There have always been two overwhelming passions in my life — music and sports.
The funny thing is ...
I’m not very good at either of them.
Never have been.
Never will be.
I can’t sing or play an instrument and my natural athletic ability never impressed anyone.
Sports and music, though, have always moved me, inspired me and touched me in a way nothing else can.
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my entire adult life writing about sports.
It’s been amazing. It’s something I never could have imagined would happen when I was younger.
I went off to college to study political science — not journalism.
Over the years, this job has also allowed me opportunities to write about music as well.
And those experiences have been just as amazing.
I got to interview and meet Alice Cooper.
How cool is that?
It’s hard for me to compare and weigh my feelings for these two life-long passions.
I think music means more to me, though.
There’s a connection there I just can’t explain.
It’s something deeper. Something that leaves a mark on you that lasts forever.
A song can bring back memories of a moment, a person, a place, a smell, a feeling.
I can give you a long list of examples from my very own life.
I remember being a skinny, pimple-faced 13-year-old kid sitting on the couch with my girlfriend. The tape in the cassette player was Starship’s “Knee Deep In the Hoopla.”
The song was “Hearts of the World (Will Understand).”
I sang along with the line, “I feel a pressure I can’t resist, intoxicated from the first kiss.”
She looked right at me and said, “What first kiss?”
That moment is forever locked into the notes of that song in my mind.
Music does that.
Nothing else does.
The moments preserved in song aren’t always the happiest ones, either.
I can remember the date — Aug. 11, 2011.
News of the death of Jani Lane, the former lead singer of the band Warrant, started to spread on social media that night. After I got home from work, I flipped through YouTube watching old clips of the band.
I was a big fan, but I came across a song I had never heard before.
It was called “Stronger Now.”
I clicked the link and a badly recorded copy of the video from more than 20 years ago started to play.
It stunned me.
It was a beautiful, acoustic ballad with Jani’s soulful voice telling a story of love, loss and the heartbreaking pain of moving on.
I broke down and cried.
How this song found me for the first time on the day that Jani died is still a mystery to me.
That’s what music does, though.
It finds you.
“Stronger Now” still moves my emotions like that every time I hear it. There are lots of other songs that have that same power over me too.
It’s hard to hold back the tears from my eyes when listening to “Things My Father Said” by Black Stone Cherry, “These Are The Days Of Our Lives,” by Queen or “You And I Will Meet Again” by Tom Petty.
Nothing else does that to me.
There are even songs that are so painfully special that they draw a stranger reaction for me.
I can’t listen to them.
There aren’t many that fall into this category, but I know that just the opening few notes will be absolutely crushing.
So, I simply have to avoid them.
It’s funny, though.
I can catch myself singing along with one of one of those songs from time to time when I’m at work or just hanging around the house.
“I’d do it all over ...”
Mumbling the words under my breath.
Then I have to stop.
Music is a powerful force, unlike anything else in this world — even sports.
It moves my soul.
And always will.