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September 19, 2003

Friday Night Lights

I just got back to the house after watching the first three quarters of the FMHS vs. Keller High School football game. This is the second away game for the Jaguars, and after our first experience visiting R. L. Turner earlier this month, we decided not to bother buying tickets before hand. After all, this is just a high school game, and nobody really goes to these things except the parents of the participants, right?

We got there about ten minutes before the kickoff, thinking we'd have plenty of time to get our tickets, find a seat and get settled in. Big mistake...

It was Homecoming at Keller, and their first home game of the season. People were parking anywhere and everywhere. We wound up on the grass about a quarter mile from the stadium, then spent half of the first quarter standing in line waiting for tickets to get in. To Keller High School's credit, they continued to sell tickets long after they ran out of the paper tickets -- the folks at the gate just made sure that money changed hands at the ticket booth. Anyway, buy the time we got into the stadium, FMHS was behind 8 to 0. It looked like it was going to be another long night.

Denise and I were lucky to find seats -- the stadium was that packed. But we were able to talk the drill team sponsors into letting us sit on the first row amongst the ice chests and misc. equipment. Not bad seats and we could hear the band, which is why we were there in the first place.

Amazingly enough the Jags tied the score just before halftime, but we were there for halftime and watching Bailey's performance with the rest of the band. Which is exactly when it hit me -- the parallels between my high school band experience and my daughter's.

Thirty three years ago I stepped out onto the football field for my first halftime marching band performance. Like FMHS my school had only been in existence for a few short years, had very few traditions, and had a football team that was challenged. Like my daughter, I played oboe (back in the days when they allowed oboe players to march with their instrument), and managed to finish the halftime show without screwing up. Friday night football games were some of the best times that I had in high school. The bus rides to and from, clowning around in the stands, the sheer joy of just being around a bunch of kids having the time of their lives.

We've always encouraged Bailey to try new things and get involved with something in school. She tried the athletic stuff, but just didn't have the passion for it. Academically she does quite well, but it's music and art that are her true passion in life. Alas, she has the temperament that goes along with most artists, but at least she isn't wanting to dye her hair blue or pierce her nose.

So many times in the past few years I've heard my daughter say, "But it's different these days, you wouldn't understand -- you're old." Forty-eight years of perspective tell me that not much of any substance has changed over the years. Sure, we didn't pierce our tongues but long hair and bell bottom jeans were just as effective at driving our parents crazy. And tonight when the drum line started its cadence, I could remember those fall nights back in 1971 when I was a rookie marching band member, having the time of my life just as my daughter is today.

Posted by mjwoods at September 19, 2003 11:32 PM

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