Your Last Preformance

It’s twelve o’clock on a windy Saturday in November at your high school football field. The smells of sweat and sunscreen fill your nose as you slowly make your way up to the fifty-yard line towards the instruments. Taking in all the sounds of your fellow high schoolers warming up and talking about nothing important. You’re going to miss this next year. In four hours everyone will be on the band bus making their way to Manatee High. You make it to your section of five other crazy people who decided to join the marching band family. You uncover the cracked wooden keys and take out the faded mallets. Half an hour later the band is all warmed up and ready to practice the show. The band director is yelling into the microphone about what pages the band will be working on and what he hopes you will accomplish. The drum major yells “Set!” and everything is silent for the first time that practice. All of a sudden you hear the echoes of the music coming off the old, metal bleachers of the stadium. Comments and criticisms are delivered to everyone for another two and half hours. Finally the director says, “One more time, then we will pack it up everyone.”
An hour later everything has been loaded into that huge orange and black trailer ready for the long journey ahead. You make it to the racks of uniform bags through the crowd of seventy other people and find the bag with your number. Jacket, bibbers, socks, shoes. It’s all ready to go. Everyone moves outside into their sections for roll call. Percussion is always on the right behind the guard. Attendance is taken and the yellow busses pull up. They call the seniors to go on first, and you walk up the four steps onto the bus, grab your best friend, and steal the window seat. The sticky, blue seats and colorful seatbelts are all too familiar. The AC and radio are on full blast. Guard girls are already layering their faces with makeup and the smell of hairspray starts to consume the bus. You wonder if you’ll be able to stay awake through the forty-five minute ride. Your friend starts to do your hair while you gaze out the handprint covered window. The sites are all the same; old cars, gas stations, rundown houses, tall buildings, and power lines as long as the highway.
Then bus driver announces that you’ve made it to Manatee High. You hurry off the bus to go to the trailer and unload your instrument. You push the huge marimba over the bumpy parking lot and though the many holes of the sidewalk toward the all familiar soccer field. You set up and you feel your hands starting to shake and get clammy. As the band director is giving you his last motivational speech, you feel the sweat running down your face. You can’t wait to perform and show the judges that this mighty band deserves to be here and take a spot in the top three. Everyone can already taste the victory before you even go under the blinding lights of the football field. The wind starts to pick up. The shiny red pickup truck is here to pack up the pit and bring you in front of the judges. The clouds start to cover up the sun. You can feel the adrenaline starting to rush through your veins as you start shoving your equipment onto the field. The rain starts to collect into water droplets on the wooden keys. You see the lightning in front of you, but you know you must stand at attention and commit to your last performance. You hear the words, “Drum Major is your band ready?” You watch as the powerful leader above you gives his salute to the crowd. “Mighty Sailor Band, you may take the field in competition.” The rain pours down on the band but you are all ready for this moment after four months of long hours outside in the sweltering sun…You. Are. Ready.






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