip replaced I had

all kinds of people that I knew for only a couple of months through pickleball calling me up and saying Brad how you

doing is there anything we can do to help it was unheard of I didn’t have my foot my football playing friends didn’t

call me it was the pickleball community that reached out as a social I mean I I

was shocked by it yes pickleballers are the best they’re just the best but so when you say lifetime sport

um what would that mean to you and you know like you said there’s people that are playing in their 20s they’re youth

playing but even when you said the NFL was interested in it from a lot you know as a lifetime sport how would you define

that what does that mean what ended up happening was is I was telling them what I thought about it being a lifetime

sport a couple weeks later I get a phone call from the president from the NFL alumni and basically telling me and

saying Brad we’d like for you to introduce pickleball to our former players at the at the Super Bowl this

year we put together a programming like that and not just for the football players but also for the fan base

most of the time when you’re a former NFL player you are a local hero in your

hometown people that know you so you get invited to all the golf outings and all

of the charitable events and so you write in a email card you hit some balls

you drink some beer you have some cigars and then you have big meals and then they wonder why they gained 40 pounds

you know because they’ve stopped doing the exercise part and that was what I

saw real quick was this is something that I can do have fun see I’ve never ever yet played pickleball where I said

gosh darn it I gotta go out and play Pickleball today now I did I do that when I got to go out and run five miles

I do that when I’ve got to do something you know like this like well I’m gonna go on a fast you know for the week or

whatever okay that’s not fun pickleball’s fun and it’s also

competitive and it’s also got a strategy to it there’s all kinds of things that’s interplaying there which makes us human

beings better I don’t know how other people can do it but I will just tell you is I know that I’m a better

person physically as a result of pickleball not because I’m trying to be

a a pro just by playing and interfacing with people maybe you will be a pro we

don’t know yet well happy my goal right now is I want to be in the Senior

Olympics that’s amazing you know and so I you know I think there’s an opportunity because of its age-based

things like that I will but it doesn’t matter I’m still gonna have fun we’re still gonna go out there and do it so I

think you’re right I think people it’s the opposite of feeling like they don’t want to be at the you know they have to

get their exercise in for the day it’s the other way around it’s usually like oh my God I have to stop playing and you know I gotta get home I have to get

ready for dinner you know my spouse is waiting for me so I completely agree that uh at least that happens for us do

you want me to show you in this yes I want to see that so wow that’s so awesome this is this is one of the things that I

was given when I went to the Super Bowl uh this last year and we were putting on

clinics and things like that and somebody had this made up the NFL alumni and then the legends of basketball so I

have a friend that’s a former NBA player and his name’s Ronnie gradison and myself we were the ones that went to

Phoenix to show people about pickleball and so we had the fan base and like this we had NFL players against NBA players a

lot of former players in both the NFL and NBA are picking up pickleball yes and and some of them are even buying

teams and investing in teams right so at the Super Bowl did they have court set

up and could anyone play on them we we had uh a University of Arizona State

University we were able to use some of their facilities they were part of the the host uh uh for the the event so we

were inside we really couldn’t get anything outside because to have that big of a space

um like so we went inside and do to a gym and we had uh five six quarts that

was set up we taped it all off like that and then we did clinics we did clinics for the for kids for high schoolers for

uh adults um we we did a number of different things as a way to be able to give back

to the community but to get a paddle in people’s hand and have them have fun and learn and it was unbelievable and people

that didn’t know nothing about pickleball by the time the hour hour and a half two hours was over they were saying I want to do this again they were

they had a blast it was fun and all you got to do is get it over the net a few times you think you’re a superstar I

know it’s so true people really and then they just their desire to learn the strategy or you know pointers and tips

so do you think that the NFL will continue to make this kind of a priority to for their alumni and I I I I think

they would like to um our biggest uh situation that we’ve got to do is that you know if you’re

dealing if you’re dealing with the NFL and the NFL alumni they’re very uh

careful of their brand and things like that and part of the issue that we found

was that they wanted to sort of tell us no way too much on things that we said

we should do this we should they didn’t want the exposure they didn’t want somebody tripping and falling and

because it was an NFL so we have NFL alumni wellness program which is another

entity but it’s the wellness program is the umbrella when I still the NFL alumni was Wellness so yes we will Ronnie

myself and some others are going to be involved in doing things at that kind of level we’re we’re talking about doing a

series of events around the country utilizing pickleball former professional athletes with fans and being able that

