Last Saturday the pipe band I belong to, the Tunes of Glory, took first place in the Grade 5 competition at the Milwaukee Highland Games. Whoopee! In the picture at right, I'm leading the third column as we march out. You can watch a very nice video of our performance here:
YouTube: Tunes of Glory Milwaukee June 6 09
Now, before we all get too excited, let's keep in mind that Grade 5 is sort of the "plankton" level of the competition bagpiping food chain. There are four levels between us and the likes of the Scottish Lion 78 Fraser Highlanders. Nonetheless, it's a pretty exciting event, especially since it's the first time I've been part of the band when it won a competition.
And it's sorta strange to think that none of this would have happened had it not been for a couple of my former managers at Lucent: my old boss Gus, and former CEO Rich McGinn. Gus presented me with a kilt at a promotion party in the spring of '01, and after that, every time I wore it in public I'd find people asking me, "Do you play the bagpipes?" In time, I came to realize this was code for "Are you Scottish?" which was in turn code for "Why the #$%! are you wearing a kilt?" McGinn, of course, presided over the company as its stock fell from the stratospheric heights of the Tech Boom to its eventual position in the neighborhood of Deer Nuts (i.e., under a buck). This led to the "Five and Five" early-retirement buyout of July 2001, which gave me the free time I needed to go out and learn piping. So, to the two managers who led me into bagpiping, a hearty "thank you."
Aren't unintended consequences great?