I first joined my high school's marching band when I was in eighth grade. The band allowed middle schoolers, and my mother somewhat coerced me into doing it. I had always enjoyed playing music, but I was apprehensive about joining a group like that. I went in with anxiety and fear that I would regret my decision. Instead, it ended up being the best thing I ever did.

It is hard to explain to someone what is so great about the marching band. The time commitment is huge. Band camp consists of 12-hour days in the relentless August heat. You perform in extreme heat and frigid cold. The uniforms are uncomfortable. And it's difficult. It takes extreme skill. Yet, people like me love doing it. Why?

Marching band members get the reputation of being "band geeks," and perhaps we are. But marching band is a family unlike any other. Some of my greatest friendships and most impactful role models stem from band. I wouldn't trade that for anything. It is a kinship forged from our shared experience as a group.

Whether a band is insanely competitive or just in it for fun, it creates a sense of purpose for everyone involved. Countless hours are devoted to an impressive final product. A good band requires concentration, discipline, skill, and commitment. Marching a complete field show is a huge accomplishment, and incredibly difficult to execute. It really is like any other team. It gets rough at times, but we are a team. We need one another. So next time you're ready to make fun of "band geeks," think about how difficult and amazing it is to do what they do.