The first time I noticed Elijah Grooms was around this time last year during a basketball practice at Winter Springs. It was during the time-honored zig zag dribble drill where a dribbler attempts to advance the ball against a defender trying to cut him off or turn him. Elijah had a low center of gravity, balance and lightning quick feet, and turned the dribbler effortlessly. This man can defend. At that point however, it did not appear he could do much else. He was quiet, not particularly skilled, and despite what appeared to be a left arm attached to his body, did not actually have a left arm. He played summer team camps, and showed some athleticism and aggression, but vanished….to play football.
My son Camden Pink’s first interest in music centered around The Beatles and 90’s grunge. He coupled this taste with an air of musical sophistication suggesting that any other form of music was simply beneath him, and perhaps not worthy of even being called music. In this regard his was quite compelling, and in deference “Yesterday” became a part of the Latin Music Institute’s set list.
In October of last year, Elijah returned to open gym at the end of football. To be honest, Mr. Charm and I were not even sure he would come out to play as we had heard so little from him during football season. He was a different player. His speed and tenacity dominated the freshman (plus Chicharito) games. He showed a capacity to hit shots and given his stature unlikely ability to rebound. He was on the map.
I was laying in bed one day, when I heard Camden playing “Baby” by Justin Beiber on the acoustic guitar with Holland and Bryson singing along. Not wanting to ruin the moment, the trio blasted through Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and Stevie Wonder. A musical transformation was afoot.
Elijah had a terrific freshman season with the basketball team. He was a dynamic defender, rebounder and on the strength of his 280 shots taken a productive, if high shot volume scorer.
Camden, Steven Kench and Joe Peloso formed the band Man Down. They publicly debuted during the school’s accoustic show in the fall covering “Adam’s Song” by Blink 182. The picked up several gigs and local bars and coffee shops as well.
At some point late in our basketball season, I heard Elijah was a singer….and that he was cut from the school talent show. In a related note, Man Down was banned from said talent show for antics dating back to the acoustic show in the fall.
After the passing of Xiomara, Camden and I listened to a video Elijah posted on his facebook page, a heartfelt rendition of “Isn’t She Lovely”, and reached the conclusion that Elijah should not have been cut from the talent show.
Last Saturday, Elijah and Camden got together to jam. We started downstairs in the living room with “Thinking About You” and “I’m Yours”, then moved upstairs and recorded several songs on the computer. It was a great experience. On Monday, Camden and Elijah performed “Thinking About You” at the school
Next Thursday night Elijah, Camden and RJ Bradley are taking the act on the road to The White Cup Coffeehouse in Sanford for open mic night. Show starts at 8pm.