Last Saturday night, I and a couple friends gathered at my apartment to watch the Battle at Bristol (the UT-VA Tech football game that was held at the Bristol Motor Speedway — UT won, by the way). I was the one who suggested watching, but I’m not sure why I did, because football on its own isn’t terribly interesting to me. While I have come to appreciate sports much more than I did in high school, I enjoy the cultural and social aspects much more than the actual event. I do enjoy watching basketball and hockey, especially if I’m actually at the game, but at football games I sometimes forget that we’re there to actually watch football. I get distracted watching fans, cheerleaders, and my favorite, the band.
I’m partial to the band because I played flute for a long time (and I WILL pick it up again once I graduate, mark my words). I was homeschooled, so I never had the opportunity to march, but I wish I’d had the chance. My mom played trombone in her high school marching band and has always said it was the best part of school. Of the friends I have who have marched, not one of them has ever regretted doing it, and most of them wish they could go back and do it again.
But of the few football games I’ve been to, no one but band members get excited about the band, and that is seriously a tragedy. Here’s why football fans should tear their eyes away from their beloved players and take a moment to appreciate the marching band.
- Band kids work hard. To even get into a college band, you have to be relatively good at your instrument and must go through an audition process before you can play with the band. Then, most bands require their players to arrive at school before the fall semester starts so they can go through a week or two of band camp, which are all-day rehearsals (in the summer, so it’s ridiculously hot) where the band learns both their music for the season and their marching show. Any band kid will tell you it’s intense, and it’s not uncommon for kids to pass out from the heat. Just try to tell me that’s not as hard or harder than football players running drills and practicing.
- Band = great atmosphere. Marching bands generate so much hype and team spirit it’s ridiculous. Can you imagine sitting through a college or high school game without the band playing snippets of pop songs as reactions to plays? How boring would that be?
- Band kids are hilarious. Have you ever sat near the band and just watched them during a game? If you haven’t, you should. Band kids are the best at goofing off while getting stuff done at the same time, and it’s super entertaining. The drum line at my school likes to play by themselves after the marching show is over, and they have so much fun with it that it makes me wish I was down there with them.
- Marching shows are super cool. Firstly, most schools play pop music for games, which is fun for everyone (especially the band kids, because then they have to turn around and play classic composers in concert band). Secondly, while they’re playing fun music (by memory, I might add), they walk around in fun shapes and have color guard members throwing flags everywhere and they’re usually wearing funny hats and how is that not so fun to watch?
- Band kids are passionate. After college, marching bands disappear. Maybe they exist, but I have never heard of a professional marching band. Kids who march don’t do it because they’re trying to further their careers or gain recognition, they do it because they love it. Why else would anyone subject themselves to hours of practice in the hot sun, late nights at games, and sore mouths/fingers/arms/backs from doing all those things?
Band is awesome, and more people need to appreciate it, so next time you’re at a college game, just take a minute or two to watch the band. I promise you won’t regret it.