Former Kicker Credits "Tough Love" Psychiatrist For Successful Career

Former Kicker Credits "Tough Love" Psychiatrist For Successful Career

HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. - Famed cartoon icon and America’s favorite troubled little boy Charlie Brown has been a lot of things in life.

An aspiring football player, astronaut, and even a pirate, Brown long struggled to find what he was put on this earth for.

That was until he met famed psychiatrist Lucy Van Pelt in 1966.

In an exclusive interview with End of the Bench, Brown (now 55) opened up about his storied career and the motivation for achieving success across five decades, namely his time spent with Dr. Van Pelt. 

“She (Van Pelt) was a God-send honestly,” Brown said. “For years I thought she was tormenting me with that football when in reality, it was just tough love. All that did was motivate me to never give up, and that’s what I did.”

Peanuts fans will recall that Van Pelt would often “trick” Brown by pretending to hold the football so he could kick it, then at the last possible moment pull it away, often leaving Charlie on the ground grumbling in pain.

“I’m sure at the time he thought I was just being a jerk, but I had to get Charlie to a low point so he could realize just how hard he was going to have to work” Van Pelt said in a follow-up interview. “I mean he was really optimistic about his future aspirations as a professional football player, and sometimes you just need to be brought down to planet Earth.”

“Football didn't work out for him, but I think he ended up okay,” Van Pelt added with a chuckle. 

Brown would eventually give up football to go on to star in several television specials for the Peanuts franchise, eventually branching out into merchandise, video games, and live appearances across the globe.

The Peanuts franchise, now owned by Sony Music Entertainment, is valued at 16.1 billion dollars.

Not bad for a kid who used to whiff kicks. 

“It’s been a heck of a life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” Brown said. “Football didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but the rest of my life sure did. I can’t thank Lucy enough for that. She’s more than a doctor, she’s a lifelong friend.”
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