This is my third year of having a child in marching band. It has been amazing to see what he has accomplished as part of this team and to see how much he has grown.
However, this year has been frustrating for me. There has been so much negativity on boards where parents lurk, where they miss the point of this whole thing. (Hint: It isn’t about us.) Judge bashing. Conspiracy theories. Just so much ugliness and mean. As a parent, it has been very disheartening to see adults tear down 14-18 year olds who are putting their heart and soul into something they love.
Marching band is a sport. But to me, it is not a competitive sport to the kids. It is a chance to perform, impress judges and be with their friends. It builds confidence, stamina and team work. The placings disappoint them at times, but they are also just as quick to point out an amazing brass set or woodwind set by another band.
In the larger events where all the bands take the field to be recognized for their efforts, all the kids stand there… and stand there… until it is all over and the announcer tells them to Break Ranks. And they are free to mingle, congratulate others, meet new people who in this digital age become friends and they keep in touch. They take selfies, they laugh… it is an amazing thing to witness. The picture above becomes a sea of blended color and friendship. Marching band is bigger than the school they represent to them, it is an entire community where they are accepted and flourish. They boost each other up and cry together for losses. We would be wise to take a page out of the book of high school marching band from the eyes of the teen members.