The Body Counts of Marching Band Competitions; And Thank God It’s November

Oh, my goodness, thank goodness it is November; I can come in out of the rain and the cold.

October was given over to marching band competitions and football games and cross country meets. So, basically, I was living six day weeks, since Saturdays were given over to travel and one or the other. To begin the month, we drove down to Joplin for a cross country meet, drove back in driving rain (which washed out our chance to go to the Pumpkin Daze festival in Republic on our way back). The end of the month featured a whole lot of cold and rain, summarized a bit below.

The last two weekends of the month kind of give the flavor:

  • The trip to Wheatland, Missouri, the penultimate weekend of October for a cross country meet. On the road in the rain and morning thunderstorms to go to the Lucas Oil Speedway. We get there a little after 8am, and ask the coach where to meet. He tells us the tent on the other side of the lake. Lucas Oil Speedway has an artificial lake for drag boat racing to the north of the sandy mud main parking lot (I guess). We walk a mile around to where we see the school’s tent/tarp in the steady, forty-five degree rain, and the tent is empty. We’re a little later than the mustering time of 8:30, and as the coach likes to run the course with the kids before the actual meet, and we see some running kids in the distance, we decide to wait. So we wait for thirty minutes, not in the tent but beside it, until receiving a text from the coach to wait in our cars as the event is delayed. So we walk a mile again in the steady rain to get to our car, where we dry off a bit and wait. The event is not delayed too long, and we are able to leave four hours later after the event, in time to make the ABC Books signing.
  • The school football team made it to the playoffs, so they had another home game. It was forty-five degrees and misting rain the whole night, so it was three hours in uncovered stands. My coat was mostly dry from the previous weekend.
  • Saturday, up to take the marcher to school at 7:15 so he could catch his bus to a marching band competition in the St. Louis area, and at 9:00, we were on the road ourselves. It was almost a four hour drive to Belleville, Illinois, where the youngster got to march against the band from my high school, which meant that he marched against both his mother’s and his father’s school bands, which will be uncommon since the schools are hundreds of miles apart. They were in the smaller school/band division, so they marched in the afternoon, which meant only five hours in the bleachers in an overcast almost fifty degree day (at least it wasn’t raining).

    They won their division and went crazy, but it meant that we could be on the road home as the sun was setting. I mean, we could stay overnight in the St. Louis area, but that likely would have meant four more hours of marching band competition (still not growing on me), so I opted for the easy way out and my own bed at the end.

  • Halloween, we did trunk or treat in the evening in our church parking lot. It was not quite fifty degrees, but not raining. After our disco trunk two years ago, I thought maybe we would do Christmas this year. So we bought accoutrements for decoration and a pile of candy canes to give out after Christmas 2019, when everything was marked down. However, the event was cancelled last year. But we got to put this into place this year, dressed in our loud Christmas sweaters (bought for the occasion). HOWEVER, we were the third of three trunks with a Christmas theme, which took the wind out of my sails quite a bit. Two hours later, we got to untangle the Christmas lights and go home.

So perhaps I am not so much asking for Father of the Year consideration for the hours of sitting, standing, or driving in the cold and the rain last month (but I will accept the honor if it’s accorded to me) as I am saying I am looking forward to weekends at home (and maybe a martial arts class or two this month), a fire (I have a bountiful wood delivery scheduled for next week), and maybe reading a book or two.

Oh, and lest I forget the interesting bit about marching band body count: At the marching band competition, several shows had an Everybody Dies In The End theme. One was Man Vs. Machine: The Legend of John Henry (he dies in the end). Our school’s was Looking Grimm based on the works of the Brothers Grimm–Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Sleeping Beauty (four deaths amongst those stories, plus or minus depending upon the edition or version of the stories you have). A third was Romeo and Juliet (five deaths total). I thought our school’s show had the biggest body count (upon research, it was truly Romeo and Juliet), but I did say to my beautiful wife when accounting for this metric, that the band performing aRose would win if the show featured music from Titanic (it did not).

Ah, the things I did to amuse myself at the marching band competitions. Only five more years of them to go.

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