December 7, 2006 at 11:58 am
Prior to my fitness awakening two years ago, the only optional exercise I consistently took part in was marching band my freshman year of high school. It was so hardcore I threw up after the first day. No hyperbole necessary, I literally up-chucked my breakfast in the car on the way home. Luckily my family steals barf bags from airplanes, so I didn’t stain the interior. Other injuries during that year included a spontaneous nose bleed on the field, rubbing a patch of flesh off the heal of my right foot because my marching shoes didn’t fit correctly, and dragging my sorry ass to the shade of the conductor’s podium after nearly collapsing from heat stroke.
I only lasted a year before I turned in my brocade jacket and feathered hat. I doubt they mourned my loss because I was a crap marcher. I didn’t even play for the second half of the routine. The point was mute (ha, ha) because I was a flutist, so you couldn’t hear me anyway. I also got the impression they were trying to get me to quit, though I might have been paranoid. However, several times someone would mention the fact that if just one person quit we would drop out of the AAA division and into the AA division where the competition wouldn’t be as tough.
For some reason I ended up in a pretty important spot in the formation. I was the one who had to lead the entire band onto 50 yard line mid-show so the flag guard could toss their flags over our heads. (That’s one injury I missed, impalement by Technicolor flag pole.) Then I was the one who had to lead the band off the field. Me, the fat freshman who couldn’t march. What were they thinking?
I never acclimated to the band culture. These people were serious about their jazz running. The flag guard dressed very slutty, even for the hot weather. They’d frequently be wearing only sports bras and short shorts, which must have affected the guys, but I guess they had plenty of opportunities to walk those effects off. I was also set apart because I couldn’t squat for long periods of time. There was some dumb rule that you couldn’t sit your ass on the field, so during long breaks when they were fixing something in another part of the formation people would squat. I could never squat for more than a couple seconds and my feet paid the consequences in pain.
These days I can squat for long periods of times, mostly when I am searching for cat toys under the couch or fridge. However, you couldn’t pay enough money to run around a field while playing show tunes ever again. I was glad I stuck it out for the entire year though, if only for the sense of accomplishment if not the hundreds of dollars my parents spent on dues.