jock header

I am a frustrated, wanna-be jock…

I played some basketball into junior high school (landing an unofficial ‘sixth man’ award)… Then during my sophomore year my two worlds (music and sports) collided and I heard first hand the ignorant blathering of some the coaching staff and their opinions about the music program of which I was also proud to be a part and how we ‘looked like idiots’ performing our field show. I felt it was decision time and I walked away from scholastic sports and never looked back as they say…

After I got out of school I took up tennis and played for fun and eventually found my way into local tournaments, playing singles and doubles but never coming close to winning anything. As I am in the Northeast I can only play tennis about half of the year (if I’m lucky) so I needed something indoors for the rest of the year. Gerry Lemo, a local photographer, nature fan and tennis adversary, introduced me to a recreational volleyball program at the local YMCA and I was hooked.

While playing recreational volleyball at the ‘Y’ I met Dave Hersh (soon to become one of my best friends and owner of the Silvermine North chain) who took me under his wing, taught me the intricacies of the game and, when I was ready, he invited me to join his team in a power league also at the ‘Y’. As my skills and understanding of the game developed further, Dave suggested I try out for the U.S.V.B.A. team there. This was a traveling team and member of the Iroquois Empire Volleyball Association of New York. The team ran a complex 6-2 offense and a rotation defense (this is definitely NOT your high school gym class or backyard party type volleyball) and though I wasn’t very tall I had those drummers hands which adapted well to the position of setter (kind of the quarterback on a volleyball team).

After a few years playing on the lower level teams I got a shot to play with some of the big boys – the upper echelon players of the club. The tryout went great and I was asked to play with them all the time!! This lasted about a week and until I fell victim to politics and a couple of big time, lesser skilled whine-asses who thought THEY should be the there instead of me and the following practice I found myself back with the lower squads again… with those same whine-asses. The club only lasted another few seasons then the ‘Y’ pulled the plug on all volleyball… ‘the gym has to be open in case someone wants to shoot baskets’ – now there’s a great piece of logic.

Along about this time Dave started coaching the women’s volleyball team at a local junior college and asked me to be his assistant coach – I was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity!! He also picked up the volleyball PE classes at the college and asked me to assist there also. He formed a USVBA team at the college and I left the ‘Y’ to play on the college team.

This was a great time for me physically – I was working nights with a band which left my days open… I was doing the PE classes from 8:00am – 2:30pm every day with pickup games during the half hours between classes, the college’s women’s team then practiced from 3:00pm – 5:00pm every day, I still played in the power league at the ‘Y’ every Monday night, I was now running the ‘Y’s’ recreational program every Tuesday night, the men’s U.S.V.B.A. team practiced every Wednesday night back at the college and I was assistant coach for a women’s USVBA team that practiced every Thursday!!! I don’t think I could WATCH that much activity without several naps currently!!

Here are a few of the team pictures…

Anyway… The women’s team won their NJCAA conference 4 out of the 6 years we were there… the men’s USVBA team made it to regionals every year and actually went to nationals one year… I blew my knees out several times (usually the left one) and I ended up shaving my head at the start of my last season… I probably should explain…

At the end of the previous season the team I was on at the college played in a tournament hosted by our old team from the ‘Y’. At the end of pool play my team was in first place heading into the playoffs! I’ve seen this before but I was always on the short end – if I played on team A, team B won and vice versa… I was really beginning to develop a complex!! During the downtime between matches I commented to my team how I’ve never played on a winner and if we won this tournament I’d shave my head (I really used to have hair you know – even a short tail at this time). Well you guessed it – we won the tournament!! It was all the sweeter because we beat my old ‘Y’ team (and some of those very same whine-asses) in the finals!! My team didn’t forget my promise and the first practice of the following season they were waiting for me – clippers in hand and shaved me bald as a baby’s backside!!

Bottom line is I was the starting setter for a traveling U.S.V.B.A. team at the B and BB levels for 10 years.

