Thursday, August 05, 2010
Shirtless and marching to his own drummer on the UW-Madison campus
T and I were taking a walk along the lakeshore path of the UW-Madison campus last week. It was one of those impossibly hot, muggy days, relieved only by the whisper of a light, misty rain that was starting to fall. At first we weren't sure what we were seeing when we passed this young man, who just kept repeating these moves. But then we realized this was the UW Marching Band's practice field and that he was a drum major perfecting his moves.
There was something surreal about the way he was so totally immersed in his own world, oblivious to the pedestrians, runners and motor vehicles going by (as they were oblivious to him). The more we watched, the more impressed we were by his solitary focus and dedication. He stood in for all the performers and athletes everywhere whose effortless performances are the result of hours and hours and hours of dedicated practice. His concentration was contagious. Although he was wearing none of the usual drum major regalia, we could hear the booming of the bass drums, the blaring of the brass instruments, the rhythmic tempo of the march, and by the time he reached the other end of the field, we had imagined an entire stadium filled with tens of thousands of people. As he took his bow, the applause was thunderous. We hoped he heard it.