Sunday, May 10, 2015

Why Ty Cobb? Performed 76 shows this year!

I retired from my photography career in 1997 after suffering a heart attack and had a double bypass. My wife Leah helped me to recuperate and get back to work. I photographed my last wedding in 2000 and wandered aimlessly for several years.  I sought a challenge in my life as I was going nowhere. I always had a love for baseball and and five years later, I started acting and fell in love with the theater. 

I was bored and needed a project, a task, something to challenge me, to test my ability, to prove to myself that I could accomplish something that I had never done before.  I was seventy and bored. I was on the road to no where. I found Cobb to be a fascinating character although  politically incorrect for our time. I saw a Cobb show  as a challenge. Would I be up for this task? Would I be able to finish what I started? Why not start and find out, I convinced myself.

I was a fan of Joseph Campbell, mythologist and writer who said, "if you follow your bliss, put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, the life that you ought to be living, is the one you are living. Wherever you are - if you follow your bliss,you are enjoying that refreshment that life within you, all the time". 

Who was Ty Cobb? During his twenty-four year career, he was an MVP, Triple crown-winner, twelve time batting champion, and was the first player elected into the new National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY in 1936 along with other greats: Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. He retired over eighty-five years ago but he is the all time leader in BAV with 367, second in runs scored, hits and triples, third in stolen bases and high up in many other categories. He is a fascinating and misunderstood man.

I believed he needed a modern press agent to debunk the many myths and falsehoods that have been told about him over the years. The man needed a break and I took on this task; and found my bliss.

Trading card, 1909
An actress friend from Pacifica, CA, Lynn Ruth Miller created her comedy show the same time I was writing my show. She suggested I contact the Rotary club in Pacifica as Rotary is always looking for speakers. She is now living in London, is a celebrity there as well as in Scotland. We both agreed it is never to late to start a new career.
Anything is possible, we believed. She is now 81and found her bliss in Scotland and London where she now lives and is loved by the hip London crowd.

I contacted the Rotary  and on January 2nd, 2007, I performed my first of seventy-six shows during the year. These were all rehearsals for what I believed would lead to stage shows around the country. These rehearsals allowed me to test my material and my ability to perform in front of live audiences. The club meets in the morning for breakfast at 7AM, and as much as I enjoyed performing, and as much as they loved my show, I vowed never ever again to perform in the morning. I don't think folk are awake and I am not quite awake myself.  
                                                                                                                                                                       I owe a lot to the President of the club, Mr. Steve Wright who was so impressed by my performance, he sent a letter to 17-18 local Rotary clubs saying, "I have heard over 1000 speakers...I can simply say that Norm Coleman is one of the most enjoyable presenters...definitely in the top ten!"
Steven A. Wright, President, Rotary Club - Pacifica, CA 
Trading card 1910

Two days later, I performed for the Rotary in Half Moon Bay, CA in addition to sixteen other Rotary clubs. Also, many Lions and Kiwanis clubs as well as many other groups. I honed my material and waited to see what 2008 would bring.

In early July, I added music between scenes and hired Mr. Clay Beatty, a creative young man to handle the music, staging and lighting.  He was competent on the computer and would later make flyers to promote shows and also took care of my website.

Fourteen months after the Pacifica show, March 2008, the Detroit Tigers hired me and sent me to Lakeland, Fl where the Tigers conduct spring training and I  performed the show for appreciative Tiger fans.

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