In My Words: Konerko keeps on learning

In My Words: Konerko keeps on learning

Baseball was my whole life since I was 12 years old, so I've been trying to reconnect with the world outside the game. That's been my point since I retired in 2014. When the opportunity presents itself to take a trip somewhere, or to learn something new, I'm going to take advantage of it.

For instance, we took a long trip to Italy. That's something I wouldn't have done before. Even in the offseason, I always kept it simple. There was no offseason. I slept and drank baseball all the time.

Italy was great. I got to learn some new things.

From a business sense, in the past, somebody would say, 'You should look at this.' I'd throw some money at it and see how it went. I'd be more passive. Now I'm looking at everything closely. I'm learning about real estate; we have a fitness business back home. It's requiring some time to be that person who's actually crunching things, vetting, making the decisions. I'm much more active in the money that's being invested.

During the last four or five years of my career, I made a point of trying to learn more about business, so I could be comfortable in that setting. But really, in some respects, it feels like being a rookie. The fact is, until you get into it, until you're sitting in that room with people, you have to earn your stripes again. I enjoy that. I don't mind being uncomfortable.

In regard to sports, hockey has become a big competitive outlet. I played hockey before I played baseball. I traveled to all-star games. I play with the same group of guys in organized pick-up games.

Konerko scores game-winning goal at Gretzky Fantasy Camp

The hands and the skating still are there, but I'm also 41 years old. I don't have the same jump as I used to have. I enjoy it and it keeps me in shape. Since I've retired, I usually choose to skate and play hockey before I choose to play golf.

Things also are busy at home. We have three kids, and they have activities all the time. I'm picking them up from school, taking them to soccer, skating, dance practices. I kind of feel like a cab driver, but it has been great being with them.

I still get back to the ballpark to be with the White Sox from time to time. It's nice to be there for a couple days and see some old faces. I certainly don't miss the game at all, but I do miss the people.

Konerko on White Sox future

Who knows, maybe I'll jump back in at some point and be a coach.

But for now, I'm really enjoying all the things I get to do since retiring. I'm fortunate I played for a long time and made good money in the game. I certainly can sit around and just play golf, if I want. But I feel, as a human being, if you're not putting yourself in some situations where you're learning, where you're growing in other areas, then you're not doing anything.

I'm only 41. Who knows? Maybe baseball isn't the best thing I do.

As told to Ed Sherman

Paul Konerko played first base for the Chicago White Sox for 16 years. He retired at the end of the 2014 season. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.