To My High School Marching Band,
I know I wasn't always grateful. The first half of my season freshman year, I was resolved I would quit and never touch a trumpet again after the first week. The music was too hard, and playing from memory while marching was too hard, and I looked like a dork in my uniform. I couldn't see how any of it was worth it.
But it so was.
I thought I didn't like marching band because it wasn't like the sports I played. But later I realized the best things about band were because it was nothing like sports.
Thank you for showing me how great it feels to cheer each other on instead of competing against each other. I didn't have to compete for a spot on the field, and I didn't have to hope the other band was no good so we would win. Thank you for letting me be supportive.
Thank you for showing me we didn't need pep rallies and cheerleaders in our honor to feel important. A touchdown was never really complete without us playing the fight song after, and there was no greater thrill than hearing our home crowd cheer after our performance.
Thank you for showing me that some of the best "teamwork" doesn't happen by being on a team. There really is no teamwork quite like a marching band's.
"One band, one sound," as our director used to say.
Thank you for showing me the victory in hearing dozens of instruments become one loud, awesome voice, and the triumph in finally getting that impossible song to sound just right. I liked to think that felt even better than scoring the winning touchdown.
Every year around this time, I start to miss marching band so much. I even miss the long, exhausting practices in the 90 degree heat. I miss running drills over and over again until I'm sure I could march them in my sleep. I even miss the numb feeling I got in my lips after playing my instrument for too long. Thank you for those little pains, too.
Thank you for being the absolute best thing I was a part of in high school. If there is anything I miss from those awkward four years, it's looking even more awkward than usual in my band uniform.
Thank you for giving me some of my best memories I have with some of my best friends. Nothing built a stronger friendship than spending our Friday nights dancing like idiots in front of hundreds of people while praying our lips didn't freeze to our brass mouthpiece.
Thank you for showing me the joy in making an audience smile while making myself smile, and doing it surrounded by a group of amazing, kind hearted, talented people.
Thank you for showing me that being a band nerd will always be the coolest.