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Flaming Drumsticks

Sometimes I’m a stereotypical guy. Of the many great and illustrious things I’ve done in life (no hyperbole there, no no), one of the activities I had the most fun was marching band in high school. Over the decade since high school, I’ve told my wife some of the many fun times had during those years.

photocredit: flickr/mike_miley

But, I, um, on occasion, would exaggerate. Brady and I doing a trick with our hats on the field during the last game our senior year would turn into:

You should have seen it, honey. Our senior year. Last game of the season. The entire drumline was in on this awesome gig. We soaked the ends of our mallets and sticks in kerosene the night before the game. During the last song, we lit the sticks and had this awesome flaming stick routine. We were throwing sticks between each other during rests, spinning them. It was incredible. I don’t know if Andrew’s eyebrow ever grew back.

Alright, the exaggeration was never that bad, but I talked a good game about my percussion skills. As far as my wife knows (until she reads this post), I might well have been the best drummer living in Wichita Falls between 1996 and 2002.

The truth is I was good. I loved marching season, choose/assigned an instrument freshman year, loved it and purposely stayed on the same one (largest bass drum—bigger the better and heavier than a cow). No desire to move up to snare, quints or quads. Happy seeing myself as the de facto leader of the bass line. I was in band for marching season. I never actually tried to learn the audition music for varsity concert band, so I was that senior in JV band with a bunch of freshman and sophomores. Happy to be there. Had fun.

In short, I knew my part and knew it extremely well. But, I never had a great diversity of experience or pushed myself to be well-rounded percussively. My wife, though, had nothing else to go on besides my Al-from-Married-with-Children-style glory day talk.

Her school started a drumline this year. The performers, mostly, were new to drums. Good kids who just need time with a good instructor.

Wednesday, Vanessa comes home. “Oh, I almost forgot. You’re going to lead the drumline’s practice tomorrow.”

I did express interest in helping when the line formed, but I know I don’t have the knowledge nor the recent playing experience (null in nine years) to be the guy with the big baton.

Thankfully, Christian, a good friend, offered to help (at nearly 9 p.m. the night before!) and he’s much more knowledgeable than me. He functioned as the director while I took on the assistant’s chair. He’d lead most of the session and, when he needed to work with on something with a specific members, I kept the rest busy.

It worked out great and, both Christian and I had a great time. The kids appeared to enjoy and respond to us. We gave them permission to drum on everything everywhere as long as they didn’t annoy parents or their teachers and kept it still during Mass. I taught them half of the Waco cadence. Good day.

The take-away is clear: the seemingly impossible task will always fall to you. Leaders, in corporates, organizations or at home, plow through and figure it out. Especially as a parent, you’ll find yourselves in situations you never foresaw with a reaction required immediately. When we discovered, the hard way, Olivia’s allergy to milk, we had to act and not panic. Even when the nurse is giving you instructions on what to tell the 911 operator if she starts doing X, Y, or Z before you travel across town through 5 p.m. Friday traffic to Dell Children’s ER, don’t panic, just make it happen. Or that time that Olivia got sick and you had to… um, not all stories are Internet-friendly.

The other take-away, of course, is not to give your wife the impression that amazingly incredibly awesome at something if you’re only just awesome.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

2 replies on “Flaming Drumsticks

Hyperbole is the best thing ever! (I play pub trivia, and one of these weeks, that’s totally going to be our team name.)

Also, FYI, on the mobile version of your site, the fold over corner image with the RSS symbol blocks the top right corner of the comment box.

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