Purest Pride, Exhausting Experience

January 31, 2011
As we turned that corner onto Colorado Boulevard, I allowed myself a silent cheer. The date was January 1, 2011, and we had finally arrived at the pinnacle of our work, one of the greatest achievements of our young lives. As I stared down that long, long road, memories played, of work, of stress, of endless, mind numbing marching. Finally, after a long, hard trial, we had arrived. And I soaked it all in.


I, of course, was happier than I’d been in months. After all, it’s not every day you march in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. We had been harped at for a full year and a half, “You’re going to the Rose Bowl, this will be a memory you will never forget,” but few of us had realized just how important this would be to us. The tears of pride I felt welling up felt justified and wonderful.


As we marched, we played, of course. And, we had to represent our home town, so what else would we play but St. Louis Blues, the Trolley Song, and, that ever favorite of St. Louis, I Go to Rio. I stared down the neck of my bass clarinet, watching the people on the sides of the streets cheering us on. The world had never felt so right. And then, I saw my director.


As he walked alongside us, I was forcibly reminded of what he must be going through. He had developed cancer, and yet, here he was, refusing to leave his band. The pride in me swelled. To see him there, smiling like a kid in a candy shop, and knowing that we had allowed it, was truly the purest pride I have ever experienced. He looked so proud and just downright happy. Any thoughts I had of how uncomfortable I was were purged from my mind.


The band was nearing the halfway point, when we heard the loudest cheering of the day. Our families who paid to come with us, all sitting in the makeshift grandstands, suddenly were jumping up and down, screaming and shouting with pride. We again were reminded just how much support we had. The two hundred or so parents and siblings were only the tip of the iceberg. We knew, back home, our families and friends were cheering us on, just as much.


After much marching through the city, we neared the end of the five and a half mile route. They stopped us about two tenths of a mile from the end, but we assumed we were done. In our premature celebration, we must have had 3 huge group hugs, before the directors rallied us to go on to the end. But when we reached the end, how amazing it felt. When they let us break ranks, again, we all started hugging each other, cracking jokes, and just reveling in the glow of the moment. Seniors were crying together, directors were laughing right along with us, and those not truly devoted finally saw the error of their ways.


I watched the varied reactions, and realized with a start that it was over. The seniors would graduate, people would drop marching band between this and next year, and I would lose good friends and people I viewed as an extended family. And then, the moment passed and I reveled in the celebration just like everyone else. ‘Why worry about it now, at this moment?’ I thought to myself, and then ran off with the last of my energy to the buses to get some food and, more importantly, something to drink. Then, me and my closest friends shared a meal, and returned to the hotel.





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Kalicat said...
Jul. 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm
love this.... I like how you're all serious and deep and really make me think.... then go back to "why worry, lets go have fun!" at the end
 
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