Along about the mid 80’s another of my best friends, Tom Sullivan (who was playing bass in a trio with me called ‘Voyager’), was urging me to take up golf. I had always thought of golf as an expensive hobby and never tried it for fear of liking it too much. But tennis opponents were getting scarce and in the spring of 1994 my cousin Brenda’s husband Eddie Reeve called from Long Island to tell me he had just purchased some new clubs. I congratulated him and he told me he was sending me his old clubs and would be up in a few weeks – ‘LEARN TO PLAY’! Tom and his wife MaryAnn have been playing as long as I’ve known them (Tom came within 1 point of getting his PGA card at one point) so I told him what happened and begged for some lessons. He gave me a book by one of golf’s immortals and wouldn’t let me touch a club until I finished it.

I am still learning to play (what golfer isn’t) and in May of 2003 I hit a personal high point (low point in golf terms) – I shot a 91 at Cronin’s Golf Resort in Warrensburg, NY. Tom is now working at Saratoga National… I visited him there in early June of 2003 and he made some changes to my grip and swing which I am finally beginning to understand – what a difference… and my roller coaster of a score is now starting to go down again finally!! I’m so close to cracking 90 I can taste it!!! Then of course fate intervened and my back went out while executing a beautiful shot on a par 3… I got the bird, finished the round and could barely walk for over a month… I came back the end of August but was so tentative my score ballooned back up… so much for 2003.

The fact that I was able to play at all again in 2003 is due entirely to Physical Therapist Dr. Stephen Basin in Glens Falls… I was upright after a single visit… felt much better after 3 visits and the exercises he showed me that I continue today has my back feeling better than ever!!

Then I lost the entire 2004 season!!! No golf, no biking, no activity at all (other than playing drums)… Played a couple of ‘heavy hitting’ drum gigs over 2004 Memorial Day Weekend and came away with an acute case of tendonitis in my right elbow… wore a brace all summer (so I could get through the plethora of band gigs)… finally went to the doctor in September (so he couldn’t tell me not to play all summer), got medicated, continued the brace…

In January of 2005, even though the elbow still has a twinge every so often, after all the blown out knees and a severely sprained thumb, I accepted an invitation to join a co-ed volleyball league (just so I can start doing something physical again)!! The team has a great bunch of girls and me – the only guy…

In 2006 we were even more competitive and nearly made the playoffs the beginning of April!!

I was looking forward to a very active Spring and Summer but life got in the way…

I was determined to enjoy this summer… more family time, more golf, biking, tennis, etc… Instead, I managed to golf twice and spent the rest of my free time (mid-June to mid-September) fighting a battle for a mortgage!! If anyone reading this is considering going through Wells Fargo Mortgage RUN SCREAMING THE OTHER WAY!!!

Then there was the moving and unpacking and settling in, etc…

Thankfully, the Queensbury Recreation Department’s volleyball program kicked into gear and I was able to play some pickup games in preparation for the 2007 co-ed league that started on January 16, 2007.

Glens Falls Recreation Department Co-Ed League

I joined this league a few years ago at the invitation of Penny and Lisa – sisters and a couple of great girls and avid softball players I worked with at a former job… then there’s Jackie, Chas, Gurt, Bob, Jen, Shannon, myself and various others who join us throughout the season (sorry – I forgot names)…

July 2007

I’ve managed to hit the golf course a couple times and am hitting very well thanks to some insightful tips from my good friend Tom… My back and knees are holding up… the bone spur in my right heal flares up only occasionally… the only annoyance I have is a Planter’s Facia (I believe that’s the term) – it’s a stiffness in my right Achilles’ tendon – a result of my walking a hilly course in 2006.

Bottom line is my score continues to drop and if I can manage to stay healthy between moving computers and band gigs this may be the year I finally break 90!!

It wasn’t… only managed to golf a handful of times… the swing was nice, score was OK… just not playing enough… busy, busy, busy!!

Selena like to join me at the range which makes it even more fun…

Pics 041 (Medium)

January 2008 – –

I’ve almost recovered from a bad muscle pull in my back and a couple bruised ribs… just in time for the volleyball league to start! My weight is down though not from any real physical activity so we’ll have to see just how much wind and strength I actually have…

The co-ed season started off strong – we looked like world beaters and could barely recognize ourselves… but we faded mid-season – never recovering and missing the playoffs by a narrow margin… there’s always next year!!

