From my P.O.V: Marching Band in Indiana

The family behind the field show

By Lindsay Goddard

Lindsay Goddard_optOn the first day of school, my literature teacher asked us to anonymously write the thing about ourselves we are most proud of, and put it on the wall. One little pink Post-It hanging on the corner of the whiteboard read: “band geek.”

When people ask me why I am in band, I never know what to say. No one understands why we spend over 14 hours a week working on the same eight minutes of music. I usually smile and shake my head, as I can’t even begin to explain it.

The reality is, all the tough days and all the times we are pushed to our limits and forced past them are what make the work worth all of the literal blood, sweat and tears.

On the outside, we look like one huge clique of band nerds. On the inside, it isn’t any different, and the best part is, none of us care. I have met some of my best friends in marching band. They are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met and will ever meet.

It was not until we all went to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Indiana that I realized just how much they all mean to me.

Music started blaring and band kids started getting up and dancing with the waiter. The band directors and parent volunteers all went up too. By the end of the night, we had an entire restaurant full of people dancing and singing to Taylor Swift.

Homestead Marching Band in Monument Square in Indianapolis. Photo courtesy of Jim Zumsteg.
Homestead Marching Band in Monument Square in Indianapolis. Photo courtesy of Jim Zumsteg.

After placing 19th on a national level in semifinals in Indianapolis, nobody on the field could be happier.

This was my first year as a student leader, and I still remember meeting the freshmen who joined in May, when they had never touched a flag, or marched at all. From day one to the final show, watching their nervous smiles in the Homestead gym and their huge smiles on the jumbotron at Lucas Oil Stadium in front of a screaming audience, was the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced.

Inside Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time. Photo courtesy of Jim Zumsteg

Walking into Lucas Oil, I was so nervous and scared of being consumed by the huge stadium. Blinking hard to adjust to the bright stadium lights, I looked up at the silent room, at the big awaiting crowd. I said good luck to the people who lift me in the show one final time, and after one more deep breath, the announcer started.

Your “show face” is the expression you are supposed to have when you perform, and this year it was smiling. I did not even have to think about it because I already had the biggest smile on my face while doing what I love with the people I love, in this huge stadium at this insane event I’d only ever seen pictures of.

Eight minutes later, the very last note of the show sounded. The applause started and slowly everyone in the stands stood up to give us a standing ovation. The second we could move, I rushed to the closest person and hugged them, tears streaming down both our faces.

Walking off the field, knowing we would never perform that show ever again, or perform with that group of people, we all put down our equipment and ran to hug and congratulate each other in one big group.

When I think back to why I do color guard, I realize it is because of the tough times we all go through together, because they make the end so much more worth it. Marching band is my second family and my home. In the end, you get out what you put in. And when you are with this group of 203 other kids all working for the same thing, all the rough days do not matter.

It is easy to get lost and forget what we are working towards, when school starts and you are practicing over 14 hours a week. But in the end, the feeling after that last show motivates me to keep going.

Looking back at high school in ten years, I won’t remember that one test I failed, the nice boy from the library or the time I messed up in a French presentation, but I’ll always remember band. I’ll remember the long hours, hard work, our shows and all the people I shared these experiences with.

Band after their prelims performance in Bands of America Grand National Championships. Photo courtesy of Carl Gutekunst

People will continue to ask why I am in band, and I’ll keep smiling and shaking my head, knowing they’ll never have any idea. The family I have found in the Homestead marching band is what inspires me each day, on and off the field.

Two hundred and four people, six and a half months, over 300 hours of practice, only eight minutes to impress and zero regrets.