Archive for June, 2011

MUSIC: Bruce Dinkins Remembered

Friday, June 24th, 2011

MUSIC: The Ripple Effect

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Life can be stressful, and sometimes we all sit in our office struggling to do our work and we think “Does this really matter? Does anyone really care about this work?” Then I think of the Ripple Effect, where one small thing ripples out to make a great effect. (Also known as the Butterfly effect…)

I remind myself that everything I do effects the entire universe in some way.  If I hold the door for someone, or just give them a smile or a friendly “Hello,” this can make a difference in their day and their attitude that impacts everyone they come into contact with after that…and thus influencing the experience of many many people.

On our Marching Roundtable Podcasts, I sometimes wonder if anyone is listening at all.  But then I remember that if only one band director hears something helpful or inspiring, this could help to make his band have a better season, impacting the lives of every student in the band, and thus every band family, and even everyone who sees the band show that season!  This adds up to a lot of people impacted by ONE person hearing a podcast!

When I’m writing marching shows, I have to remember that creating something effective and entertaining can have a similar impact.  A more successful and enjoyable show can improve the lives of every band member, and their classmates, families, audiences…. The effect is pretty amazing!

So I remind myself of this when I’m worn out from writing drill or dealing with a difficult issue with a project.  I need to keep the big picture in mind, and remember the ripple of effect that even our smallest actions and decisions can make.  Then I get back to work and try to do my part to make the world a better place!

FITNESS: The Importance of Community

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Quite often in this world, our fellow citizens live with an "every man for himself" mentality. They figure they have to fight for what they want, and shove everyone else out of the way. Stomp on anyone who tries to stop you, and do whatever it takes to get your good.

Of course, this is an incredibly UNPRODUCTIVE way to go through life. The truth is, there is enough good for everyone, and the popular notion of lack is a myth. Life always works best when we cooperate with those around us rather than compete.

This was all demonstrated to me very clearly today in the gym.  Our gym is not huge, but it has enough equipment that everyone can get their workout in and use what they need to be successful.  Of course, that is only true if everyone is working from a sense of community.

Today in the gym a group of enthusiastic friends got involved in one of those training scenes where everyone stands around and two people are put through the paces of a grueling non-stop series of exercises.  I'm never quite sure about the point of the "peanut gallery" standing around gaping, but I suppose this could be framed as encouragement, or maybe motivation by intimidation.

The problem with these scenes in the gym is two fold.  One, they often take up a lot of space and can hog some machines that others might want to use.  (They can also be a bit loud and demonstrative, but I won't count that for now.)  Second, because of the nature of the "two at a time / no stopping" scenario, these groups have convinced themselves that they need to hoard a lot of equipment to get through this.

Today, this meant that two pairs of 30 pound dumbbells were laying on the ground unused for great stretches of time, until the group somehow found their way to that one exercise and then the two victims used them for one set.

Now if you've spent any time in a gym, you can spot the problem with this scenario.  There are only 3 pairs of each weight of dumbbell in our gym, and the weights from 25 to 40 are, without a doubt, the most popular and most used by the gym members.  There is a reason that the gym has 3 sets of 30's, but only 1 set of 125's!

So those of us working in the dumbbell area were left staring at a dumbbell rack with most of the most popular weights missing.  Blank.  Finally I walked over and asked if they were using both sets of 30 pound dumbbells and they said "yes."  So I asked politely if they could not alternate using them so that the rest of the gym members could also have weights to train with.  After some grumbling they allowed me to take a pair.  I suppose there are times when my build and haircut come in handy.

Later they came back to the rack and took the pair back, but at least I was able to have my workout.  I realize that these trainers had acquired a bit of tunnel vision for their own workout regimen, but I wish they had realized that "we're all in this together" and things work much better when we all cooperate.

I had said as much to them, but it didn't seem to sink in.  When you're in the gym, you have to be aware of the crowd around you and make sure that your workout plan is not going to infringe on others' ability to get their workout accomplished.  You can't use three machines at once, and you can't get mad when someone takes your bench because you're halfway across the gym doing two other things.   Sorry, this is inconsiderate and just doesn't work in a crowded gym.

I encourage you to work toward adopting an attitude of cooperation, and be aware of those around you.  Things work better when we cooperate, whether we're on the road in our cars, or waiting in line for butterbeer, or at the gym working out.  Short sided opportunists may feel they can get ahead by taking advantage of others and only looking out for themselves, but history has always shown that in the long run this is a very unproductive way to operate.   Be a team player, watch out for your fellow man, and live a more productive life!  (And make my workout easier!  Thanks.)