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).

No comments: