It's a beautiful day in the middle of October, and you're at a college football game. You see the sun shining down on a sea of fans, everyone wearing the home team's colors. The smell of hot dogs, pretzels, and other greasy food drifts through the air, as a cool wind blows against the back of your neck. But what is it that you hear? Overpowering every other sound in the stadium, the band is blaring their brass horns and beating their drums. Invisible but everywhere, the music fills the stadium when the team scores, excites the crowd when the game intensifies and provides the soundtrack to your favorite college traditions.
Now, imagine that game without the band. No one is there to play the fight song when a touchdown is scored, or play a victory tune when your team wins. Yes, there would still be music, but it would only be generic pop stuff playing over the speakers. It wouldn't be the same, because you don't get to experience that special kind of energy that comes from live music. Unfortunately, the band does not get enough credit for what they do. Compared to an athletic team, the band is typically overlooked and under-budgeted — especially by the universities themselves.
While the university is busy pouring all money and attention to athletics, the band is left to scavenge for support. Athletic teams receive millions upon millions of dollars, while the band gets next to nothing. My university's band has resorted to requiring each member to raise money on their own and selling $1 chocolate bars, because they receive so little funding. Just a small cut from the athletic budget would make such a vast difference in the lives of the band members. And it's not like the band doesn't deserve it - they most certainly do, with how much they add to a college community. A college without a band is like a belt with no buckle. With no band, you'd be missing a key piece of unity during a game.
The band and athletic teams work just as hard as the other, and both spend so much of their lives committed to their craft. Just like a football team, the band devotes several hours of their day to practicing. Similar to a basketball team, being apart of the band requires precise coordination. Like a soccer team, it is necessary for the band to have high endurance. And as it is with any type of athlete, it is obligatory for each member of the band to value hard work and determination. And must we not forget, the band is at nearly every sporting event, plus more. Unlike several sports, band is a year-round activity — there is no "off-season."
So you might ask yourself, with such similar characteristics to an athletic team, shouldn't the band receive at least some benefits? But here we are, athletic teams receiving all the money and perks, and the band seeing none of that.
The band is such an important aspect of sporting events and pep rallies and is greatly responsible for the fans' emotions and entertainment throughout a game. Unfortunately, most universities fail to see this and don't appreciate how much a band adds to the atmosphere and energy of a college community. Instead, the band continues to be brushed aside, no matter how talented or entertaining they are. I can only hope that in this day and age, with fine arts starting to gain more recognition, that the band will finally receive the respect they deserve.