On a gray, misty August morning in Athens, West Virginia, the 2012-2013 Capital High School Band — the Pride of Capital High — took to the field for their first performance in front of a crowd. If these kids were at all nervous it wasn't evident from the bleachers of Concord's Callaghan Stadium. One, two, three, four, perfect rhythm and cadence as they marched in after a solid week of practicing nine hours a day, drums beating an aural pathway for everyone else to follow.
And, stop. Silence for several seconds. A left turn, still synchronized, then an introduction by director Bobby Jenks — followed by applause from the crowd. The band remained at rapt attention, undistracted from their singular goal: to do the best job they could.
I've apparently become a band dad. I'm not sure if that's an accepted term or not — if not, I hereby coin that phrase. Hey, if Sarah Palin can call herself a hockey mom, why the hell not? It's been, and still is, a process. With the beginning of school and football season around the corner, I'm getting a crash course on what it's going to involve.
Travel, of course, with this morning's trip to Athens being a fine example. I've not set foot on Concord's campus in almost twenty years. The last time I did wasn't exactly a great experience. I'm living in a different era now, though, and nights like those are closer to Katie's realm than they are mine.
Anyway. Travel. Hauling to and from practice and games, some of which is going on already. Morning practice started awhile back and I've been on the "hauling to" end of that. After school starts it will become evening practice, the arrangements for which have yet to be determined. Some evenings I'm sure will be by the seat of our collective pants, so I guess I should just brace myself for that right now.
Speaking of bracing myself, apparently there's a "service to the band" aspect to all this where the parents take on larger roles than just transportation and the usual support. I attended a Very Important Parental Information Meeting™ a few weeks ago, and of course it was a pretty typical school meeting with lots of people milling about, disorganized herding efforts, and paperwork to sign and/or process all over the place. I decided it was best to just make my way through each line, pick up whatever I needed to pick up or sign whatever I needed to sign and move on to the next. (I'll point out for the record that doing all this stuff via some kind of web-based application would be a huge time-saver for all, and over time, would lead to more organization and an overall better experience. But I digress.) So after making my way to the front of one of these lines I saw lists of game dates and parents' names below. "What line is this, and what do I need to do here?" I asked one of the ladies working the table.
"Oh, this is where you pick the game where you'll work the concession stand," she told me.
I laughed. "Like I have time for that!" and started walking away.
"No, you have to pick one. The band gets a percentage of everything we sell."
It is what it is, I suppose. I sheepishly asked if I could at least pick one later, not knowing what the future has in store months down the road, and of course that was fine.
So if you attend a Capital home game this season, it looks like I could — at least part of the time — be the one serving you a "Coke and a smile" as a famous comedian once said. Buy early, buy often!