B.O.L.D members Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris and Isaiah Thomas, both millennial thought-leaders, pontificate on categorizing drumming as a sport.
I’m not just a millennial thought-leader and an award-winning journalist, I’m an athlete, but most people don’t see it that way.
Every day, outside of meeting deadlines for the multiple platforms on which I publish, I commit at least an hour of my day to practicing drums. When I’m finished crashing on my TRX Cymbals, my heart rate is elevated, I’m drenched in sweat, my hands are blistered, and I’m physically drained. The way my body reacts to sustained drumming is almost identical to how basketball players feel after they’ve completed a game.
“My back and knees hurt and my feet are sore,” says B.O.L.D member Isaiah Thomas, who plays basketball at least once a week, usually on Sunday mornings, “I’m tired, sweating heavily, out of breath and physically drained … often for the rest of the day,” he adds, noting that the conversation regarding drumming as a sport would be a “productive debate” in today’s innovative society.
Thomas is a credible voice in the worlds of athletics, as he is the youngest person to sit on the board of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, representing District 12. Additionally, Thomas, who was recently inducted as a 2014 BMe Leader, is the President of the Philadelphia Coaches Association, which is home to 66 public schools and 66 coaches.
A politically-active citizen that’s rumored to run for City Council in 2015, Thomas believes categorizing sustained or competitive drumming as a sport would allow schools, communities, and institutions to offer a healthy alternative to constituents, especially those who want to get a cardiovascular or upper-body workout, but are limited in their capacity to run, walk, and/or stand.
Last summer I was featured in Jump Philly’s spring 2013 issue, touting the biological and physiological benefits of drumming. The article was titled “Drumming for Life: They May Be Sitting But Drummers Are Working Their Asses Off.” In the post, sport psychologist Dr. Lois A. Butcher-Poffley, an assistant professor in the Kinesiology Department at Temple University, was quoted as saying:
“There is a fitness component, no question. There is a lot of upper body work. While there is a lot of hitting, there is also a lot of moving across the body. There is spinal motor movement and gross motor movement. You have all limbs going.”
The health benefits of drumming are various and wide-ranging, including producing deeper self-awareness by inducing synchronous brain activity. And I agree with the article’s heading: I think drummers work and play harder than most athletes, in the sense where competitive one-on-one or group drumming is the norm – its been branded “shedding” – and we don’t call time-outs.
“You don’t play a one-on-one game of basketball unless it’s personal or for money,” explains Thomas, “that’s not normal in the basketball culture; if you go to the courts and play one-on-one, it was a probably a disappointing day.”
Gearing up for his Isaiah Thomas Basketball Camp, which runs during the last week of August, Thomas expresses genuine interest in bolstering the dialogue of drumming as a sport, so much so that he’s willing to strap up to a heart monitor and play a one-on-one game of basketball, as I, also strapped to a heart monitor, would battle a drummer – both of us going for thirty minutes without a break.
Who do you think who exert more energy? What do you think about classifying drumming as a sport?
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™