The Silent Thoughts of a Seasoned Guard Instructor the Night Before the First Show

debaseinstallMarching Band

Last Saturday I celebrated the start of my 20th band season in Florida. On this somewhat august occasion, the eve of the Seminole Sound Spectacular, I ran through all the shows I’ve taken to Seminole. I thought about the bands I had been with; some good and some bad. I thought about the many hours I have stood behind the middle school across the street from the stadium, warming up this colorguard or that one. Counting, clicking, 5,6,7,8ing. I am 44 years old. Some would say that I’m a little too long in the tooth to be standing out in the hot sun, warming up 15 year old’s holding flag poles. On the night before, I was thinking and planning the day, when I had a frightening thought. I looked over at my seven year old son and thought, “Dear God. There are kids in the guard who were 6 when he was born. Six!”

So I was picking out my outfit for the day, when I wondered what my peers were thinking and if their thoughts were the same. Mine went something like this.

 “I wonder what I’ll wear tomorrow. Who will I see? I should look cute.”

 “Who am I kidding? I’m 44 years old. It’s going to be 150 degrees outside. Can I just wear the same thing I’m wearing to the morning rehearsal? No. That will look tacky.”

 “Crap I have rehearsal tomorrow morning. I have to get up around 7 a.m…on a Saturday. I’m so over this lifestyle. I have to go to practice, come home, shower, get ready, drive to the show, warm up the guard. When will I get to eat?’

“I guess I’ll wear something cute, I never get to dress cute anymore.”

“When’s the earliest I can have a cocktail?”

“The Hunger Games comes on tomorrow night. I really want to see the Hunger Games. I should record it. Nah. I’ll be home. I can’t deal with all the other bands. I’ll come home after we perform, but not too soon. I want to seem supportive of the other teams.”

“So I have two hours with the guard at practice tomorrow. What do I want to accomplish? It’s going to be so hot. I hate the heat. While I’m at it, I hate Florida. Why is it so hot in October here! Just once can we get the first show where it isn’t 95 degrees in the shade?’

“Will 8:00 a.m. be too early for a cocktail?”

“We haven’t done the opener since band camp. I should probably work on that. I hope I can still remember the counts. I don’t have time to deal with the counts. I’ll just yell at them and tell them to blend.”

“Come to think of it. We haven’t really done basics since band camp. I’ll just tell them to blend.”

“Who is in our class? Who can we beat? I really don’t have time to deal with the opener. We barely got the 3rd song on the field last week. I hope they practiced it. They didn’t practice. I have to work that first.”

“Crap. We still have to work getting on and off the field.”

“Who is on the panel? Oh I don’t care. If we can’t get on and off the field it won’t matter whose judging us.”

“I wonder if anyone will be there who will hang out with me.”

“If there isn’t anyone to hang with, then I could easily go home after we perform and no one will care. I could be home in time to see Hunger Games; with a pint of Haagen dazs and a cocktail.”

“My life is sad.”

“Wouldn’t it be fun to win guard? Who am I kidding. We won’t win guard. We don’t even know how to get on and off the field and the opener is still a mess.”

“Just once I would like to go to the first contest with the entire show finished. Why does it take so long for bands in Florida to get their shows done? Why do marching band shows have to be so long? Do we really need 5 songs?”

“I can’t do this anymore. I’m too old. I’m too tired. I hate standing outside in that hot, never ending, scorching, blistering sun.”

“Everything I have in my closet makes me look fat. I need to go buy something new after rehearsal.”

“No. I refuse. Not for marching band. I’ll just wear jeans. No, jeans will be too hot. I’ll wear shorts.”

“I need to go to bed. 7:00 a.m. comes early. I should stop at Dunkin Donuts and get coffee.”

“I need to have a drink before I go to bed. No telling when I’ll get another one.”

“Why don’t they sell cocktails at band contests?”

“I hope the kids get some sleep tonight.”

“Please. They probably went out after the football game to God knows where, to do God knows what.”

“Yeah. I need a drink before bed. I’ll be up all night if I don’t.”

“I can’t believe tomorrow is another Seminole Sound. I was 28 years old doing my 4th Seminole Sound, when my guard captain was born. I am so freaking old.”

“Yeah…I definitely need a drink before I go to bed.”

“I need to get psyched up for this. Change my mindset.”

“I hope they are ready to go. I can do this. We can do this. Get it Shelba. You’ve got experience. You’ve got wisdom. Woman power! Get it girl!”

5 minutes later…

glass…ice…Absolute…orange juice…cranberry juice…mix…shake…pour

“Cheers! And may the odds be ever in my favor!”