July 08, 2006

No crying in piping

The image of David Beckham sobbing after he was taken off of the England-Portugal World Cup quarter-file match made me wonder about crying in sport and pipe band competition (which more and more people are saying is a sporting event). I couldn’t recall seeing a player crying actually during a game, and I tried to recall if I’d ever witnessed seeing a piper or drummer older than 12 crying at a contest.

I have. It happened once. It was at the World Pipe Band Championships in 1984. As I and a few members of the band I played with at the time, Polkemmet, were walking off of the march-past field, there was a piper from a rival Grade 1 band that had narrowly lost to the near-indomitable Strathclyde Police. Wearing number-one-dress, the guy just stood there in the middle of Bellahouston Park, shoulders heaving up and down, eyes streaming like the Clyde.

And, of course, everyone I was with tried to ignore him, but one of the pipers in my band extended his heart-felt sympathies by saying, “Aw, quit yer greetin’ ya wee wean!”

Which is to say there’s no crying in piping and drumming, just as there’s no crying in baseball or football – at least during the day of the contest. Sure, there’s lots of emotion in it but, really, it’s just a game. Yes, there are often piles of money wrapped up in it, but that’s a choice people make. At the end of the day it needs to be put in perspective.

A former Scots Guardsman needed to tell “Keeps Hot Things Hot and Cold Things Cold” Beckham to quit his greetin’, and save it for his Crying Room at his mansion or his trip to the bank.





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