I’m a freshman trumpet player coming in to what I learned was called the ‘Tate High School Showband of the South’. At the time, I played trumpet (started in 7th grade) and that was the high school I was zoned for. I really liked playing trumpet and I heard the band was ‘really good’. (understatement I would realize).

In 1980 they won the MBA Grand National Champions in Jacksonville, Florida. So it was safe to say that there was a standard of excellence with high expectations when you were in the band.

For many reasons, it was the PERFECT FIT for me. Over the course of multiple blog posts, I’d like to reflect a little on some of the things I learned playing in the marching band.

There’s more in the tank

An important thing to note is that Tate High School is located in Pensacola, Florida (Gonzalez technically). So the month of band camp before my freshman year in 1985 in June was HOT! A weather website said it was around 95 degrees with 97% humidity. HOT and HUMID!!!

I’m standing out on the asphalt parking lot that was striped/hash tagged and dotted just like the football field so everyone could know their place. The trumpet section leaders, drum majors and band directors were, let’s just say, ‘on us’ to have us stand at attention and not move.

No matter the distraction.

No matter how hot it was.

No matter how tired we were.

And then we started playing. A LOT! And it was a wall of sound. The drum major gives us the ‘more’ sign to crescendo, and we really start cranking. All that we have.

And then they give us the ‘more’ sign to hit the pedal and crank even more.

No matter the distractions (trying to march in tempo, move and not hit others)

No matter how hot it was (and the trumpet mouthpiece could even slide off the mouth it was so hot)

No matter how tired we were (not enough words to say how sore, aching and tired we were)


And you know what?

There was more in the tank.

There always was.

•  I was heading to the gym today with a couple ‘friends’ (I say ‘friends’ only because man do they push me like crazy) and I was thinking that there are many times when you’re working out and you just don’t feel like you have any more to give.

•  As my wife (Dana) and I had our first child, there were some late nights/early mornings when she would wake up crying multiple times. We were WORN OUT.

•  I have had many recording sessions that were scheduled for the next day and it’s 12:30 in the morning and I’m not finished writing. And then there are days when it’s 2:30am, 4:30am, 6am and I’m not finished.

I had no idea the life lessons that being in the marching band would teach me. But without question, one of the lessons that has proven invaluable to me throughout my entire life is that when you hit the wall, when you are exhausted, when you just don’t feel like you have more to give, buckle up, dig down and see if you might be able to push through because there’s a little more in the tank.

And everyone that has experienced a wall of exhaustion that you have been able to push through and find the energy to keep going will tell you that it’s a pretty amazing feeling to realize you were able to overcome that obstacle. I’m grateful that as a freshman trumpet player in 1985, I learned that when you want to give up and quit, there may be more strength in you than you realize. You just need someone to help you find that potential.

Do you have one of those obstacles (big or small) ahead of  you?

Maybe there’s a little more in the tank.

Disclaimer:This post is NOT connected to the fact that our Toyota Prius actually said ‘0 Miles’ and I made it at least 5 trying to find a gas station….but that did happen once.  🙂