Monday, September 2, 2013

Fiday Night Lights a Bust

All that excitement over the first game of the season, all the worry over involvement and it may be a moot point.

The evening started off fine. I got to the band hall in plenty of time and took pictures and just sat and watched. Of course I'm used to the previous band director so many things were different, some a nice change of pace, others just different-not they way we're used to doing things. I heard several kids say they wished ms former band director was still there--even kids who butted heads with her.

I thought the buses were late, but in fact, we made it to Dallas and the host school in plenty of time, despite having difficulty finding the school tucked away as it was in a neighborhood. For the last three years, we've always had two buses for the kids and a truck for the instruments and paraphernalia. We had two buses for the kids, the instruments, and six adults. Can you say crowded? And hot. I got lucky and somehow ended up on the equipment bus with only a half dozen kids, one other parent, and the assistant band director.

Still, though, the evening was going along. Everyone seemed in fairly good spirits.

So we get to the other school, pile off the buses, and head into the stands. One good bit of luck--the school had no visitor stands. For those of you who don't live in Texas or eat, sleep, and breathe football--every, and I do mean every--football field/stadium I have been to is built so that home stands face east and visitor stands face west. That means visitors have the setting sun shining right into their faces for a good hour or two. At the beginning of the school year here in Texas, it's HOT HOT HOT!

We settle in place--with bass drums in front of brass--HUH??--and prepare to play the fight song. Half the kids don't know their music and they're not allowed to bring their binders with sheet music into the stands. Nor have they been given the little mini music things or lyres to attach to their instruments. We're not starting off well at all. Even to my untrained eye.

So we begin the first half of the game...and the kids are not playing much. Percussion is allowed to play a few cadences, but stand songs are few and far between, so the rest of the sections are a bit restless.

And eventually a fight broke out! First real altercation I've seen between band students since Sonshine and I have been in band. I know one of the boys already had something stuck in his craw before the game even started, however, had those children been playing music, the likelihood of that fight breaking out was slim to none. They would have been too busy playing to have any sort of conversation. Both boys were suspended and I heard one was kicked out completely. A shame.

So then it's almost half time and the kids leave the stands to prep for the half time show.... Since show music isn't even ready, not even a single movement, they're going to play a song for the color guard to dance to. Those poor girls, I come to find out, had three days to prepare a routine without a color guard instructor. Not good. I felt really bad for them, bless their hearts. Five returning members with a single year under their belt trying to teach five new girls a routine.

Sonshine's already feeling the disappointment creep up on him. And after the snack break, he spent most of the second half sitting with his fist in his hands. And did the band director or assistant band director notice? No. Because (a) he was hidden behind the bass drums and (b) the band director was busy facing the field and not the band...

Then the lights got turned off with six minutes of game of play left. The game ended up being called. And we packed up our stuff and made the long journey home.

Not an auspicious start to the season.

I told my boy to not think about the band for the weekend. It's a long weekend and to just give it a rest, however, I woke up this morning thinking that he needed to at least let them know how he was feeling and give the band a chance to step up. I don't know if he will or if it will make a difference, but I'd hate for him just quit with attempting to effect the change he's looking for.

I'm feeling sad and disappointed on my boy's behalf right now. I told him I'd go talk to the band or send an e-mail to the band director if he wanted, but he's a big boy and I don't want to embarrass him either, so we'll see how it plays out.


Regina Richards said...

Bummer. For everyone. But especially for the seniors. Many are likely counting on their Band experience to make a difference on college applications (and it does make a difference). Others are probably bummed that their final year isn't getting off to a very positive start. Sorry to hear it. Hope things improve quickly.

Unknown said...

Change is always difficult. Hopefully things will take a turn for the better!

Jen FitzGerald said...

Thanks, Regina and Lara. We'll see what Sonshine does today.