The ideas represented within this article are opinions in nature and are solely that of the author. They may not wholly reflect the stance of The Forest Scout newspaper as a publication.
I’ll be the first to say that a football game on a Thursday night is a bad idea. But a football game on a Thursday night with eighty eighth graders and about 110 exhausted high schoolers is another story. I was nervous about the game; we wanted to give the eighth graders the best experience possible, encouraging all of them to join band next year in the high school. But something else happened that I wasn’t really expecting.
After a long pre-game, we played songs with the eighth graders for an entire half. Halftime was phenomenal (obviously, because it was Star Wars), and the eighth graders were dismissed afterwards. Since it was a Thursday night, we gave all the high school band members the option to leave after halftime as well, and, to my surprise, almost all of them did. This is where I wondered what we would do. About 15 band members in total stayed, leaving us with no low brass, and very few high voices. But all the players who stayed were strong players, giving us the ability to play almost any stand tune we wanted. Most of the drumline stayed, playing cadences and keeping our spirits high.
At one point, I looked over to the student section and saw that they had about the same number of kids as we did. After our lead snare William Steck talked with the remaining students, we moved over to their section to join our sections together, even closer than we’d been before.
At this point in the game, we were losing 20-0, the parent section was nearly empty, and the Lake Zurich student section was roaring with energy. Yes, in comparison to them, and to our football team, we looked pretty pathetic. But the 30 of us kids did as much cheering as we possibly could. And we did it together.
The band has certain dances that go with cadences, and when we were with the miniscule student section, we did those dances together. When we played songs, they sang to them. We did cheers together. We were losing, but we still cheered together.
That’s the thing about our school spirit. Yes, I believe that we need to improve our student turnout. Yes, I believe that we need to work together. But that improvement is going to come with acceptance. And we accepted each other at Thursday’s game.
Everyone talks about moving next to the band like we’re a foreign country. In reality, we are just as spirited as the most enthusiastic members of the student section. After all, we are students. We love football games, no matter how badly we are losing. We love spending time with each other, cherishing that time under the lights in the cold, forgetting about tests we took that day, or a fight with a friend, or a busy weekend ahead. We leave all of that behind when we cheer as a band. That’s why I love it as much as I do. I just wish we worked together more.
The student section moving next to us gives us an opportunity to share that feeling. We want the students to realize that we are students too, with just as much love for our school, Scouts football, and school spirit. Nothing compares to the feeling you get when you play “Sweet Caroline” and people sing the words as you play. Nothing compares to the feeling knowing that your spirit is shared by others.
So the next time you are at a game (perhaps even Senior Night), sitting in the student section, turn towards the band, towards your peers, and give us a smile, or a wave. Sing along to our songs with us. Cheer with us. Support others with us. Let’s work together to support our school; the football team may have lost on Thursday, but the band and the students most definitely got the win.