In many respects, I am a stereotypical man and I do what many typical men do… no, not THAT I mean like fix and build things. (I made this! ) However, there is one particular area where I am very different from many of my male friends: Sports. Yep, baseball, football, hockey… You can keep ’em.
This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy playing sports. Prior to a car accident at age 12, I had a very promising career on the school track team. Yeah, don’t hate on the runners. Some of the best runners I knew became football players. Others became managers at Footlocker. But that’s another story. To this day, I love to work out and stay physically fit (P90X!). And sure, I love a good pick up game of basketball with my sons, or playing street football with the neighborhood kids (who apparently don’t know the meaning of “TAG” football). But anything beyond that and my attention fades to nothing. Really. I mean, I don’t even watch professional sports unless it’s the NBA Finals or occasionally the Super Bowl, and then mostly to see the commercials (which are far more entertaining to me). I’m not glued to the big screen HDTV for Monday Night Football surrounded by my buddies with beer, chips and hot dogs. I’ve never even participated in any Fantasy Sports leagues. Call me crazy, but there’s no excitement in that for me.
I’m not the guy who’s so consumed with which player is being traded to what team that I can’t focus at work. I’m not the husband who can’t be approached while the game is on, and gets grouchy when my team loses. Guys at work will come in the next day and spend hours discussing last nights game and arguing over bad calls and inflated stats. Me? I could care less. Who got injured? Some team is 12-0? I guess I never got that gene.
It was replaced by the MUSIC gene. Ask me who won the Grammy for Best New Artist back in 2004 and I can run off a list of the songs from their album. I could talk for hours about the rise of Country Pop and the degrading of R&B production quality. I could give you a year-by-year history of Hip Hop and provide details of pioneers like the Sugar Hill Gang, Just Ice and Grand Master Flash, or innovators like ATCQ or the Fu Schnickens, as well as contemporaries like Drake, Rick Ross and T.I. I can tell you what High School Josh Groban attended, or about the girl who originally recorded and released “Don’t Cha” before the Pussycat Dolls (trust me, it was NO BUENO).
I guess the parts of my mind that were originally reserved to care about sports were usurped by the arts, musicality and the pursuit of sonic nirvana. As a writer, producer, arranger, artist and musician, it infiltrates every part of my life. I guess I got it from my parents who used to tour Chicago and the surrounding areas, traveling with an ensemble vocal group with my uncle who played the piano. And it’s been passed on… my wife sings and plays the guitar. My oldest son is an actor, singer and dancer. And my middle son is already an exceptional writer at the age of 16.
So while you’re watching the Super Bowl, remember me and people like me who compose the music for the broadcast introduction, replay transitions and commercial jingles that have become just as much a part of American culture as apple pie.