Tomorrow is the final home game of the 2011 regular season. A typical season on some levels; an atypical one many others (hurricanes, earthquakes, and more). As is always the case I became a bit reflective as I drove the lift from the turf complex across the dark athletic fields. This is a traditional solitary ride for me–I like it that way to be honest. Me driving a big piece of construction equipment at twilight….ok, it’s a little weird I will give you that. But for some reason I am able to use the time to be deep in my thoughts about the season that is about to pass into the history books in 24 hours, and about a very special group of seniors.
Anyone who spends countless hours on a football field in every conceivable type of weather doing one of the most physically demanding SPORTING activities known to man has a right to be happy, thrilled, ecstatic that it is all about to come to an end. And yet every year there are tears in the eyes, if not falling down the faces, of each senior band member. The realization that a huge part of WHO they are is coming to an end hits, and it hits hard. Sure there were hard rehearsals, of course there was frustration at times, and yes, there were days you did not want to be out there anymore. But now, facing “the final curtain,” one finds themselves wishing to be a rookie again; wishing they could do it all over again because it all happened far too fast. More time, please can we have more time?!
“Regrets, I’ve had a few” is how another stanza of that song goes, and yes, I’m sure every member of the UDMB has had one or two over the years. But regrets are not what the seniors are focusing on right now. They are thinking about their first band camp; the first friends they made that they will probably keep for the rest of their adult lives; their first overnight trip sleeping on a gym floor; mixing with UMASS and watching two grown adults (George Parks and I) acting like little kids, each band being embarrassed by their respective director and both directors looking at each other and laughing harder; their lifetime memory of marching in the Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. and NOT freezing to death; flying to Texas for a football championship game; and anticipating their final regular season performance in Annapolis, MD in 48 hours.
The memories are endless for this year’s UDMB senior class just as they are endless for every senior class that came before and will be for every senior class yet to come. There is no other organization in college that goes out of its way to provide as many experiences as possible for it’s members–experiences that are not to be had anywhere else on campus. THAT is my goal, THAT is what drives me, THAT is why I do this year after year. To see their faces when they are living IN THE MOMENT–there is no greater joy for me. (I learned that from a dear friend not that long ago.)
So to the seniors and EVERYONE in the UDMB, here is your to do list for the final weekend:
- Make eye contact with those around you and “be in it WITH” them;
- Meet a few new people in band you’ve not met yet;
- Cheer for the team; the cheerleaders; dance team; mascots AND EACH OTHER;
- Thank a Field Staff and Ad Staff member;
- Thank a ROOKIE;
- Hug your friends;
- Thank you parents;
- Enjoy each and every moment of the experience because it only happens once each year.
- To love what you do;
- To love each other;
- And to love yourself – with complete and total abandonment…”in my life, I loved them all.”