I am not an amazing clarinet player, but I love it. When I tell people I play in a quintet*, they immediately ask what instrument. I say the clarinet and the conversation kind of ends. The clarinet is often seen as the vanilla of musical instruments. It has value by itself, but is made a lot more interesting with others mixed in. It is not exotic, lots of people play it, and doesn't have a big cool factor. It is true that in the quintet, my part bounces around. One minute I am with the melody (flute and oboe) and the next with the bass (french horn and bassoon). My role is usually the filler. I am ok with that. To me, it means that I get to play a bigger variety of music. The clarinet is awesome that it can play high and low. My range is huge. I love its mellow sound. It isn't squeaky like the oboe, piercing like the flute, or nasally like the saxophone. It is a warm sound that fills me with joy. I can't imagine not playing it.
*a woodwind quintet is comprised of: flute, oboe, clarinet, french horn, bassoon