A few years ago I wrote an editorial about how difficult it can be for a competitor in any activity to bow out, to call it a day, to git while the goin’s still good. A few people asked, “Were you talking about me?” and my response was generally, no, but if you see yourself in those thoughts, then I suppose it is about you.
Actually, the editorial was mainly about me, and now I think that I have decided to stop competing. It’s been nearly 30 years of tramping the boards, 25 in the open or professional category. (Actually, four of those years I didn’t play in solo competition due to 1) living in a basement apartment with no place to practice, and 2) playing with a band that demanded hours of freaking difficult content to be at my fingertips.)
I can still play well and still get invitations to big contests, but the drive and fire has left me, and my interests are now in my family, travel, biking, golf, baseball, music, and, of course, all the various other piping-related things that I get up to and seem to please many more people than any tune I might play.
It’s not exactly bowing out like Seinfeld or Michael Jordan, when you’re ruling your world, but, then again, I don’t think that I ever jumped the shark, as it were. And we’ve all grimaced at failing athletes and artists who didn’t know when to stop.
I’m fortunate that I am still so involved in the piping and drumming world well beyond solo competing. I’ll have more time for those things, and I’m looking forward to trying to make even more of a difference.
Here’s to the newest generation of solo pipers!