Rachel and I were quite excited. This was our first Football game as part of the Marching Eagle's of Dam Neck High School. As planned, we arrived at 4:30 PM to get things ready for a 5 PM downbeat. Sarah also showed up at 4:30 to help Rachel and I.
We were getting fairly along when Noelle and Josh showed up. It was 4:45 and they were here at their usual time. They immediately started helping get us set up. By 4:50, almost everyone was here and they were on schedule. The only person who wasn't here was Stephanie. She got permission to show up at 5:30 (and cleared it with both my sister and Mr. Pomp well ahead of time) because of a doctor's appointment to remove her cast.
The Downbeat arrived. We were fully ready to go (except Stephanie, but she had a pass) and Rachel asked me, "Could we start with The River measure 53? That's where I struggle the most." This was Rachel's Vibe solo and she was honestly trying her best.
"Alright: Measure 53 of The River." I counted off and they started playing. Rachel kept hitting a B Flat when she should be hitting a C Flat. We started over. "Measure 53…again," as I counted off. Third time's the charm and my sister got it!
"The River, from the beginning," I counted off. Everyone started playing and we went through just fine for both The River and Rainforest.
5:30 came and Stephanie showed up as promised. We worked on everything until 6 PM. That's when we needed to lug everything outside. Pit Crew arrived on schedule to help us. My role changed from instructor to Pit Crew Member as we all pitched in to get everything to the stadium.
Finally, we got to the Stadium. The game was Dam Neck vs. Bayside and it was an exciting time as the crowds cheered everyone on. Dam Neck has a reputation of great sportsmanship and they are quite proud of it. We got into the stands and as soon as the band was there, we all sat down.
The announcer opened, "Welcome to the first game of the 2004 season. This is Dam Neck vs. Bayside and it is brought to you by Billy's where we still proudly do it Bill's way every day. Stop by after the game since the Express Window is open until 1 AM tonight. At Dam Neck High, we are proud of our reputation for great sportsmanship. Please help us maintain this reputation." That's when the cheerleaders kicked in with a routine with Funknamics, Inc. blaring over the speakers. It was a well performed routine, although I mostly cared about the band (being a former Band Dork myself).
After the routine, the game started. Rachel asked, "Could you get me two hot dogs and a cola?"
I responded, “Sure. I’ll be right back.”
I made my way to the concession stand and, as expected, there was a big line. Finally, it was my turn. “I’d like four hot dogs – two per plate – and two colas.”
A few moments later, my food was ready. I got back to the band just as Dam Neck scored a touchdown. I climbed the stairs to where my sister was standing and cheering and, once everyone settled down, offered her food. We happily ate up and I started getting pumped for our show.
Half way through the second quarter and it was time to get ready. I went with everyone and stayed with Pit Crew to get our instruments to the field. The announcer proudly opened, “May I introduce your Dam Neck Soaring Eagle Band. This year’s show entitled Amazon is in salute to the many people working hard preserve the rainforest.”
We opened with The River and continued happily into The Rainforest. My pit did a wonderful job and, for a first football game, I am very proud of them. Third quarter hit and it was the band break where we could mingle. As usual, Rachel stayed pretty much glued to me. Stephanie happily chatted with us. “How’s it like during the school year?”
Rachel was honest: “This is my first time at Dam Neck. I was in school out west before my brother rescued me. I really don’t want to talk about it.”
Stephanie acted mature beyond her age and fully understood when Rachel didn’t want to discuss further. My sister started holding me tightly as we made our way to the concession stand. We were thirsty and got big drinks. “Ice cold cola…what could be better,” Rachel asked rhetorically. We made it back to the stands right as 3rd quarter came to a close. Rachel and I checked in with our director as we had a seat.
When the game was over (with a score of 14-7), we lined up and cadenced back to the band room for dismissal. After being dismissed, Rachel and I got on our bikes and headed home for the night.