This year there have been some changes to the team… we lost our strongest player Gurt (congratulations on the twins!!) and have added Ben – the K-6 principal from the district where I work!! It should be a fun year as always!!

Selena loves to help me warm-up…


April 2008 – –

Volleyball league went well… miss Gurt but enjoyed playing with Ben… the team can best be described as collectively bi-polar – one minute showing flashes of brilliance, everyone in position, talking, passing, hitting… the next it looks like a group coma… everyone join hands and we’ll try to contact the living!! Still having a great time…

Lots of snow still on the ground but the driving range (and even a few courses) are open… I’ll have to check it out (in between work, 3 bands and the family)…

August 2008 – –

So much for that theory… the combination of a busy summer at school, lots of gigs (even though I cut it down to 1 band and some fill ins), the wife working doubles almost every night, gas prices well over $4 / gallon, tendonitis flair ups and my numb feet have pretty much killed the entire summer!! I packed the clubs and shoes away last year and never got them out this year – THIS SUCKS!!

I’m still planning on volleyball this winter and possibly even trying out for a USVBA team again as I’m about 8 pounds away from my ideal playing wait from 12 years ago… stay tuned for that!!

January 2009 – –

The co-ed team is no more – the two sisters that led the way are both out with injuries requiring surgery… my feet are still numb and burning and I’ve managed to have a stomach bug 6 times since Halloween!! What a great winter!!

July 2009 – –

A few more stomach bug bouts early in the year which seems to have settled down finally… I called in to visit my doctor and have the blood work (they wanted me to have back in 2006) and low and behold I’ve been diagnosed with Diabetes!! I knew my Dad’s genes were in there somewhere… minor changes in diets… on Metformin twice a day… still feeling fine!! Digging out the bike and tennis racquets… hoping for lots more golf this summer and a volleyball team this winter!!

I’ve managed to golf once (back in May)… I’m laying a pallet of stone edging around the house… had the bike out a few times and even played my first tennis match in 10 years!! That felt great!!

January 2010 – –

Feeling pretty good… down almost 40 pounds!! My body seems to have adjusted to the Diabetes medication… The neuropathy in both feet is annoying but tolerable – except when I’m trying to sleep but we’re managing…

I’ve played volleyball a couple times and just got the last minute call to play on a ‘B’ level team in a local league… To ‘B’ or not to ‘B’… hell – there’s no question… I just want to play!! Wait – more politics… seems there’s no room in the league for that team… another winter of inactivity… thank goodness I have a Wii!!   🙂

June 2010 – –

My wife and daughter have been biking a little and now that my wife has her own bike again I’ll be able to join them. Haven’t had the clubs out to even hit the range yet… I’m either gigging or catching up from the combination of late nights and early mornings… the back is still feeling pretty good so I just have to get my butt in gear!!

September 2010 – –

I can’t wait for summer… holy crap – IT’S SEPTEMBER!! That was a short summer… filled in with two bands – lots of outdoor concerts – had a great time. Did get to golf once but never managed to get on the bike or hit the tennis courts… the weights still down and I’m looking forward to volleyball this winter.

October 2010 – –

Finally started playing rec. volleyball again… starting to get some legs under me again… missed one serve in two weeks, managed some kills and even a solid block!!

February 2011 – –

Haven’t played ball in a month!! A combination of weekly snow storms closing school and my back going out for a couple weeks (playing Tiger Woods and Slapshot Hockey on the Wii… and not doing my back exercises)… I’m back in action this week (mid February)!!

May 2011 – –

While I’m not working out as much as I’d like (OK – at all) but the drumline had their first marching rehearsal and I felt no ill effects from several laps on the track, carrying a drum and playing on a comfortably warm day… looking forward to more!!

June 2011 – –

Feeling great in parades and at drumline rehearsals… gearing up for some golf over vacation (and stripping and sealing two decks)… also planning to get the bike out again finally!!

August 2011 – –

This is beautiful… during a thunderstorm there was apparently a violent downdraft in our area which knocked part of a tree down that came through the roof of our house!! And Hurricane Irene is expected to hit in a week… PERFECT!!

