Let me preface this by saying: it has been four years since I last touched the field. Four years since the sweltering hell that is summer band camp, and four years since I ruined my makeup after the uncontrollable tears that came after our last show.
I don’t miss anything about high school. The people who were the most important to me stayed in contact, and the rest are acquaintances that I see every six months or so when (or if) I return home. Post-high school life is much better, college is much better, and not having to depend on my parents every time I need gas money… much better.
The only aspect of high school I miss is marching band. Yes, I know how much of a loser that makes me sound, but band was the only creative outlet I had while I was in school. Band gave me 5 out of 6 of my best friends. Band gave me an excuse to look like shit every morning (“Oh yeah this is what I wore during morning rehearsal"). Band, of all things, gave me the confidence I needed to make it through senior year.
I am more than happy I did not continue my band career in college. It’s surprisingly fun to go to a football game and not have to worry about getting ready for a performance. It’s fun to watch your school’s band and think, “lol, that could’ve been me down there”.
My band-rant comes from a silly moment of today. I was trying to find a video on YouTube of a deer crashing through the window of an American Eagle in my hometown (check it out though), and the suggested videos showed the performance from my senior year. I hadn’t watched that show in four years.
Aside: By no means, was that my favorite year of band. In all honestly, it probably ranks third out of my four years, for drama I’m sure all bands go through. Still, I loved that show with all my heart. It was the show (minus my number one pick, and maybe a winter guard show) that I felt the most pride in my performance.
Finding this show led me down a 45-minute rabbit hole, where I watched shows from various years. While I loved band, what I loved was the family. I hate being the queen of cliché, but here we go:
My guard/band family were the people I was closest to during my high school career. I had other friends and I didn’t live and breathe band, but I went to these people for the good and bad. For the order and chaos. Even the ones I don’t talk to every day—four years later—are easy to carry a conversation with whenever I return home.
I suppose I don’t miss band, but I miss the rush I got when I performed. I miss "fight(ing) ‘til the bitter freakin’ end", and I miss having such a big family.
Part of growing up is moving on, and I believe it’s important not to think: “Man, I wish I were in high school band again.”
I don’t wish that. And I wouldn’t do it over again, because it wouldn’t be nearly as perfect. But I’d love to have a kid come home one day struggling to throw a double or making that God-awful sound that clarinets make when they’re first learning (sorry mom). I’d love for the people that are still in band now to remember every moment (and if you hate it…quit ASAP). Now, I don’t have an excuse to look like shit on the daily or dance in front of my mirror. I don’t have that family connection between people that I used to have and love. But I’m graduating college soon. I’m starting a new family. And I still have the memories, pictures, and the old guard uniforms to laugh at whenever I’m feeling nostalgic.
(ps- if you were in my band and want any of these pictures/videos removed, let me know)