Friday, June 18, 2021

My Nemesis

For the first time in like 45 years, the name of my childhood trombone nemesis suddenly flashed into my head. So I googled him, and found that he's still playing, though he moved out of New York in the late 80s. I found his bio online, and its high point is the student band he beat me out for in high school. That band remains, all these years later, the apotheosis of his musical life. If only I could go back in time and inform my 14-year-old self. Or, really, any kid with a nemesis.
I supposed this is the trombone version of the high school football star who spends the rest of his life nursing bygone memories of glory
When I got a little older, and made my way through college and grad school, I came to realize it was all dress rehearsal. My grades, and my teachers' esteem, and which band I got placed in...none of it mattered in the big picture. I was there to get better, not to be King of School (actually, at age 58, come to think of it, I'm still here to get better, not trying to be King of...whatever this is). But in high school, it still mattered. Not making the cut for that student band was a big deal. Maybe my last truly big deal (subsequent denials and failings hurt aplenty, but I recognized other good stuff would happen if I just kept going).

So here's the kicker. After chuckling at the irony of his bio, I found a video, and discovered that he plays really well in the little gigs he's doing out there. Not daunting; not some kind of hotshot; just real good. I like him and respect him. My kind of player.

1 comment:

fbj said...

I love this story, Jim.


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