"And this one time... at Band Camp...."
Well, my stories weren't ever like the movies. Band Camp for me was a week of 6 hour rehearsals. I think he most exciting thing that ever happens to me at band camp was when I was pulled off the field because they were afraid I was going to pass out.
This weekend, the price of gas and finances in general caused me to miss my High School Marching Band's Alumni Weekend. I was SERIOUSLY bummed that I couldn't be there.
People asked me why I was so upset. It was just Marching Band. It wasn't ever just band. These kids were my friends, some were my family. We saw each other more than we saw our parents at times. We practiced more than most sports teams (3 hour practices 3 days a week, and all day on Saturday). Our season went longer than most sports teams (July 4th to Halloween). Practice started at 6. If you arrived at 6, you were late. At 6 (weekends it was noon), you were lined up in formation, and silently marching off with your section to start warm up. We took extreme pride in what we did, and it showed.
I went to school before the times that you bubble wrapped your children. We worked hard, and our instructors were more drill instructors than marching instructors. You've all seen them in the movies, the drill instructor that yells in your face after you mess up, and you stand at attention and take it. We had that. But we didn't have one. We had 6. I dropped my equipment and did push ups, not because I was told to, but because I was expected to.
Why this level of perfection? Because we were good. During my three years in band we lost maybe 3 competitions. Total. That pride and excellence stays with a person. That's why 400 aging Bandies showed up to march this past weekend.
I saw film footage of the current band. I actually through they were the Middle School band. Sloppy marching, out of step, bad posture. If that was my day we would have been torn a new one.
But not these days. They won't let the instructors be drill instructors. They have to be nice. You can't hurt anyone's feelings. These kids won't know the feeling of hearing their name being shouted through a blowhorn, followed by explicative and questions about your state of attention. (Yeah... last run through of my last practice... ever... Whole band was stopped because I blew the latter half of opener. Thanks Dan... my mom heard that from the parking lot!)
And as I saw, you don't get the same results when you wrap the kids in bubble wrap.