This past weekend I geeked out on marching band. I didn't mean to, but I couldn't help myself.
It started simple enough. I was doing some writing on the computer and a calendar alert I had pre-set up reminded me to check out a friend's band online. Man, they were great. I mean, REALLY great! Creative concept, brilliantly designed, and flawlessly executed. So then I thought, "What's one more band? I mean, they probably won't be as good, and then I'll get back to work."
But they were. And it didn't stop there.
The hits just kept coming, group after group, getting better and better. Big and small. Modern and classical. Abstract and tchotchke. Band after band, show after show. They just kept getting better. I was like a Netflix super fan, binge-watching my favorite show, but my obsession was only eight minutes, and featured a cast of characters consisting mainly of high school kids having the time of their lives.
As you can imagine, not a lot of writing got done on Friday.
But it continued the following day.
On Saturday, my son's high school band hosted the State Marching Contest. I signed up to volunteer as a stadium and gate attendant. As a stadium attendant, in addition to controlling traffic flow during the performances, I could watch the bands. And the groups were outstanding! At the end of my first shift, I talked my way into keeping the same slot for the next shift, which meant watching MORE BANDS.
And yes, despite the pleas of my family (who wanted to go home),
I ended up staying and working the rest of the show. IT WAS AWESOME!
The day was filled with stunning visual and musical moments and, most of all, with smiling kids, proud teachers and supportive parents.
As I think back on the weekend, I am filled with such gratitude for the activity and the teachers who facilitate it . In the end, I love that:
You challenge them in ways that no one else does.
You keep children active in a sedentary world.
You make them put their phones away for a couple of hours a day.
You help kids experience beauty and precision at the same time.
You make them laugh and cry.
You keep them in the bleachers and off the streets.
You surround them with other like-minded kids and parents.
You teach them to root for and respect their opponents.
You give parents a place to serve their children.
You create memories that will last a lifetime.
Yes, this activity is a little bit insane and consumes far too much time, effort, and money. But, if you think in its absence, the time, energy, and money would be better spent elsewhere, I would call bull.
At least for my family and me.
Like many of you, my son leaves for school at 6:30 a.m. and comes home exhausted at 7:30 p.m. only to scarf down some food and begin his homework. Through it all, he has learned to manage his time and balance it with his academic workload. He has taken on a new instrument and traveled to new places. He is surrounded by new friends, out of harm's way, and making a unique and special memories.
So yeah, I'll geek out on marching band with a grateful heart and little sense of remorse. Remorse? Yes, I am sad that I no longer get to do that anymore as a teacher.
So, while my days on a podium may be in my past, should you need, I am more than ready, willing, and able to be your stadium attendant!
I should warn you, I get distracted easily.
Have a great week.