I wrote this paper for my english class. I’m rather impressed with it so I thought I would share it with you guys. Enjoy!
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
It was October 15, 2008 as we stood in Carman-Ainsworth’s parking lot. The clouds began to hover over, as though it was night time, but it was only 6 p.m. As the clouds began to form over our heads we became more intense, yet concerned about the progress of our pending practice. It was our last practice before our final competition, but there were still things that needed to be accomplished.
Suddenly, a deluge came down on our heads, but the rain did not change a thing. Section leaders looked at one another, nodded, and kept going. We kept our focus; our intensity rose even higher. No longer would we worry about the corks of our instruments, we had a goal.
Every senior marcher began herding the other members to their spots like any other time, but this time was different. As we guided, people became more exhilarated. For the first time in a long time they wanted to be there. They knew that where they stood was the only place they wanted to be. I looked to my left and saw Big Ben the tuba player jumping around trying to get everyone else to join him. That was the beginning of the most amazing practice of my life.
We lined up in our block preparing for basics, the practice of marching fundamentals. The way my school did a basics block was we would march forward, one line at a time, for 15 yards (three yard lines). After eight counts the next line would follow. When the line finished their 15 yards, they would run as fast as they could to the back of the line, then stand at attention, they would wait for their turn again.
But this time, something strange was happening. We were alive; we marched as though nothing could hold us back from greatness. It was a magnificent surprise. Everyone sprinted to their spot, jumping in the air as high they could, shouting at the top of their lungs, “Let’s do this!” I remember being so hyped up that I went around picking up all of my close friends and carrying them around.
After basics my director yelled, “Opening set!” Normally when this is shouted, people yell, scream, and run to their spots. This time was different. We let our focus show as we said absolutely nothing while we walked one step in front of the other to our first spot in the show. To me, this meant more than just the beginning of our show; it meant the beginning of my last show.
I know I wasn’t the only person that had this running through my mind because, as I looked around, I saw the intensity in my fellow class members’ eyes rise, and they too became very determined. We were on the verge of depression, but also standing tall on the precipice of greatness. We were determined. There was no possibility of us allowing anything to hold us back.
“Band, ten hut!” Mark shouted from the podium.
As a response, I could hear an echo in the air from a mile away, “C! A!”
The entire band shouted as they went to attention. We stood there, perfectly still, and waited…waited to begin the show. We didn’t worry about the rain anymore; we had forgotten about that. We had only one thing on our mind: meticulous perfection.
We watched as Mark raised his hands in the air preparing us for the first down beat. He moves his arms down swiftly, but cleanly. We move, without hesitation to our next set and all of the sets to come. Sound after sound, motions combining with the phrases of the music. It is all so glorious and beautiful. Before we know it two hours fly by and practice is over. We look around at one another knowing that we have just done something memorable. We surround the podium waiting for the words from our director. When my director, the person I respect the most in this world, finished his words I call the trumpet section for a meeting.
Unlike the normal complaints, they were all very excited to meet up. I didn’t even have to yell twice. As we all came closer my eyes began to well up. I went to speak, but I couldn’t. This was too passionate. I just looked at Krista, the co-section leader and gave her the nod. She began to give announcements then started to cry.
Before I knew it the entire section was in a huge group hug. We were family, nothing could pull us apart. After everything was said and done we did our chants and went our separate ways. As we split up, we may have been physically apart, but our minds were in the same place. They stayed in the same place for four days.
On that fourth day, it was time for our competition. There was no more rain in our way, just clear skies and sun. It felt so beautiful, like a calling. I had a sense that something amazing was about to happen. We were no longer jumping up and down, hyping another up. We had a goal, we kept our eyes still and calm.
We lined up in our block, preparing to march out on the field. I stood on the sideline watching a band perform in front of me. It was not intimidating; it was invigorating. As I stood there at attention, I saw in my peripherals my band director walking slowly down each isle, wishing each member good luck. When he walked up to me, he grabbed my shoulder, then wished me good luck. He may have said more, but at that point I blanked it all as the tears began to fall. I never moved, but I made the tears stop as soon as I realized they were coming. Before I knew it the band in front of us was finished, and began marching off the field.
“Mark time mark!” Mark shouted as the percussion leader began the tap. Left, right, left, right, we marched out to the center of the field, turned to face the visitor’s side to begin warm-ups.
As we finished my director smiled and yelled “dismissed!” At this point we turned around, walked very intensely to our opening set. As Mark raised his hands for the first down beat a sense of adrenaline instantly ran through my body. Before I knew it the song was over and we were marching off the field.
The hours passed as we waited. We couldn’t wait to hear our score. First place “Grand Blanc High school…79.3.” Finally, it was time, “Flint Carman-Ainsworth…70.1.” The stands roared with glee. We couldn’t find it in ourselves to hold back our emotions. We went crazy, running around hugging one another as though we had beaten a world record. This meant more to us than anything. We may not have come in first place, but we received the best score our school has seen in at least 10 years. This meant that we were making something of ourselves.
“We went from a score of 35 to 70 from our freshman year to senior year,” shouted my best friend Desiree as we loaded the bus to come home.
I sat there on the bus, with the entire noise of the ecstatic band surround me. For a moment I drifted away into my own world; I couldn’t believe it. We accomplished our goal, and nobody could take that away from us. I sat back and had to wonder what would have been the result had we not put in everything we had four nights before. Would we be in the same place? Would we have had the same result? I’ll never know. I can only go by what happened that night and it was glorious.
Before I knew it we were loading off the bus back at Carman’s parking lot. I snapped myself out of my daze and began to celebrate with other band members. We walked excitedly back to the band room to put back our stuff. I was pretending to be excited, but I was still extremely focused.
I looked around and watched people give high fives and hugs. I then turned around only to be greeted by Desiree again with a huge hug.
“Do you need a ride home?” I asked.
“Nah man, my dad is already here! I’ll see you tomorrow!”
It was at that moment we went our separate ways, not knowing that we had just experienced one of the most memorable moments of our lives.