they could be able to play with a former player have little mini tournaments things like that with the net funds

going to charities in the local community do you think you know for you football helped you get a college

education and it helped get you out of a situation that you really desperately wanted to leave do you see that for

pickleball also you know there’s a lot of rising stars right now there’s a lot of interest in the sport and just

recently major league and minor league do you think that it’ll be a Collegiate sport soon well there’s a number of

colleges that it is a Collegiate sport you know I believe believe that’s going to be in the Olympics even though it’s

been around what do they say in Seattle it started in Seattle uh how many years ago I think they say 40 years ago like

that but it’s just been the last couple years that it’s just started to explode and now people are putting courts in

their backyards instead of pools um and I’ve got a number of friends that have done that and because of TV

exposure and as more money gets into it more and more people think about it the best female player in the world is what

18 or 19 years old she’s 16 years old 16 years old and and the best guy is what

21 22 you know uh John’s um so it’s definitely going to grow

because one of the fans that play it much bigger than than tennis when you

think about tennis you got to be good to have fun in tennis otherwise you’re chasing the ball all the time you know

whereas here you can be good right away and when I say good it’s all relative I

mean everybody starts in the beginning so at the beginning everybody starts like that a good player like me isn’t

going to have fun playing with a beginner at the same time is I can play with the beginner and work on certain

shots of mine while I’m playing with them they don’t even know that all I’m doing is practicing right now

that’s exactly right you’re practicing your drop shot I I totally agree I I do

think it will be an Olympic sport um and I’m just interested in you know I

think it’s one of the only sports that you can play um where any demographic can play

against each other right men versus women you have different age ranges um and it’s really about your skill

rather than your just your raw strength I mean yeah I I would just tell you that

from my perspective is that’s one of the beautiful things about it you can have mixed doubles and have a great time fun

competitive things you know like that and and men’s and you can have the women’s and it’s a great sport that way and

there’s many women that can clean my clock because they’re better because right now

they’re better you know there are four five they’re a 5-0 you know they they’re smart players okay that doesn’t like

that that just encourages me to say I just need to practice more I just need to do you know things like that yeah I

was at the courts not long ago and this 14 year old uh scrawny little kid came up and he just toasted us and we really

felt you know humbled when we left the court that day his dad was there I think he was pretty proud of him actually uh

but I do think that um you know I was a college athlete and it definitely helped me get into school

and help me stay motivated I think having more sports that are available to

more more players is great and I think this is a very you know neutral common denominator right you don’t have to be

super wealthy to have access to a pickleball court or a paddle whereas you know with swimming which is what I did

you need a pool and you need to know how to swim and football is it takes a certain kind of May maybe not in all

cases but it takes like strength and size and grit that not you know well the thing about football is and I know this

because I’ve I’ve taught all my kids in Little League football all the way up and like that um you gotta enjoy the contact if you’re

gonna play football you got and there’s some people that just don’t enjoy the contact you can have all the greatest

equipment you know like this but you still got to put your head in there and you’re gonna like and that’s okay there’s lots of times I started coaching

kids that they were they were big kids but they’ve always been told because they’re so big they have to ratchet it

down and it sometimes took you know two three weeks before it clicked in their

head it’s okay to hit somebody you know because because they’ve always been told no you’re too big you can’t do that so

you gotta have you gotta like that aspect of the game otherwise you’re you’re like that but that’s okay but

there’s but what’s so neat about football uh like is that different size

people can play different position to your wide receiver quarterback running back offensive line you don’t have to

sit there and be everything you can specialize in that and that’s that’s got the benefits of that pickleball I think

is the same way in the sense that yeah because of the way they got their their

grading system 3035 4045 age brackets at the bigger tournaments it’s sort of yeah

you can still have fun and I just played in a major uh that was in Cincinnati a major uh PPL I think it’s PPL or PPA I

forget last week or two weeks ago and I was playing in the oh 60 plus bracket at

the 4-0 level okay all right there are still good players there you know and like that I wouldn’t have been able to

compete against a 25 year old at the 4-0 level because they can get to shots that I know I couldn’t get to them it’s true

and exactly like recreationally it might be fun to play against someone but when you’re talking about at the tournament

level I think it is good that they have ages just because there’s a just natural young younger players can

move around in a way that we might not want to I tell people this I says you know um I know that my spirit is Young

my body not so much and we got to move that body around so

if you could sort of paint a picture of what pickleball would look like for you know in the next few years and you know

