There’s no doubt how much I love sports. I mean, I’ve been a sports writer all my life; it’s kind of a job requirement.
But sports isn’t my life. It never has been and it never will be. A big chunk of my life? Yes.
Music is my other love. When I was a kid, it was music and sports, sports and music. And that’s how it is today, when I’m no longer a kid.Mick Jagger performs at the Grammys. He may look his age, but he doesn't act it.When I had a little extra money – or any money at all – I’d usually buy either baseball cards or records. It was a treat in those days for one of my parents to drive me from Derby to the Giant store on South Oliver, which is where I bought most of my records in those days. It was rare that I’d buy an album; most of the records I owned as a kid were 45s, and I was really into the Beatles and other English groups like Herman’s Hermits and the Dave Clark 5, whose song “Bits and Pieces,” released in 1964, is one of the first songs I remember hearing.
My parents always told me they knew I had a love for music because, as a toddler, I was enamored by “The Lawrence Welk Show.”
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The point of this post, if there is one, is to point out why music is so much of a part of my life. And it became clear to me last night while I was watching The Grammys with my wife, Debbie, and son, Jeff.
Musicians aren’t bound by the physical restraints that burden athletes. Musicians don’t often get injured and their careers can span decades. Mick Jagger was on stage last night at 68, which is three decades, at least, past when a professional athlete can remain relevant outside of golf.
But even with golfers, there is a Seniors Tour, or as it’s more politically correctly called today, a Champions Tour. Because heaven forbid somebody could become a Senior.
Yet it’s happening in music everywhere you look. Who retires from music?
Forty years ago, we all wondered what the musicians of our time would do when they reached their 50s, 60s and even 70s. Well, we have our answer. Many of them – those who desire to – continue to produce. Quite a few do so with the quality of their music in tact.
Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger performed at The Grammys, honoring the late Solomon Burke with “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” which the Stones covered early in their career. It was magical to see Jagger on stage, jumping around the way he always has at the age of 67.
I thought 68-year-old Barbra Streisand sounded good singing her long-ago Grammy-winning song, “Evergreen.” Streisand is 68.
I can’t be as complimentary of folk legend Bob Dylan, who has written as many iconic songs as anyone in the past 50 years. But, as he closes in on his 70th birthday in May, Dylan’s voice sounds crustier as ever, which is not a good thing.
Kris Kristofferson was not a performer at The Grammys, but didn’t even have the voice to get through his introduction duties. Then again, he’ll be 75 in June.
But all of these people and dozens of others continue to produce and tour and sing. It’s awesome stuff. It allows those of us who become fans to continue to be fans throughout our lives.The EaglesI point to the Eagles, which has been my favorite band since 1974, the year after I graduated from high school. Well, in two years I will be attending my 40th high school reunion. And the Eagles are still going strong, just kicking off a tour of the Far East and sounding better than ever. What a gift that has been for me, personally. And I’m sure all of you have recording artists you feel the same way about.
It’s not the same with athletes. Their careers finish, most of the time, when they’re still relatively young men and women. When we see them in their old age, they’re relying on memories because, of course, they’re unable to perform the way they used to.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a thrill for me to see a Bob Gibson or a Hank Aaron. A Willie Mays or a Bill Russell. A Joe Montana or a Dick Butkus.
But they’re incapable of captivating me with their skills. Musicians’ skills literally can last a lifetime.
I can’t wait to see James Taylor, who will be 63 when he performs at the Intrust Bank Arena, on April 30.Bob Seger will be on the road soon.I’m really hoping Bob Seger, who will be 66 in May, plays at a nearby venue on his upcoming tour.
Same with Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks, who are touring together this year. Stewart is 66; Nicks will be 63 in May.
Heck, one of my favorite “young” singers, Sheryl Crow, recently turned 49.
But, as we have learned, music lasts a lifetime. So when you’re encouraging that kid of yours to pick up a baseball bat or shoot some hoops, give him or her a guitar, too. Or piano lessons. Every child should have the opportunity to be musical. I played the saxophone, or at least tried to, when I was in elementary school. It didn’t catch on with me.
I love to sing, but it wasn’t cool to be in the high school choir so I didn’t try out.
I’ve been disappointed with myself ever since.
My Facebook friend
Elliot (center) and a couple of friends doing what college guys do, I suppose.Elliot is young, which immediately makes him different from me. He’s in college, studying journalism (hooray!), although that probably means he’ll be forever unemployed. Just kidding, just kidding. There are millions of journalism jobs out here.You’ll read, from Elliot, about how we became Facebook friends. Here’s what he has to say:
I’m a 21 year old journalism student at KU, graduating in May, and looking to be a sports anchor somewhere soon. I’ve worked at the Wranglers, Eagle sports department, and done intern work for KAKE Sports for eight years.
Bob and I are Facebook friends because I participated in two of his NFL fan drafts. I’ve always been a bit obsessed with the draft, and spend way too much time preparing for something that doesn’t involve me at all. I’ll never forget when I was a sophomore in high school, Bob ended up using me for three different picks in his story. Mainly because he wrote, and I quote, “For a fifteen year old, Metz knows his stuff.” I lorded that over my buddies for a good two or three weeks.