June 09, 2008

Navel gazer

Nice navel!I was thinking the other day about the old adage, “No one ever says on their deathbed, ‘Gee, I wish I had worked harder.'”

I wonder if that can be applied to piping and drumming. Do pipers and drummers ever sit there when they’ve retired from the game and think, “Jings, I wish I had practiced more and spent more nights and days and weekends with the band.”

I have met a lot of players who left family behind every weekend and several nights a week for scores or years while they went out to seek their self-centred goals of competition glory. They seem downright wistful when they talk about how their kids grew up and moved out of the house before they knew it.

It’s a huge quandary for many people. For those who have families, who want to pursue their hobby while at the same time being there for the spouse and kids, the best, and perhaps only, solution is to get them involved in the hobby. This strategy works well when the spouse is also a piper or drummer, but, if not, it generally doesn’t work.

I sometimes mistakenly fancy that the practice time that I gave up after “retiring” from solo competition has been committed totally to family. Truth is, I replaced much of that time with working on your pipes|drums, keyboarding away in the basement office, on the deck, in the kitchen, wherever and whenever I can.

Does our hobby / avocation / affliction attract a peculiarly self-centred personality-type? And, if so, are non-self-centred people destined not to be as good at piping and drumming as those who are?


  1. When I moved to Toronto from Trout Creek I did it in order to play bagpipes with the Toronto Police Pipe Band as well as get more regular lessons for solos, it never occurred to me that after 8 or 9 years I would have left the pipe band, stop playing solos and devote my time to work and family.

    I am happy about this move and the out come. Now that I am getting older I wonder how many years I have left, I try to do as much as possible at home for practise and yes my wife at times wishes we had a wood burning stove to store my bagpipes, however, I think most people here would agree that piping is part of us and no matter how much we try not to be involved it always drags you back in.

    I like to think of it as an extended family, kind of like an inlaw.




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