if you could if you if you had free reign to bring it to alumni of football or other sports you know what what are

the things that you hope happen and while you’re thinking about that it’s just it’s just to say that it’s really interesting how many like I said

professional athletes have invested in teams clearly they see it growing but you know where do you hope the sport

goes and I I think what’s going to end up that will end up happening is and I’m seeing it happen right now is that any

former athlete doesn’t have to be a pro athlete it could be a former college player it could be a former uh high

school player there’s something about being on a team and being involved

that’s part of your DNA that you like that that feels good and so some people

try to do it with golf well the problem with golf is is that it’s got the same

it’s not the same kind of a a sport as compared to a team sport or something

like that and I love a team sport team sport being the fact is is that everybody’s got to be on the same page

you’ll be able to do that well pickleball if you’re a good doubles team that’s a team and there’s a strategy to

be able to do it and do it properly and I love that because every time you play somebody it’s a different strategy based

upon who you’re playing you know in in the mixed doubles you know you’re you’re thinking well I’m going to go to the

I’ll go to the female because that’s typically what ends up happening you know like however the female is could it

be very much the better player right right you know it just just as strategy wise and things like that people just

don’t recognize that yeah you know we um the new MLP format where they have two

men two women and that’s the team I love that I love that and they have the the

um dream breaker too so for those that are listening what I think is interesting about what you’re saying is

really they are a team right so the the DC pickleball team is a team and and

you’re competing and they’re really rooting for each other even though individually the men are playing against the men the women women the mixed

doubles but it’s a team it all comes to a team score and the fans love that yeah

they love to be looked behind behind that see I believe that that will continue to grow the sport will continue

to grow I think mentally um uh you know as socially all those

positive things are going to go the big thing that a lot of people just need to understand because I talked to some doctors and they go well we like Piccolo

because we get a lot of a lot of patience and the reality of it is they probably do because people are just picking it up with no uh concept of the

fact is it looks so simple that it’s easy to spray it an ankle it’s easy to fall down if you don’t know what you’re

doing and and so it’s like anything else you need to have some abilities to be

able to one uh go backwards you know and or or let it go and not try to go out

right right and yeah and the right equipment and the right preparation for the for the sport but I mean if anything

because we’re increasing the number of players maybe maybe percentage-wise it’s

the same as if they were playing something else I don’t know I do you think that that it will fade out like

you know racquetball has become less popular or do you think it just is going to explode

um and you know globally and nationally racquetball was never as big as

pickleball is right now neither was tennis I mean when I say big in the

sense that you’ve got Rank and file people going out and you can go to any area where they’ve taken tennis courts

that have been sitting empty they convert them to pickleball courts and all of a sudden now you’ve got 10 15 20

people ready to play whereas those courts were just sitting there alone

pickleballs very inexpensive to get into I mean you could literally work play with a 20 paddle you know you got you

know you don’t need fancy clothes you don’t need that some people have all those things but you don’t need it and

more and more courts are being built and that was like and the other aspect about the game is the sense that it’s very

very social so people are very open to new people coming in and participating

in their groups because that’s the nature of open pickleball you know you play a game and that’s going to continue

I think so and you know I I like to just underline that piece around social and

what you mean with with that that it’s there’s a lot of connection that happens um and people are so disconnected

especially after covet it was so much more obvious how disconnected everybody was and then pickleball is the complete

opposite right you you make friends you connect you know even the rituals of

touching paddles and introducing yourself um you know as I I’m just I think you’re

right to point out that and then also the what that means for longevity when you’re happy when you feel connected

when you feel seen well this has been awesome your story is really inspiring I

know we didn’t spend too much time on your story because hopefully everyone will go out and get your book and read

your book but you know I don’t want to gloss over the fact that you know growing up in the conditions that you

did and coming to where you are today and then still wanting to just promote Sports and what it did for you is really

admirable I know you mentioned uh that you’ve been married I think 45 years you said 46 years 46 years I’ve got four

great adult kids and 11 grand babies my grandkids um we broke the we broke the

generational chain of the alcohol and the family abuse and I say this with all

uh uh humility my kids have never heard me swear I used to cuss and curse and

swear all the time and what ended up happening was I was playing with the Chicago Bears

and I had a chip on my shoulder I got traded from the Cincinnati Bengals to the Chicago Bears and I wanted to play

middle linebacker and the coach said Brad this is the home of Dick Butkus dick buckus is a living

