Tom Musick: Hoops and horns

HAMPSHIRE – Kids these days. They’re so lazy.

Remember when we were kids? Remember how we used to walk 10 miles through the snow, uphill both ways, on our way to and from school?

Not anymore. Not with these apathetic adolescents.

Take Danny Duchaj, for example.

Do you want to know what the Hampshire sophomore did at the end of a recent school day? He practiced basketball – he’s on the boys’ varsity team as a 6-foot-5 center – and then he stuck around for another couple of hours to play trumpet in the concert band at the girls’ varsity game against Woodstock.

By the time Duchaj returned home about 8 p.m., he was ready to begin his ascent up Homework Mountain. It likely would require a couple of hours.

“Probably,” Duchaj said with a smile. “I’ve got a lot tonight.”


Braden Bloomberg sat quietly a few feet away, but he was equally as guilty. Bloomberg is a junior forward on the Whip-Purs’ varsity team and plays the bari sax – that’s slang for baritone saxophone, which we hard-working adults obviously already knew – in the concert band at girls games.

Bloomberg, like Duchaj, chose not to go home between basketball and band. As he spoke, the first bell of the next school day was about 12 hours away.

“It’s just something else to do,” Bloomberg said of being in the band. “It’s fun.

“I want to be busy. I don’t want to have a reason to go home and just sit on

the couch and watch TV and be lazy.”

Honestly, where did we go wrong with this generation?

Perhaps a fellow adult could provide some perspective about our nation’s directionless, out-of-control teens. Bob Barnett, the coach of Hampshire’s boys team, seemed like the type who could shake his head and tisk-tisk-tisk.

Except Barnett actually had the nerve to praise Duchaj and Bloomberg for their diverse talents. He recalled another recent player, Peter Barnes, who was an acclaimed violinist in addition to playing on the basketball team.

“It’s not unusual,” said Barnett, a veteran coach who was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. “They enjoy the arts. They enjoy sports. I think it’s great.”

Oh, sure, encourage them.

Duchaj and Bloomberg said they enjoyed their dual roles on the team and in the band. During band appearances, they said, they knew they were providing a lift to the girls team by helping to create a lively atmosphere. When they were on the court, they said, they received the same boost from the band.

“You’ve got all your friends in the band,” Duchaj said. “So it’s kind of cool that you can show off for your friends there.”

Bloomberg nodded in agreement.

“It’s like a second student section,” Bloomberg said.

As a coach, Barnett said, it was easy to notice the band’s effect at games.

“They get the place jumping,” Barnett said. “They get the crowd going and they get the kids into it.”

OK, fine, so maybe Barnett had a point.

During pregame warmups at the girls’ game against Woodstock, Duchaj towered over his fellow trumpet players as the band played hits such as Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love,” The Four Seasons’ “December 1963 (Oh What A Night)” and “Walk Like A Man,” and Bruce Channel’s “Hey! Baby.”

And when the band played Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” more than a few students and parents could be heard singing along in the bleachers.

The band has a big playlist, so of course it could not get to every song.

Which song was their favorite?

“I like ‘Take On Me,’ ” Duchaj said.

“Oh, I like that one, too,” Bloomberg said.

Figures. Take on me, me, me.

Kids these days.

• Northwest Herald sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at and on Twitter @tcmusick.