Balls to the Wall

Arturo - Los Angeles, California
Entered on April 22, 2009

You see kids with their rooms filled with posters of rock stars, bands, guitars, the works. They idolize their heroes. They must think they were just born into greatness, fame, the glory. Woody Allen once said, “Being an artist is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” People aren’t born into greatness. They earn it. I believe the only discipline that last is self-discipline. No one in this world is going to push you to beyond your limit but yourself.

Kick ready, snare tightened, sticks at hand, I was bracing myself for the spotlight to come on to us and to see the 200-plus kids’ faces, staring at us, waiting.

We had booked a gig in our auditorium to perform for the school and with other performers in between, of course. It’s what Jimmy, Tony, Reyna and I had been working for. We wanted to show everyone what we were made of, who we were. As the curtain rose, I looked over at Tony and Jimmy, looking for a signal to know if they were ready to go. I though to myself, how did I end up here?

I thought back to the hardship I had to go through with my drums. Understanding rhythms, knowing what music is, being the music, these are some of the tings that faced me. Separating my hands and feet, getting coordination, getting better, those were some other things.

My mother, Maria, never really understood why I like playing drums so much. She would ponder why I would pretend to be on stage in front of thousands of people performing my #1 hit at such a young age. “Strange young boy you have,” the neighbors would say to my mom. I really didn’t care about what people though of me. All I knew and cared about was music. Music was my life. It always was and always will be.

After waiting three long years, I finally got my drum-set at 13. Best Christmas I ever had. I set it up immediately and started to play. I sucked. I could see the look on my mother’s eyes, as if she knew the next couple of moths were going to be hell. And they were. It was a struggle for me and the people around me.

For the next year i worked my hands to the bone trying to learn and perfect everything I tried. I missed parties, didn’t hang out with friends, forgot things I was suppose to do. I dedicated all my time to this drum-set, which I later names Claudia. I put hours and hours into this love of mine. My mother would always be thinking the worst, she would worry. Saying I would hurt my hands and never be able to use them again when I’m older, I knew she was just tired of the noise.

Later in high school I came across a lad named Anthony, Tony for short. We stared a band and a year later; here we were.

Nervously looking around, I clicked my sticks together, counting to four and hoping for the best. Tony started, we jumped in right after, and the gig went great. Drumming until my hands were numb, I soloed a little at the end dramatically. I knew all my hard work and dedication had and will take me somewhere in life because I’ll never give up.

I believe self-discipline and believing in yourself can take you everywhere and beyond. But its up to you to pick up those sticks and make you sure you don’t drop them.