I Am Not An Athlete This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 10, 2011
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I learned a very profound lesson today. I, Isabella L., am not an athlete. Yes, I participate in organized high school sport, and yes I do enjoy myself at times. But I had quite the moment of self realization today and the story goes a little something like this.

I was standing in line during field hockey tryouts, waiting for my turn to take part in a drill, also known as get yelled at by Ryder. When, out of the blue, I heard a noise. It was faint at first, but it grew within seconds. I recognized this foreign sound as the rhythmic beating of the marching bands quads. At first I was surprised that one could hear the quads from so far away, but then I became curious. I wonder what song they’re playing, I thought to myself. And then ,as if the music gods had heard my inquiries, suspended whole notes flooded my ears and I was reunited after a day away from that familiar chord near the end of the Ultimate Warmup. There I stood, half watching the drill in front of my eyes and half listening to the music playing behind me. That is when I realized how much more I would have loved to be with the band than the field that I stood on.

Now, I’m sure as you are reading this you think I am just complaining because I do not enjoy running. I would not blame you because that is true, I loath running. But there is a deeper meaning behind this story. On the field, there is no sense of team. Yes, we are a team, we are working towards the same goal, we work together, we get the job done. But being a team is so much more than that. Being a team means to be a unit. Where you can bring people from all walks of life together for this one purpose, this one goal, and everyone will preform to the fullest of their abilities and it will the be the experience of a lifetime. That is not what I felt on the field. The varsity girls were supportive, yes. They cheered you on. But when it got right down to it, they were in it for themselves. They dud what was needed to make themselves look good. When we would have water breaks, the cliques among the “team” were obvious. There were the die hard athletes, Ryder’s favorites. The ones who would cut off their own arm if it meant a better spot on varsity. I am not one of them. Yes, I enjoy field hockey. Yes, I like that feeling of a good play and succeeding and doing a great job. But I just had this feeling of not belonging. Like I was an outsider, looking in on a world of athletes.

When I arrived at band, I was instantly greeted by smiles and greetings. I was sweaty. I was hot. I was slightly disgruntled. Yet, despite all that, people welcomed me into their circles of conversation with open arms. We have wonderful people in our music department. Absolutely wonderful people. People make an effort to get to know you, to help you. Upon entering the mass of band students, I felt welcomed, I felt that I belonged. We preformed our show, no stops, and it was not a hassle, it was not a chore. As we moved from set to set, our feet moving in time with the music, and all of our different rhythms and notes lining up seamlessly to create a wonderful mass of sound, I felt a wonderful sense of pride and accomplishment.

People ask me why I love band so much and of course it is for the opportunity to make beautiful music, but it also for the people. If you need a ride, someone can give you one. If you are stuck, someone can help you. If you are down and just need someone to flash you a smile and say hello, they will. If you are jubilant with excitement, someone will share in it with you. There is also an air of respect, among the music department. Yes, we make our little jokes about the different groups and students have tiffs with other students, but we are all here for one main purpose. To make music. You may stand in a robe and sing about animal crackers. You may stand in suspenders and lose yourself in a jazz solo. You may share a dance with a violin. But we are all here to share in, and to learn from, the beautiful world that is music, and to share our talents with the world.

If I leave one mark on this world, let it be this: I am not an athlete, I am a musician.





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