legend Dick Butkus was 245 pounds he was six foot three he ate glass that’s who

we want to be our middle linebacker and that’s not you and then it’ll never be you you’re 511

you’re maybe luckily now at 205 and uh in my arrogance and immaturity

I went to the coach as I was leaving I said coach either play me or trade me and the next day they waived me and my

and when that happened my whole world came crumbling down because I didn’t

have a great self-esteem coming from my home upbringing my self-esteem was based

upon who I was as a football player and when I was in college and in Pros I I was pretty good and I had pretty good

self-esteem as soon as literally within minutes of finding out that I was released my mom’s voice comes to my head

you’re no good you’re a bum you’ll never amount anything and that consumed me and

the fact so that I started reading all kinds of books trying to figure out what’s the matter with me because the reality of it is most football players

in the average uh time in the NFL is a little less than three years

there’s some that play a lot longer but most people because every year they got a draft and I just knew and so it was

through a whole series of circumstances which is in the book part of uh you know like this is that I started recognizing

wait a second I’ve been lied to I’m not a bum I’m I’m I I got a good heart I

don’t want to see people hurt and that became a catalyst to me where I had life-changing things happen and then I

became a much better human being and uh you know through through all that that

opened up doors and with my speaking uh and I do a lot of charity work uh why

because I believe that that’s one of the reasons I can tell my story and other people can benefit from it yeah yeah

that’s what’s so neat about it I don’t know it’s not up to me and with a book all you have to do if they if they read

it and I will tell you this book uh you’ll I can’t say when but I’ve had two

different groups approached me about turning it into a movie um it’s got all the characteristics to

be a great inspirational movie and I think it will be well because you all the characteristics to be very

because I think stories really can be inspiring and I also think that they need to be shared and that is how people

connect on story often storytelling and when you have a a story like yours

overcoming something really major I actually think what you just said is probably was a very pivotal moment which

is you know where where when you really get down to the bottom and you have to

look Inward and say like okay how do I want to live my life what are the things that are really important to me what are

the truths what are the untruths that I’ve been told I think that’s when Real Change happens and so I do I am glad

you’re telling that story I’m also glad you’re telling the story of pickleball and how it’s how you’ve lost weight how

you’ve gained friends how it’s sort of brought a new inspiration to you because I think there’s a lot of people out

there that are probably sitting there hearing and pickleball and thinking I don’t know it’s intimidating maybe I

need to be an NFL former player to play um in fact in fact

there’s a lot of guys that can’t go out there and play because they’ve had so many operations that they’ve got a lot

of those kind I never was I never missed a game when I played in college or Pro never had surgery my only surgeries was

five years ago I had my right hip replaced and a couple of months ago I had my left hip replaced so this is my only operations and they’re not football

related they’re just about life and I can just encourage everyone just to say

you will love pickleball if you’ve ever hit a ping pong ball a tennis ball a

badminton uh birdie if you ever hit a baseball bat uh you know like any of

those kinds of things that’s hand-eye coordination and if you can do that then you can figure this out and have fun

just do it with other people at the same level at you find someone that’ll show you teach you and then one you will love

it and and you will benefit health wise well maybe maybe your next job is going to be spokesperson for the Olympic

Committee um for fickle ball or maybe it’s uh but I agree um and I just you know again

really appreciate you coming on here and sharing your story and um let’s connect again when you are

getting to the Olympics uh the Senior Olympics you can find you can find this on Amazon

Barnes and Noble uh my under my name Cousino and or under unwanted unworthy

Unshackled great well I’m so glad you are Unshackled and that you did you shared your story and hopefully we’ll

get to Play Someday because I’ve heard those awesome courts in Cincinnati so if you’re ever in San Francisco otherwise

I’ll I’ll come I’ll come to Ohio it would be great it would be wonderful you will be partners I don’t know sound

like you might be better but I’m I’m willing I’m willing to try I’m willing to try all relative better is always relative

thanks and thank you to your audience I I hope you enjoyed it and have me back

we will and we’ll put all of the links in the show notes I hope everyone will subscribe to this podcast so that they

can hear more episodes and more Amazing Stories from pickleball players hey guys thanks for listening to Simply

pickleball we’ll be back very soon with great interviews discussions and more all about pickleball don’t forget to

subscribe to our channels on YouTube Twitter Instagram or any of your favorite podcasting Outlets until next

time happy thinking


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