September 2011 – –

Ended up having to borrow money from a friend for $4000 worth of emergency tree clean-up for which my insurance company will pay $100 towards anything ON THE GROUND ONLY… Glad I did after seeing what was left of our back yard afterwards… probably saved our house!! I’m still dealing with an adjuster who’s a complete idiot… no contact in almost a month!! He did warn us though… when he finally called back almost a full week after his visit here he said, “You know – I’m going to be awfully busy after that hurricane hit.” We know moron – that’s why we were trying to get you to move on our claim the week prior… dumbass!!!

No fun this year… did nothing but work all summer… 🙁    Played a few gigs, parades with alumni drumline and the LGCB summer concerts…

Banged my knee into the corner of a desk mid July and haven’t been right since… can’t sleep and generally feel like crap!!

Then to top it off I was walking 18 blocks back to my van after the Uncle Sam Parade while wearing my drum, tripped on a sidewalk heave and landed right on top of it!! I have a puncture wound below my collarbone where the bolt from the carrier jabbed me, banged up the same knee and an elbow and the cross bar of the carrier caught me under the chin and knocked my jaw in to the back of my head… fun stuff!!

October 2011 – –

Feeling MUCH better!! The pain in the knee and elbow are gone, cuts and scrapes have healed, puncture under my collarbone is healed and bruising is gone, pain behind my ear and my neck is gone… now I’m down to my ribs – belly plate must have caught me in the side… didn’t even feel it initially – no sign of breaks that they can see so they’re treating it as bruised ribs but I’m finally able to get some sleep. Had a few gigs with no pain – felt great to play!!

The adjuster finally got paperwork to me for the repairs (the roofer I had was nice enough to go ahead and put a new roof on without waiting)… I’m thankful to get anything after FEMA people visited me and insisted that I put paperwork in for their assistance saying that I was definitely entitled to help then they eventually sent me a letter saying ‘congratulations you are entitled to $0’… figures. My golf clubs and bag were stored in the closet that took the brunt of the damage from the tree and water twice… the adjuster put in $10 for golf clubs… thanks!!

November 2011 – –

Still a twinge in the ribs / back but pretty far and few as they say… Marched the Holiday Parade in South Glens Falls with the Avant Garde alumni Drumline (video on the Audio/Visions page)… ‘Skeeter Creek’ rehearsals are going very well – can’t wait for the first gig on New Year’s Eve!! I’m feeling great so let’s make this happen, Cap’n!!!

December 2011 – –

SC rehearsals, drumline rehearsals, marched the Salem Holiday Parade where we warmed up while standing in SNOW but had a great parade… I’m just a drumming fool!!! 🙂 And New Year’s Eve can’t come quick enough!! Oh and my 6 month doctor’s visit went great – if he’s happy, I’m happy!!

January 2012 – –

Felt great New Year’s Eve – didn’t fall asleep all night even though my body hasn’t done a late night in quite a while… 🙂

February 2012 – –

Holy crap!!! ‘Skeeter Creek’ is playing constantly but my body seems to be holding up under heavy drumming and late nights which I haven’t had in my schedule for quite a while… so far so good!! Can’t wait to see how I hold up when I thro the drumline back in the mix… 🙂

September 2012 – –

Well – I survived the ‘Skeeter Creek’ summer which included over 20 gigs in August alone and no downtime until Christmas!!

The constant loading, unloading setting up and tearing down is taking a toll on my back and knees as well as my gear but I’m taking good care of both so hopefully everything will hold up… 🙂

November 2012 – –

I’m getting the feeling from the band that I’ve ‘lost it’ as a drummer… questions about my timing and other issues have just proved too frustrating so, after 82 shows this year, I’m calling it a career. All in all I felt physically great even with the heavy gig schedule but there are other issues in the group and mentally I just am at the point where enough is enough. At this moment I can’t envision a scenario that would make me want to play again…

April 2013 – –

I’m determined to be active this summer and started already when my daughter and I hit the practice wall at the tennis courts for a couple hours… first time I’ve held a racquet in ages and it felt great!! Now I need to get on my bike and replace my golf clubs… anyone know where I can find a decent set for $10 (insurance settlement)??

