Saturday, August 20, 2011

To Thine Own Self Be True

As I sat here tonight, checking my Facebook account, a friend complimented me on my announcing of today’s pee-wee football game in our community. I’ve done that now for the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teams for about ten years. I do it in a pretty unorthodox way – yelling and screaming a lot, acting silly, having fun at the expense of the refs, playing music, etc. I just try to keep it light and have fun.

At any rate, the friend who complimented me hadn’t heard me do the announcing before. She said it was fun and seemed like I was having fun.

I’m never having as much fun as I am when I’ve got an audience, maybe some music at my disposal, and no script whatsoever.

It always feels good to hear someone say I’ve done a good job. But the compliments that come from someone who hasn’t been to one of the games before feel especially good.

I started thinking about it tonight, and I realized; when I was asked to be the field announcer those ten years ago, I actually had a conscious decision to make: how to do the announcing. Do I do it “straight”, with “respect for the game”? Or do I just be me?

I have, at best, a “basic” knowledge of football. These pee-wee games make for long days (four games run about 8 hours). I don’t have much “normal” music…much less “sports anthems” in my catalog. So, I figured rather than being phony, I’d just be me, and see what happened.

I figured that the kids would have fun with me being crazy. And I figured me keeping things light would be appreciated by those parents who aren’t the over-aggressive super-sporty types.

And it all worked out well.

After this Facebook conversation, I looked through the “info” section of my profile. I took a look through the “People Who Inspire Me” section. Those listed include:

Al Swearengen, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Hasil Adkins, Charles Bukowski, Quentin Tarantino, Lemmy Kilmister, Hunter S. Thompson, Huey Freeman, Joe Strummer, Keith Richards, Kris Kristofferson, Pete Seeger, Howard Zinn, Johnny Cash, Crazy Horse, Abby Hoffman, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, Jr., and T-Model Ford.

Not exactly a “normal” list of heroes.

There are a few “standards” there; Martin Luther King and Jesus. There are a few “rebels”: Howard Zinn, Abby Hoffman, Che Guevara, and Pete Seeger. There are a few who inspire me creatively.

But the ones I really call “heroes” is smaller. The list of those I truly draw inspiration from, when it comes to living life, is still smaller yet. It includes:

*Bill Hicks (a completely irreverent comedic genius who gutted every sacred cow in America)

*George Carlin (poked fun at many of the mores of our society and showed us how silly we could be)

*Hasil Adkins (a WAY “out there” one-man-band musician)

*Charles Bukowski (a curmudgeonly writer who wove his own life story into tales of outcasts)

*Lemmy Kilmister (leader of Motorhead and the only human who will outlast cockroaches if there’s ever a nuclear fallout)

*Keith Richards (the human riff...the inspiration for Captain Jack Sparrow...from The Rolling Stones)

*Hunter S. Thompson (a W-E-I-R-D journalist/genius)

I won’t go into any further biographical history for them than that; you can look that up yourself. But, these guys are my hero because they did things their own way. Some got famous from it. Some did not. Some found success and a few made money. Others didn’t. None were “driven” by the money, though. They’d be who they are now whether they found success, fame, or money along the way.

These guys are weird. At the very least, they're unorthodox. They were also bold. And brave. They marched to the beat of their own drummer. They said what they knew they had to say and played how they knew they had to play.

They figured out somewhere along the line that they weren’t like everyone else (are any of us?). Most importantly, they figured out early that trying to “be like everyone else” wasn’t worth it. It’s too much work. Too much effort. IT’S TOO HIGH A PRICE TO PAY IN LIFE.

Be yourself. Let your freak flag fly.

To thine own self be true.

The guys I look up to did that.

Being someone else is too high a price to pay. What’s the cost? OUR LIVES. I don’t want to live my life being what or who ANYONE else thinks I should be.

I’ve managed to accomplish that in two areas: my weekly radio show and the four pee-wee football games I announce every year.

I gotta work on expanding that.

It’s your life. We all know, somewhere deep down, who we are.

Be who you are.

No comments:

Post a Comment