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    Linebackers Drummers And Love

           Football. I love the game. The strategy. The physicality. The break downs and the analysis. Out thinking your adversary. The emotional power of the game. Mano a Mano. The nature of the sport reeks of masculinity. Which is one big reason guys love it. And also why a large number of women dig it too.
           At some point, I became more drawn to defense than to offense (special teams never did jack for me). As is my nature, I want to better understand that switch in preference. Because it could say something about me and about my development. Maybe not a lot, but you never know until you start digging. And I love to dig. When you dig, you usually discover. When you discover, you potentially become aware. And that awareness opens up the possibility for growth and transformation and a whole host of other goodies. All of that often starts from a little digging.
           Digging by myself is great, but I love to dig with other people too. I should have a bumper sticker that reads “Digs Well With Others”; meaning I will go on a deep dive with anybody who thirsts for self discovery and hence self creation. I believe the two are intertwined. But that is another topic altogether, and one I will tackle some other time. Back to football.
           At the Boston College Graduate School of Management, my Strategic Management professor, Hassell McClellan (one of my favorite teachers of all time) told me something that I’ll never forget. He knew I was a drummer, and one day he imposed this particular wisdom on me. He said, “There are two types of football players. There are football players…..and there are linebackers. There are two types of musicians. There are musicians….and there are drummers.” I got it. Immediately.
           Linebackers are animals. And I mean that in the best sense of the word. The best ones are aggressive, fierce, predatory. They play with a passion and an intensity that borders on the maniacal. They bring a barely controlled reckless abandonment to their play. Traditionally, more than any other position, on either side of the ball, linebackers set the emotional tone of the game.  
           Have you ever seen a great drummer? Tell me that the aforementioned description of linebackers doesn’t also apply to the best drummers. At least the best rock drummers, who are the ones I am most familiar with, and with whom I most identify.
           Twenty five years ago, Professor McClellan’s insight gave me a little window into myself. I remember processing that statement and examining my own relationship to football. And to drumming. And to myself.
           The thought of running with a football over, through, or around defenders excites me. But I have to say, sticking a ball carrier so hard that they lose their helmet….well that excites me even more. Why? Because, with regards to emotional tone in football, a thunderous hit means more to me than a touchdown. Let me explain.
           Setting the emotional tone, and playing with a fury and a passion that boils the blood, is more central to the game of football than scoring. Scoring is the objective. Scoring is the goal. But I’ve always been more of a process kind of guy. For me, the process is often where the juice is. A goal without a juicy process, or at least a part of the process, that I can sink my teeth into, is much harder for me to buy into. I am more likely to undergo a juicy process with a sketchy goal than I am to buy into a juicy goal with a sketchy process. Some people are just the opposite. Both preferences have their pros and cons. It’s best when one can manage that balance and be able to undergo both worthwhile goals and worthwhile processes regardless. I’ve become better at that. But I digress.
           Like linebackers in football, drummers in rock music set the emotional tone. The drummer must, repeat, must, play with an intensity and a ferocity and a passion, or the band will never, repeat, never, kick ass. If your drummer don’t bring it, the rest of the band can be firing on all cylinders, but you won’t be moving any tails. Looking at it from the other side, your bass player, your guitar player, even your lead singer, can mail it in. But if your drummer is still bringing it, your band still has a chance to move some booty (it's obviously way better when everyone is bringing it). The drummer has to set an energetic tone, an emotional tone, like linebackers, that the rest of the band (or team) connects to and builds on.
           I’ll get more into this in part two, where I’ll connect all this to life in general and to intimate relationships. Please join me for that.

    ©2014 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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