Dig One Big Hole

You can dig a bunch of shallow ditches or one big hole. 

That was a sentence told to me by Mark Blanpied, one of the best harmonica players I’ve ever met. 

I started backing up my dad on drums at age 12. By 15, I was playing all over town and pretty damn good for a teenage upstart drummer. 

I picked up guitar at 15 when I realized you can’t sing love songs for your girlfriend with a drum kit. Or at least, it’s really hard to take it camping.

I got pretty good at guitar fairly quickly. Good enough to sing songs I knew and loved. Good enough to write my own. Good enough to get a song on the local Waco radio station at 16 with my first band. 

That’s when I reached out to Mark to see if he would teach me harmonica. I wanted to be like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. But he said no. 


When I asked why, he said, “Daniel you are already a great drummer and you’re becoming a great guitar player. You can either spend the time you have perfecting those things and become world class, or you can keep branching out and be mediocre at a bunch of different instruments. You can dig a bunch of shallow holes, or you can dig one big ditch.” 

I took that to heart. 

And it still drives me today. 

I find many things interesting. I dabble in a lot of random pursuits and random facts. On a regular basis, I find myself diving into things I love and following the rabbit down the hole. Sometimes it becomes a part of my life. Sometimes it becomes things stuffed in a closet  discovered years later under boxes of Christmas decorations.

In the moments when I’ve followed the trail so far that I’m arguing with the Queen of Hearts and talking to a disappearing cat that I realize I’ve forgotten that advice. 

It’s when I find myself, like Frodo feeling , “….like  butter that has been scraped over too much bread.” 

I’m reminded to pull back, simplify my life, focus, and do my best at a few things. 

I’m grateful that one of them is Wizard Academy and Whisky Marketing School. It’s an honor to be a part of this journey with so many fascinating humans. 

Daniel Whittington – Chancellor