Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff


with 3 comments

You give up everything to test your limits. And when you’re done you discover you don’t have any.

Drum Corps do that to you.

You abandon your individuality for the collective good of the Corps. You sacrifice your youth for that one elusive prize.

Drive, sweat, execution, endless repetition, exhausting rehearsals, impatient instructors, long bus trips, little sleep, the relief of that last note, the anxiety of the retreat, all that and more are gladly tolerated, no, welcomed if it leads to victory. Perseverance, determination and resistance in the face of defeat; overcoming disappointment, moving on and moving up when you’re constantly finishing second, third or worse…that’s what makes you strong.

It comes from sharing a singular goal with dozens of like-minded friends. Every one of them has the same purpose…excellence…perfection. And throughout the entire process, the intensity of it all bores into your brain and you don’t even feel the pain.

I relived it all last weekend. Everything flashed in front of my eyes in delirious déjà vu at the DCA National Championships.

The talented musicians on the field were head and shoulders above anything we did back in the day. The maneuvering was more intricate and demanding. The sidestepping drum lines were brilliant, aggressive and loaded with attitude. Having once been on that field, I felt their excitement, their concentration, and their exhaustion. I knew them all, but I was glad I wasn’t one of them.

This was my life many years ago. A life I reluctantly let go because the real world was waiting for me. Still I brought the life lessons of the Corps with me as I stepped boldly into career, family and the competition of  the business world.

Drum Corps taught me how to work with others – how to win – how to be humble in victory. It gave me a taste of success…a taste I could never forget.

Yes…Drum Corps demand everything you’ve got. And, at the end of it all, you emerge, like a butterfly from a chrysalis, someone different…a champion, and better yet…a better person because you know what it is to struggle for what you believe in.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

September 13, 2009 at 5:19 PM

3 Responses

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  1. I knew you used to be in a marching band….
    but somehow it didn’t occur to me that you would have played a musical instrument! Arrgh! Now that I have been reminded, what else would one do in a marching band?
    And does this article mean that you just watched or did you play again this last time out?


    September 14, 2009 at 7:17 PM

  2. Any chance this was the DeLaSalle Drum and Bugle Corps? I may have seen you. There was a time in my life when most weekends were spent watching the corps practice or perform.
    Anyway, I wanted to give you the information about Sanagan’s Meat Locker. Facebook fan page at
    Talk soon,

    Pat Sanagan

    November 7, 2009 at 12:23 AM

  3. Thanks Ed for introducing me to your blog. After a quick browse of your site I zeroed in on the Drum Corps segment cuz of our common attachement to the Toronto Optimists. Of course you preceeded me. I joined in 1963 and exited in 1973.

    I look for to further visit to this site. Thanks for the e-mail that prompted this exchange!

    Paul Thompson

    February 4, 2010 at 6:01 PM

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