It was one of those days. You know what I'm talking about. You get to the school incredibly early on a Saturday, carrying your band bag and a McDonalds bag with you. You walk through the Band Room doors and throw the band bag in "your" spot. A few people are here, but it's still early. The schedule is posted up on the board for today's competition. You give it a glance, but don't really care at the moment.
You head out into the hallway to eat your breakfast/lunch. Several people are out there doing the same. You find a friend and sit, talking about whatever comes up. You two joke about what you saw on Family Guy, or some random perverted joke that you had made up about Dora the Explorer. You finish eating, and try to convince your friend to throw your trash away. Of course it usually doesn't work, so you have to get up and do it yourself. As you go up to the Band Doors, you see a sign shaped as an arrow. The arrow points to the Band Room, saying "FEAR THIS ROOM". You laugh and show your friend.
As you walk into the room, you see there's more people here. You part with your friend for a minute to go look at the board. You got 30 minutes until everyone has to go to the field for a last minute practice. An hour and a half until you leave to where the competition is being held. Which just so happens to be four hours away. You walk over to where you had thrown you stuff. You notice that your best friends/secret crush dropped his stuff off next to yours. You smile and look around the room for him. You finally spot him in the equipment room trying to get his instrument. The both of you start talking, complaining on how early we had to wake up to get to the school on time. Or how long the drive is to this other school.
You hear the Band Director and section leaders yell "Flush!". You scurry to get your instrument while your best friend watches and laughs at you hurrying around to get everything you need. The both of you finally leave and find a group of your friends and talk to everyone (mainly him) as you go to the field. You go off into your section so the whole band can start warming up. After playing some scales and parts of the show music you go into what ever set the director wants.
As you try to concentrate on rolling your feet and playing, plus going wherever it is you're going, you try to glance at the Drum Major. You realize you're marching a little too fast, so you slow down some. The director yells "Ok, one more time!" Which really means let's do it five more times. The director makes some corny joke that you laugh at anyway. People are corrected on their playing or marching. This goes on for another hour. Finally you hear the director tell everyone to gather around him. He gives a speech on how we all should do our best. That we'll kick butt there and bring home the trophies. You smile, hoping that all this hard work will pay off.
You're all told to put your instruments on the trailers now and go back to the band room. You walk back with friends, talking and laughing. You get to the Band Room and gather up your stuff. You go outside to where the busses are. Before you can get on though, you must go to your section. Everyone is lined up in a row. Usually from 1st to 3rd part. Someone calls attention, and everyone (well almost everyone) goes silent. Somewhere in another section you hear a section leader scold someone for talking after attention was called. You can already guess who was yelled at.
The band as a whole does whatever rituals that it may have. Then each section does their own rituals. You hear someone in your own section yell "SWEEPS!" and the band starts cheering. You smile and join in.
You finally get on your Band Bus and take the seat you assigned to yourself. Taking out your iPod you put one ear bud in. You still want to be able to talk to your friends. Your best friend/crush sits in his seat which happens to be behind you. You turn around and talk to him for a minute until everyone is called to attention for Roll Call. The bus gets on it's way for the long drive.
For the ride you came prepared. You brought your iPod, food, paper and markers, and whatever else you might need. You pass by stores and homes. Your best friend points out a place and tells a random story about what happened once when he went there. You start to "dance" to the music your listening to. You "Vogue It" and any other dance that's possible to do while sitting. You both notice that people in cars passing by are giving you weird looks. When you get to a red light a car pulls up next to the bus. You tell him to watch and you make funny faces at the other car. You see little kids in there looking at you and laughing. You turn back to him and he's too laughing.
About 2 hours into the ride you fall asleep. You're still half awake, and half asleep though. When you fully wake up you look over to see that he's looking down at his own iPod. He looks up at you and says something like "Hey, you're awake." You go back to talking and you remember that you had your paper and markers. You take it out and start drawing. You show it to him and he starts laughing. Taking it up, he adds more to it. 20 minutes later you both are smiling at the finished project. He takes it and puts it up against his window so everyone driving by can see it.
