Sunday, December 05, 2010

Five Lessons Learned from a Life in Drum Corps

As I reflect back on my many years in drum corps, I learned that...

1) As bad as things seem right now, the sun will still rise tomorrow. 

Coming in 13th in prelims really sucks for an age out, especially when you're in a corps that was consistently placing between 7th and 10th in big shows. Doing a show to determine the "Associate" Champion right after missing finals by a few tenths of a point is really brutal, and knocking it out of the park with a show that would have placed 7th the next night isn't much of a consolation.

The reality however, really struck me the next morning when I woke up on the gym floor and saw the sun coming through the windows on the far wall. As bad as I felt the night before (it was devastating, like the world was coming to an end), life went on. The sun came up and time continued to move forward. Nothing that I was going to do or say was going to change the day before. I had a choice, I could either stew in it and be miserable, or just move on with my life. I chose the latter and am better for it to this day.

2) Don't isolate yourself from the rest of the corps by sleeping in a short dead-end hallway off the main gym floor is a bad idea when you're a snorer.

I had a tendency to separate myself from the corps from time to time. Whether it was when we were bedding down in a gym, or driving by myself to or from shows when I was in a senior corps. What I realized is that I didn't give myself the opportunity to get to really know others as well as I could have. Don't get me wrong I have some extraordinary friendships that remain to this day, but I have to wonder how much richer these relationships could have been.

As for sleeping in a hallway when you snore, lets just say that waking up with a sock stuffed in you're mouth is not the best way to start the day.

3) Nobody cares that you're sore, tired or hungry. They are too. Get over it! 

There's not a lot to say here. As tired and grumpy as you might be, telling everyone isn't going to get you any sympathy. Chances are pretty good that they're tired too. Whining doesn't make it any better and in-fact makes it worse. Forget that you ache, and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Its much more rewarding.

4) Share your passion for drum corps (or whatever else lights you up) with everyone you meet. 

Don't be obnoxious, but let people know about the things that make a difference in your life. If you're passionate, they might take an interest and we gain a new fan. If they're not interested, no harm, no foul.

Years ago, I was researching Word of Mouth marketing for an article for DCI Today about sharing the drum corps experience. What struck me was how effective and cost effective this is to grow or reconnect the fan base. I'll dig through my archives and see if I can find it and post it here at Odd's and Ed's.

5) And finally. Don't finish a 1.5L bottle of gin with four friends the night before a show!

It leads to a bus ride totally unremembered, brutal calisthenics the next morning, a horrible headache during warm-ups and a two day hangover. (NOTE: I was over 21 and in a senior corps at the time.) I really don't think its necessary to elaborate, but if you'd like the full story, buy me a beer after a show next summer. (when I don't have to drive of course).

Friday, November 05, 2010

Eight Ways Drum Corps Could Help You Survive a Zombie Outbreak

Here's the lead...

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind where you're being chased down the street by a group of crazed zombies, ready to munch on your brains for a post show snack. And then it happens, your years of drum corps training kick-in and you're taking 'em down faster than a pile up of contras on the front hash at the 35 yard line.

Here are the Eight Ways Drum Corps Could Help You Survive a Zombie Outbreak.

You write the rest...

Let your thoughts flow in the comments below!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Are we there yet...

Why does the return trip always seem shorter than the original journey?

Have you ever noticed that on a long trip it always seems to take less time to return home that it did to get to your destination. Could it be that it already seems familiar. That its no longer an adventure. Or is it that we just can't wait to arrive, and when we get there, destination reached, we're pretty much ready to go home now.

Isn't this how we so often go through life. When we're a kid, we can't wait for the next day, and they always seemed to last forever. When we got there, we couldn't wait for the next day and the next and the next. Time seemed to take forever. But as we grow older, as we arrive at these various points in time, we look back and can't wait to get back to where we've been. And in the process time seems to move much, much faster. It's not that time actually moves faster, but having lost our ability to look forward in anticipation of the unexpected, when we can only look back, its familiarity plays tricks on us. Change is so slow that we don't realize it until we look back and ask where did the time go.

I know this has been my life. I'm really just beginning to realize the need to savor the moment with an eye on the future and while the past is there to learn from, its no place to live. I can't wait for tomorrow and the adventures it brings. And when I get there I can't wait to take in every moment, no matter how small. And finally, if you see me not savoring the moment, feel free to call me on it and kick me in the behind.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Moving from dreams to making a difference

I've been in a real funk a good chunk of the past umpteen years. I've always considered myself to be a dreamer and that made it okay to not always complete what I started since my forte was dreaming and not building. 
I realized tonight that my most special moments, those that really lit me up were the moments where I made a real contribution. Dreams are not contributions until they get built and become reality.  
Christina's always been on board, but I have been too stubborn to listen or to take on a dream builder. I pledge to make that change tonight. Any other builders out there up for helping us turn some of those great ideas into a better world. Drop me a note at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Could this be the future of touring drum corps housing

I came across a website a while back while doing some research on new trends. It's for a company that provides mobile bunkhouses for remote job sites.

Could this be the future of touring drum corps housing? Probably not practical now, but who knows, one day it might be more cost effective than staying in schools.

Short term however, this might be a good way to open up far more non-traditional housing sites without showers or restrooms.

For the more details check it out at