Reaching Down

Gramps and I were at a musical competition last week where Mac’s high school band competed with twenty others for marching and visual effect awards. Their show was an eight minute interpretation of “Primal” with red eight foot “claw” props, red plumes on their hats and red “claw” marks across their vests. It’s a very colorful strong presentation with lots of bass and drums to give it that deep taste of nature.

The competition began early in the morning with the preliminary level and all twenty bands performing. By 4 pm, we had the scores and knew who would go on to finals that evening. Mac’s band came in third overall. Only the top ten bands would go to finals.

We were happy and pleased with the outcome. The band, however, felt they could have done better. The pep talk that they gave themselves that afternoon was very interesting.

“We can do better.”

“Tighten up!”

“Reach down inside and pull out the best of yourself!”

“See yourself doing your best.”

“Stay sharp!”

They encouraged each other and themselves. Teenagers psyching themselves up. It was a marvel to witness. It was a pleasure to learn from the young.

They spent the next several hours before finals having fun, eating and resting. Then it was time to get into the practice line-up, which takes more than an hour. Before long they were on the field, performing the show they had performed so many times before, but with a new enthusiasm. They did it the best I’d ever seen – tighter, crisper, louder, softer and brighter than ever, or so it seemed.

After the magical eight minutes were over, they changed into their civvies and watched the remainder of the bands. The kids cheered and applauded with great energy, and shouted out to friends on the field. They were very excited when fellow players performed well and displayed great marching skills.

At the end of the evening, finals scores were announced.

Tenth through Fourth Place – not Mac’s school.

Third Place – not Mac’s school. We began to hope we had moved to Second Place.

Second Place – not Mac’s school. Oh my gosh! Could it be?

First Place – Mac’s school!!!!

They had really done it! They had gone from Third Place to First Place in one day! They had reached down and pulled it up, as they told themselves. The kids were beside themselves in delight! The director and parents were proud as peacocks!

And at least two grandparents were wishing they knew how to do somersaults!