Ode To The End of Marching Band Season…Finally!

debaseinstallMarching Band

A nonsensical blog post for those of us still in the throws of the never ending Florida marching band season.
We are coming to the end of marching band season here in Florida. I haven’t decided if Florida has the longest marching band season in the nation or if you just hit a level of exhaustion with writing a show that at one point seemed cool or cleaning a show with kids that at one point seemed interested, that the exhaustion begins to control your mind, body, and spirit. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the rain. Who knows. Nonetheless…here we are. Band camp starts in July (at a time that seems ridiculously early) in the midst of emblazoned heat, whilst (emphasis on the “T”) marching on a surface filled with a million fire ants that appear to be on crack. Then there is the rain. Will it or won’t it? Of course it will. Plan your schedule around that 8 minute rain fall that mirrors gail force hurricane winds forcing all operations to cease, sending parents into a flurry of panic and kids into a flurry of insanity. Staff stand with drill charts in hand, staring up into a sky opening its fury that surely comes during that one moment when the hardest drill set is being dotted. There is excitement in the air. The kids are in a good space. The staff all love each other. The show is going to be SO cool. Then it begins…
Costume companies and sewing parties. 
This girl quits. 
This girl cries. 
This parent whines. 
Sectionals, ensemble, sectionals, dots.
Rain. Lightening. Rain and hail. 
Costumes are late. Brand new silks are dropped in the mud.  
A guard director rolls her eyes and prays for patience.
The first contest arrives. There is excitement in the air and the first warm up begins. The heat is unbearable as the temperature must have reached 666 degrees before 9:00 a.m. convincing you that Satan has surely taken up residence and adjusted the temperature accordingly.  A band member passes out. A guard girl is carried off the field. It’s only October 1st. 
There is rain. 
The fire ants attack your  feet as you don your brand new opened toe sandals.
Oh why or why did the drum line decide to warm up RIGHT. NEXT.  TO. THE. GUARD!
The judges judge.
Brilliant statements are made such as, “Your show lacks clarity and isn’t finished.” 
Instructors respond with, “No s*** it’s October!”
Scores are given. 
We didn’t win.
I’m cutting the entire sabre line. They never practice!
Excitement dwindles. The General Effect judge expresses his distaste for the green flags that cost $500. The green flags represent all that is good and not evil in life, while attempting to make sense out of a show that only the band director understood during a haze of marijuana’s glory, on a lonely night sometime last May. 
The season trudges on. 
The school’s football team is the best in the state. 
They will surely play football through winterguard season and beyond. 
Pep rallies and halftimes. 
Homecoming routines.
Parades and a special presentation on the local morning show. Arrive at studio at 4:00 a.m.
Football Games.
Practice in the afternoon. Practice at night.
We just don’t practice enough. 
The captain just twisted her ankle…while attempting a running cannon ball in her back yard pool…while drunk from the alcohol the drummers brought to her impromptu band party. Why couldn’t it be the freshman who can’t march in time?
Holy crap we practice too much!
Oh to hell with it. I’m not even sure I’m going to clean that rifle phrase. I don’t care anymore if the girl on the end throws a triple when it was written as a quad.
The bus breaks down. 
A sabre is left at a parking lot in a school 100 miles away.
Does the drum staff completely hate the guard? Why do they insist on warming up next to us every…single…show!
It’s only November 1st. It’s still hot! When does winterguard season start!!
My God this is never going to end!!!

Oh ode to the end of marching band season! Will thou please end this madness soon!

There is a hint of State Finals in the air. It’s almost time. It must be! The Publix Thanksgiving commercials have begun. There is a hint of Christmas around the corner. We are almost there and guess what! I have gotten a second wind! It’s time to clean. It’s time to “kick it into gear.” 
I’m going to clean that rifle phrase. I’m going to make it fabulous!
What do you mean you took out 16 counts of music in the opener and added a drum diddy? What does that mean!
It’s a fury of cleaning.
The final touches.
Do the GE moments work?
I really like our green flags. They are the essence of the show. What do the judges know anyway?
Clean it. Fix it. Water it.
Are you serious? They are changing the closer again!!
Who is judging our class at state?
Who can I bribe?
We’re screwed. He hates us. He saw us in October and said our green flags don’t make sense!
I need new flags! I must get the yellow flags that he mentioned seven times including in the wrap up!
I’m…so…stressed…out! I couldn’t get that one girl to the 5 yard line to do the big closer flag feature. SHE’S STILL ON THE 50 YARD LINE!! That’s it. I’m cutting her next year! She will be the death of us!
It’s the big day. It’s State. Prelims. I don’t care if we make finals. I just want them to do a good show. Who am I kidding. That GE judge better NOT screw us over those green flags. I love these kids. They deserve finals. It’s been such a struggle. It’s been such a year. I’m so proud. I’m so STRESSED! The sabre line better not drop the hilt five that is thrown in total silence. Why did I put that in the show!! I really thought they could handle it!
In my best outfit.
In my best shoes.
We walk to the gate.
They look great.
They look ready.
Their eyes speak to me of a year of victory and defeat.
It was a year of struggle.
We lost some along the way.
We never found the missing sabre.
There were tears. There was laughter. 
Today there are hugs.
I don’t care how they do. It’s their day. It’s their memory to make.
They better make finals.
I did what I could and I can’t do any more. 
I wouldn’t change one moment in the rain and in the ants. 
I wouldn’t take away a single tear and I will never forget the laughter.
I will look back and laugh at the drum staff hell bent on drowning our our boom box. 
I love the green flags.
The gate opens.
They set their equipment.
They stare up toward the sky.
They find the judge with the green flag obsession.
I watch them from a million miles away. I have shared in their joy and their dreams. I have taught them through my life’s experiences and now their face looking up at me is teaching through theirs. It’s time to start. 
“You may take the field for competition.” 
In just a few short minutes…the wait will be over.
In just a few short minutes we will know.
A season comes to an end. 
A bar awaits in my future.
In just a few short minutes..a cocktail will be placed in my hands.
I’m going to just have one. 
Oh who am I kidding. I’m going to have five.
They will be strong.
They will be well deserved.
They will be mine!
Oh hell give me the bottle.
Ode to the marching band cocktail.
Ode to the end of marching band season.