Out of the blue comes a call to be the understudy for the regular drummer in ‘Funk Evolution’!! This is a dream come true (head over to my ‘Long and Winding Road‘ page for the full story…

June 2013 – –

Played my first ‘Funk Evolution’ gig and what a workout!! As my buddy Bill said, “These guys don’t phone it in!!”

August 2013 – –

About my only exercise in July was marching parades in extreme heat or unloading truckloads of new equipment at work… A little Ladderball with the family is about as close as I’ve come to any recreational activities and I’ve managed to work several 12-14 hour days in an attempt to catch up from the week plus that I missed after my oral surgery…

It doesn’t seem possible that it’s August already!! Let’s see… week one – three concerts and a drumline exhibition in Rome, NY… well – it’s a start.

November 2013 – –

No workouts, no fun, just lots of added duties at work… I have a great resume to show for it but not so much when it comes to a paycheck… except for the overtime… 🙂

2014 – –

Kicking off with some drumline rehearsals and winterguard show exhibitions then off to Hunter Mountain in March with the amazing ‘Funk Evolution’!!

April, May and June – –

A full slate of FE dates while the regular guy is out on paternity leave… I’m working hard and playing hard with these guys… my weights up a little (no doubt from making up for almost a full year without solid food) but I’m feeling great and doc says everything looks pretty good… like I said – if he’s happy, I’M happy!!

July – –

Hard to believe it’s the end of July already… FE threw me a couple dates but mostly I’ve been working on school projects almost constantly… I keep promising myself I’m going to bike or golf (somehow) in August!!!

But of course I managed to do nothing but work… the rest of the year!!

The one bright spot was an early Christmas present in mid-December when Funk Evolution offered me the gig FULL TIME!! Please visit my ‘Long and Winding Road’ page – Living the Dream (2015) for details.

2015 – –

January – April – –

It looks like I’ll have to depend on band gigs for weight training (loading and unloading gear) and cardio (three 1 hour workouts 2-5 times a week)… No weekends off until Thanksgiving!! And I keep promising myself I’m going to get back into the Recreation Department’s winter volleyball program… nope – never made it.

May – December – –

The band schedule picked up even more as summer approached…

Once we hit July and August we were playing at least three shows every week!! I was a little stiff by the end of the week and had some tight muscles but nothing I couldn’t stretch out… weight was down and I was feeling great despite the combined insane band schedule and adding still more duties at school…

October – –

As I roll into late October / staring down November, I’m thinking about volleyball once again… time to get my butt in gear!!

2017 – –

January – Where does the time go?!? Band and life seem to have conspired to get in the way of any recreational fun that past few of years…

The band has around 100 shows every year and I’ve hesitated to even attempt golf again because I need the added band income and really don’t need to tweak my back then try to move all my gear… Factor in that I never replaced my clubs and shoes stored in my bedroom closet that were trashed when the tree came through our roof during a storm a week before a hurricane (and the insurance company gave me $10 (yes TEN) for clubs and it would appear that my golfing days are sadly over.

The Queensbury Rec. Dept. is still running volleyball and I stopped in a few weeks back – thinking of giving that a try – but that same annoying (we’re pretty sure intoxicated) a-hole that’s driven off so many others is still playing so I guess he’s driven me off too.

The good news is that I’m getting weight training each week (loading and unloading) along with about 3 hours of cardio each night we play (we rarely play a ballad)… my doctor is pleased with all my numbers and I’m feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time other than the occasional twinge in my side / back where they think I tore a muscle over a year ago but the only way it can heal is for me to stop altogether for a while and that’s not happening anytime soon if I can help it… 🙂

Yes I (used to) like to move it but I guess I’m now limited to band aerobics: weight training by hoisting gear in and out of my van and up and down stairs in some cases; and cardio – drumming in the various shows several times a week.

Who knows, maybe I can still coax my daughter back on the tennis court once in a while… 🙂

2022 – –

October – Looking back now, I realize that I gave up golf and tennis after landing the full time band gig for fear of missing gigs from fluke injuries… oddly enough, I was probably in the best shape of my life during the 80-90 shows / year from 2015 – 2021…

Playing a lighter schedule this year I can really feel the toll and recovery time after each gig… I hope to fix that in 2023… 🙂