Gramps and I have a seventeen-year-old grandson Mac, who plays sousaphone in a somewhat local high school band. From late September to early November there is a football game every week on Thursday or Friday night. His band performs a show during halftime of every game.
We attend each and every football game just to see the halftime show and most specifically to see Mac march and do his thing. We arrive early to get good seats near where the band sits. We like to sit up high because the sousaphones are usually placed along the back row in the stadium seating and we like to be close to Mac.
We also like the view of the show from high in the stands. This year Mac starts on the thirty-yard line and we always sit along that line so we can keep an eye on him.
Getting to the game early also offers us an opportunity to hear the band warm up. That is great fun. I especially love to hear the percussion section and all their cadences.
The band heralds in the football players, plays the school song, the National Anthem and the game begins.
First Quarter – We cheer the football team and encourage all their efforts. The school has a good team this year and seems to be winning most games. A lot of touchdowns are being made, which means the band is playing the school Fight Song quite often during the game. We love to hear the sousaphone part!
Second Quarter – The band plays numerous tunes during the game and the cheerleaders cheer and the high-kick team dances and the students and fans yell. It’s all very exciting!
Halfway into the quarter the band leaves the stands to warm up for the halftime show. They divide into sections – percussion, horns, woodwinds, pit and color guard. All kinds of sound and flurry come from the end zone, as everyone prepares for their eight-minute performance.
Suddenly whistles are blown, football players clear the field and the band, with all their instruments and props, runs out to begin the show.
Gramps and I have seen it numerous times but somehow it is better every time. The kids only know one way to do it – all out with all they’ve got, at 100% effort.
Bands from both schools play. It is a most impressive performance. These kids are as much athletes as the football players. A standing ovation is given for both bands, deservedly so.
While our band is executing their show on field, the other band politely stands at one end zone and watches. The same is done for the opposing band. Bands often “talk” to each other across the field with music, will dance to each other’s tunes and play fun challenge games back and forth. It’s all done in fun with a lot of laughter.
Third Quarter – Most of this quarter Mac is free to come over and visit us in the stands. Gramps and I really enjoy this part the best. We get to hug, kiss, talk, cuddle and laugh. On cold nights we snuggle under our blanket.
Mac knows exactly when he needs to return to his seat. He will suddenly jump up. “Gotta go”, he says. And back he returns to the sea of uniformed young people who all look like him.
Fourth Quarter – We rarely see a fourth quarter of a football game. We have seen everything we came to see – Mac, sousaphones, band show, more Mac, some football.
By now the score is usually about 43-7 or something like that. It seems our team can’t lose. Nothing more to do.
Time to go home.