Drumming at the Two Oceans: a lesson in life

We drummed at this year’s Two Oceans Marathon and Ultra Marathon, our own Ultra Marathon of sorts. Over 5 hours of drumming, mostly the same three speed-inducing, runner-motivating rhythms over and over again. Some of us drummers definitely have the blisters to prove it. And most of us surely feel some sort of evidence this morning, you know, like stiff muscles somewhere in our bodies …

But it was very interesting. Because not all of the people running there looked like what you would think a typical runner looks like. There were, of course, a variety of short and tall slim, athletic ones, but there were also bulky ones and fat ones in addition to those with outfits, dresses, cell phones and cameras – and I’m still talking about runners, here. (There were also media people with cell phones and cameras.)

The runners in the front were totally focused. They did not look left or right. Hell, it didn’t even seem as if they were breathing or sweating.

It was more fun to drum for the bunch in the middle. Look, it surely is much harder work to run the race, but us drummers also worked at it. I sometimes thought of putting down the bachis and go sit to rest my aching feet, but when I caught someone’s eye and saw the acknowledgement and appreciation, it motivated me to continue playing and to even put in some extra gusto: “Go! Go! Go! Go!” Donke donke donke donke …

Some raised their hands in thanks, some stopped to take over the bachis and drum with us, some stopped to take photos, some yelled encouragement (to us!). Some even offered to trade places…

Judging by how focused the first runners were, I think the advice “To achieve your goals, you must be focused” may be true. However, these focused runners missed out. They missed the opportunity to connect with the people next to the road cheering them on. Those runners who showed appreciation or acknowledgment – OK, maybe wasting some valuable running energy in lifting an arm or turning a head – got some extra cheer, some extra noise from the crowd (and drums) and some extra energy focused their way… Thus, no waste at all.

I might just have learnt a valuable lesson yesterday, added to my stiff knees and shoulders. I learnt that to focus on my goal is good. But as I’m only competing with myself, it would be worth my while to smell the roses along the way. Life need not be a lonely, painful, isolated experience; in fact, it’s much easier to push through tiredness and/or pain when the experience is shared, even if you and others along your way are not engaging in the same activities.

How do I translate this into my life? It means not being so focused on my work/my studies/my whatever (me, myself and I) that I isolate myself from friends and family. It’s not a waste of valuable time/energy to socialise. It’s an investment.

So just in case you’re thinking of rather not inviting me to the next kuier because I’m going to suck out all your energy: Don’t worry, I have also learnt that you can’t force the crowd to re-energise you without giving some positive energy in return :-).


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ria
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 21:08:18



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