I remember my first time on stage.
I was in 4th Grade. It was this time of year. I was Schroeder in our boys-only school production of A Charlie Brown Christmas and I owned the part. To this day whenever my sons and I watch A Charlie Brown Christmason ABC still doesn’t seem right since I grew up watching it on CBSI have to recite the line: “I think you have a customer.” The family pauses now to allow me to relive that moment of minor glory like I’m sure Brett Farve’s wife does on Sundays when he’s home watching the game he used to play – yelling plays at the televis- oh, um, never mind – like John Madden’s handlers do when they find him drawing on the television with a purple crayon on Sunday afternoons.
At any rate back then I had it. The bug – to be on stage and perform. Fast forward to high school and 3 years on stage in our musicals dancing (yeah, me; go figure) and singing. My senior year of high school consisted of only 4 credit hours; two of those choir and what we called Mastersingers which essentially were the best two voices from each of the four vocal ranges.
Then things went off kilter. I don’t know when exactly I developed stage fright but it had to have been somewhere in college. Perpetually self-concious and shy in large groups or at parties I would gravitate to those I knew and shunned the spotlight.
My involvement with PASS changed that. It started by accident really. Our Host of the second annual Quizbowl had to cancel due to conflicts at the last moment and I had to take the stage – sweating and dry-mouthed the entire time. The next three renditions of the Quizbowl have progressively gone better. I’m more relaxed in front of the attendees and this year I found myself having fun! My involvement with these events has transitioned into speaking at on Webcasts for Quest Software, local user groups and SQL Saturday events. I was told by Jessica Moss that after the first three you’ll become practically addicted to speaking. I laughed it off over a very bad breakfast after my first speaking engagement in Richmond, VA but she was absolutely right!
That leads me to tonight. Our regular trainer for the kettlebell class I’ve been taking for the last 3 months is in Jamaica (pays to work for the YMCA I guess) and I was asked to teach the class. The Tim from a few years ago would have offered a polite “no”. “Hell NO”, actually. The Tim of today found himself standing in front of class all Spandexed-out sweating and panting all the time confident in his skills and in himself.
- Standing in front of 2,000+ people making a fool out of others. – CHECK.
- Standing in front of 6 clad in spandex shorts and looking foolish to the passerby. – CHECK.
- Standing in front of 30 and explaining things you know and hope to teach others. – CHECK. (The easiest one, by far.)
Thank you Kevin Kline, Wayne Snyder, Nancy Hidy-Wilson, Louis Davidson, Andy Leonard, Jessica M. Moss, Michelle Ufford, Christian Hasker, Greg Robidoux, Jeremy Kadlec, Tony Davis, Steve Jones, Joe Webb, Tom LaRock, Andy Grant, Brent Ozar, and countless others. It is because of you all in one way or another that I am a better man, both professionally and personally, than I was 8 short years ago. With a week until Christmas I wanted simply to say “Thank You”. Merry Christmas to you all.