I was reading my friend Teri’s blog post about how colleges need to start showing the entire halftime show during college football games a few weeks ago and it got me reminiscing about my high school marching band days.
Everyone blamed my boyfriend, my part-time job, the stress of being a senior in high school, you need to take a multivitamin. Blah blah blah.
|We even got fancy buses. Anything other than a school bus was fancy in rural Ohio.|
Because we were gonna be on TV! It was at about that time that I started working on building up my hand muscles because I needed to get ready for all that autograph signing I was going to be doing. How I worked up my hand muscles remained a mystery (AHEM). Gonna be famous! People will be lining up to get a whiff of my essence because they will recognize me from the television set! Weren’t you the one in the band uniform marching down the streets of Orlando? Why yes, that was me, thank you very much! Can I get a whiff of your essence? SECURITY!
On the local access channel.
Several weeks after the fact.
But in reality, I had no fucking clue what sex smelled like.
Because back in 1987, we didn’t have The Olive Garden in Ohio but Orlando, Florida did but this is what you really need to know about this particular Olive Garden: it was open for breakfast.
Oh Florida, you never disappoint.
I almost forgot to tell you that we did have a moment of fame while in Orlando!
They featured our band out of all the bands at the Citrus Bowl Competition on the local newscast.
I don’t know who somebody had to sleep with to get it done but it was pretty awesome.
* NO ONE HAD TO SLEEP WITH ANYONE*
Enough of that was done in our hotel room before we got there.
They interviewed our band director, microphoned our field commander, and essentially followed us around for the entire day of the competition. What they weren’t ready for were 94 Ohio teenagers who were ready for their first brush with stardom. I have never seen so many human beings in my life (me included) trying so hard to get on camera without actually looking like they were trying so hard to get on camera.
When the newscast came on the television later that night, I remember all of us huddling around as many TV sets as we could find in our sex-smelling Kissimmee hotel. I can only imagine the annoyance of the other guests to not only find out they are sharing their hotel for the week with an entire marching band from the Midwest, but to then find out that they are sharing it with wannabe celebrities with massive ego complexes.
Speaking of big heads, mine got on the news!
I do believe I may have screamed, “MY BRAID IS ON THE TV!!!!!!! MY BRAID IS ON TV!!!!”
Throughout the halls of the hotel.
I even called my mom to tell her this and maybe even fought a bald woman from Dubuque for a payphone to do so.
It can’t be proven. This was before cell phones.
Thank you, baby Jesus.
The next night was the Citrus Bowl parade.
We mostly marched in complete darkness for the entire parade because the parade was at night.
It was an intersection in Orlando that was surrounded by bleachers on both sides of the street, lots of people, and blinding lights.
Of course, we never got to see him because we were busy marching in utter darkness.
The lights, the body heat from all the people, the nervous sweats I had goin’ on in my uniform, and the cheers of all the people!
BUT MOST EXCITING WERE THE TELEVISION CAMERAS TAPING US FOR OUR TELEVISION DEBUT!
This was it!
I could feel it!
We were going to be famous!
This little marching band from in the middle of nowhere Ohio with the big sound!
Who are they??
Where did they come from?
Who is that cute blonde playing the clarinet?
I knew Hollywood would be calling as soon as we got off the Greyhound knock-off bus that rambled us into our little town a few days later.
I FELT IT IN MY BONES.
When I was on the payphone with my mom outside a rest area near Columbus on the way home a few days later and I didn’t hear anything that resembled a crowd in our family room, I knew something was up.
“Oh okay, you are an hour away? Sounds good! Can’t wait to see you!”
We did have a welcome home committee.
That consisted of our parents and siblings.
Once we lifted our own suitcases out of the pile of mess they threw out of the buses…I bet Spuds didn’t have to lift his own suitcase but whatever….. we were on our way home.
My mom had my favorite foods made, a giant sign was on the garage door welcoming me home like the movie star I was.
It is about time someone treated me like the celebrity I am!
It was so good to be home.
A few weeks later, we settled down one late winter evening for the viewing party of the century.
We couldn’t wait to watch ourselves on the television set.
I think we had the public access channel on all afternoon and set to videotape even though it wasn’t supposed to air until seven o’clock that evening just in case it would randomly come on.
Teenagers would implode if they had to live back then.
So we impatiently waited by our little TV down in our family room that night until finally, it came on.
Ahh, the magic of technology!!!
The Citrus Bowl Parade!
IN OUR FAMILY ROOM!
Three weeks later.
We watched with anticipation knowing when our part was coming.
Oh! I remember that float!
Oooh, look at all that we missed!
SPUDS MACKENZIE GOT HIS OWN CARRIAGE???
We danced along with the Clemson University Marching Band remembering their cadence as we didn’t march too far behind them in the actual parade.
It was fun talking about the parade and re-living Florida all over again with my family.
We noticed that all the marching bands were getting their names announced, their band directors’ names announced, and enjoyed the little anecdotes the announcers were making about each band.
THAT WILL BE US SOON!!!
HOW EXCITING IS THIS?!?!?
Then after weeks of anticipation, I saw a familiar band banner making its way at the top of our television screen.
HERE WE COME, HERE WE COME!!!!
I could see our band hats, us marching perfectly in time, wow, we look…….perfect.
First bad omen- they said we were from a totally different town in Ohio. Like, a town two hours away from where we actually lived. It was as we were registering…wait, did they just say we were from a completely different town…..that they went to commercial.
Over our band.
They actually ran the name of the upcoming band as a graphic over our marching band, just as we were starting to come onto the television screen.
They gave a dog that drinks malt liquor more airtime than our band.
Our band who worked tirelessly for hundreds of hours to get to Florida from Ohio.
They cut us off.
I started to cry.
Then I started to scream.
Then I did what a 17-year-old female does best.
I called my friend to cry and scream about it.
Simultaneously, we both said the G rated version of “ARE YOU SHITTING ME?????”
I am being too prude.
Of course, we said, “ARE YOU SHITTING ME??”
The phone lines in Lexington, Ohio were hot that night.
I held a grudge against Florida for a long time.
Secretly, I still do.
I still give it the side-eye when I see an orange or anything citrus related on the television or in person.
THAT’S RIGHT TANGERINE, I DON’T WANT ANYTHING YOU ARE SELLING.
Oooh is that a clementine?
Never mind then.
So the next time you are at the football game and you see me clapping a little harder or longer for the marching band, you’ll know why.
And if you see me at the grocery store stomping the hell out of an errant grapefruit?
Look the other way.
LOOK THE OTHER WAY, MAN!!