After another few hours of laughing and joking around you arrive that the school. You stretch out your legs and go to where your bands seats are. You and your friends all sit around each other. The director tells you all the rules and lets you loose. You go to the food stands to grab a bite to eat. You both go back to your seats and watch the other bands perform. You judge them and point out mistakes made, or try to figure out what the show is. You have to constantly drink water or Gatorade since it's so hot out. Finally it starts to cool some as night rolls on it. You hear the director yell to get to the trailers; we'll be performing soon. You hear scattered groans and complaints.
You get your uniform, and search through the many instrument cases to get yours. You walk over to you group of friends and get dressed. You put the case back on the trailer and talk to friends until it's time to warm up. As you hear someone tell everyone to get to the warm up area you start to feel a little nervous. Sure you have a couple competitions under your belt, but you still feel those jitters.
You reach the warm up area and get with your sections. You get in concert formation and start to do the basics. Then you move onto your show music. It's become very cold by now. You're told to blow warm air through your instrument. Everyone tunes their instrument and you know that after this next band, your up.
The other band is still playing, but you start to march up to the field. Other bands pass you to go to the warm up area and wish you good luck. You smile back at them and nod your head.
Finally it's your bands turn. The announcer reads all the "Band O' Grams" that was meant for your band. You smile and laugh at some of them. Most are inside jokes that no one fully understands outside the band. The others that aren't inside jokes, you can hear the audience laugh at.
When the announcer is done, you hear the Drumline begin playing. Everyone marches onto the field to their spots. You do very last minute checks. Mouth piece in all the way? Check. Valve buttons (AN: Sorry forgot the name for them) twisted in all the way? Check. Gloves on tight? Check.
Then you do this another three times. Finally you hear the announcer say "You may take the field". Now you know it's time to put all that hard work to good use. For a little less than ten minutes you march the show. You do your best to remember where to step, how many steps it takes to get there, to dress, to play the music right, make sure you do the visuals and to keep your feet with the beat. You curse under your breath a few times when you do screw up. You can't help but smile when you hear the guy behind you do the same. It feels like the show goes by so fast that it's actually a 2 minute show and not 9 and a half.
You finish on the final set and the last note is played. You look over to the Drum Major to see him saluting the audience and he turns back around to the band. This is the cue for the Drumline to start playing and everyone to march off the field. Once everyone is off, and we're a little bit away form the field, everyone yells and cheers. You go up to a friend and start shaking them and bouncing up and down from sheer hyperness. They do the same and the whole band is still cheering. You hear someone start a "Hoorah" (AN: My band does this, & boy do I love it.) and you yell it at the top of your lungs. Everyone is smiling and having a great time. You know there were mess-ups, but you all did great. You put the instruments up, and head back to the stands, forcing yourself to shut up while another band is playing.
Finally it's time for Scores. You don't really pay attention to the other band division scores. Once it's your division though, you listen as if your life depended on it. Guard:1 Drumline:1 Overall Band:1. Everything that was able to be ranked was a one. The band cheers and yells even louder than when we got off the field. You're forced to be quiet so the other bands can hear their scores. You find out that your band ranked 4th place out of 18 bands.
You're all hyped up as you go back to the busses. You see that another Band Bus is next to yours that's not from your school. You hear someone say that they want to start a "We Got Spirit" with them, but a Band Parent quickly tells them not to.
For the first hour or two of the ride back to the school your awake talking to friends. But after that, you basically fall into a coma until you arrive back at the school.
You pick up gear from the trailers and haul it into the Band Room. You quickly take off your uniform and hang it up on the hanger. Although your about to fall asleep on your feet, you wait in line to give a Band Parent your uniform so it can be put away. Once your done you can finally leave the school. You say good bye to all your friends one last time. Then you go straight home. You change quickly and just pass out onto your bed. You sleep all night and through most of the next day. By the time you do get up, it's almost three in the afternoon. You laugh and get up to get something to eat. As you do this, you think of the night before and smile.
Yea, it can be a pain to be in Marching Band sometimes. Especially those long competition days. But I wouldn't change 'em at all.
AN: My dear God that took awhile to write. I've been sitting here for 2 hours if not more. It's already 4:37 in the morning. Ugh. My head hurts.
All of this is based on my own competition days. Some of those competitions were mixed to make this one. Like my band does the "Can I Get A Hoorah", my section has weird traditions to do before each game and comp, and we always yell and cheer after we come off the field. (At comps)
Well, I did enjoy remembering my past Marching Season, but I'm tired. Hope you enjoyed it. Late.