“We said goodbye to a dear old friend
And we packed our bags and left feeling sad
It’s the only way”
2010 – Freshman Year: Moments like this one run through your mind…this just happened. Only yesterday were you sitting in a room with 100+ other freshmen being told: “Enjoy every moment. It will go by in the blink of an eye.” And you thought: “I don’t know who this woman is…I don’t know if I can trust her…I miss my high school band director and all my friends. What did I get myself into?!”
Dirt. That’s what. Dust and dirt. Grit in your eyes, in your teeth, in your throat every time you took a breath to play. WTH?! And what is up will all those trucks loaded with turf turds?? They drive back and forth and back and forth…and you thought: “If I have to do this tune one more time because a dump truck interfered with our run through I’m going to quit!”
…but you didn’t. You stayed…and perhaps you learned to love.
2011 arrived…TURF COMPLEX! And you thought: “How could this be possible? How can we have such a place to rehearse? Wait–we’ve got LIGHTS?????? Who the hell painted dark green yard lines on a green plastic surface?!” You weren’t a freshman any longer–you were a SOPHOMORE! And as far as you were concerned college was the best place ever and it would never end. Yet something kept pushing you. Time was speeding up and people you came to know and love the year before had moved on. But it was ok. You were ready for more responsibility, more excitement and more everything. You wanted to stay forever because these were quite possibly the best days of your life!
Still there was only one thought running through your mind more than any other: “My legs are going to fall off if we do “Good Riddance” again!”
…but they didn’t. And you stayed…and perhaps you learned perseverance.
2012–Junior Year: Suddenly you were a junior. How did that happen?? And you thought: “What do you mean I have to play all these notes?! Where’s the rock and roll? Oh dear lord…we’ve got props?!?! Sarv has finally gone over the deep end. She’s in the shed with a table saw, power drill, hammer, nails…and I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard so many curse words strung together like that! Hey look–the fences are on wheels!!! That’s sort of cool…….(and then, 10 minutes later)….Not only are the damn fences in my way but I have to MOVE them too???”
And then it was November and it hit you…they’re leaving. The seniors are leaving…and you’ll be here all alone. And you thought: “When did that happen? What am I going to do? How can I come back without them?”
…but you did. You stayed…and perhaps you learned commitment.
2013–Senior Year: …and you thought: “Look at all the new things!! A new truck! New uniforms! Even Sarv and Rah are NEW! But wait…..O.M.G. I can’t believe it. Sarv was right–it went by in the blink of an eye! I can’t stop crying. Everyone’s crying…why aren’t the freshmen crying?! Don’t they understand?? It’s almost OVER! “ But they don’t understand. All they know is that they made some of the best friends they will ever have at a time when they were more frightened than ever before…and that those friends are leaving them.
They don’t understand why Christmas changed…but you do. You stayed…and perhaps you learned to give.
You see, if you did YOUR job right these last few years then they WILL understand one day…in fact many of them already do. And that is because of YOU. The journey you’ve been on has been filled with far more than you ever could have imagined four short years ago. You take with you memories and friendships that define you, that you will carry with you for the rest of your lives. But what you do not realize is all you have left behind. You have built upon the foundation of those who came before; you have added your lasting impact upon the lives of others; you gave people (me) strength when they felt they had none left.
Travel well my friends….and when you arrive at the start of your next adventure I hope of all the lessons you’ve learned this one is carried in your heart: “To Love. To love what you do; to love each other; and to love yourself with complete and total abandonment.”
“We said hello as we turned the key
A new roof over our heads
Gave a smile
It’s the only way.”