God I Love Band

5 days. I have 5 days left before my final football game in TCF Bank Stadium.

I heard a quote somewhere that when things are ending, you start thinking about the beginning, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I remember the first time I saw the Marching Band play as a high school student. It was November 26th, 2011, the Gophers were playing Illinois and my friends and I had gotten tickets to see their last game of the season. I don’t remember the score of the game or where we were seated, or exactly how cold it was, but what I do remember is seeing the Marching Band make the Mound of Sound (Youtube it, it’s pretty cool) and telling my friends “I’m going to be a part of that one day”.

Flash forward a couple years to my first day of band. It was about a million degrees outside, and I was scared out of my mind about what I had gotten myself into, but once my dad had dropped me off, I was immediately greeted by the smiling faces of the flutes, my new family. All of a sudden everything seemed just a little bit more manageable. This feeling has stuck with me ever since then. Band has given me so many amazing friendships and so much love that I know no matter what is happening, once I get to the stadium and see some of those smiling faces, it’s like that first day again, and everything is just a little bit more manageable.

These past four years have been some of the hardest yet most wonderful years of my life. I’ve had some amazing adventures, experienced some terrible loss and met people who have made me the person I am today. And through it all, band has been my one constant. The place where for just a couple hours, I could escape from everything going on that day, make music, and work together with my 320-member family.

I (and so many others) could go on for hours about the qualities that Marching Band has instilled in us, but when I think about band I don’t think about it in terms of a resume builder. Instead I remember of all the times we joked about doing a “quick run” of pregame, or laughed and danced in the stands during a below-zero football game, or simply sat in the locker room talking after a tough day. I think about the memories I have made with the people who have changed my life. You get so caught up in the little details of everyday life that you forget to take it all in while it’s happening, you forget what a unique experience this is. But it’s the little moments like these that make band as special as it is.

Now here’s the reality: Saturday, November 19th will come and go, and just like that I will enter “band alumni status” but I think I’m going to be ok with this. I’ve had my time, I’ve met my people and I’ve learned my lessons, and now it’s time for a new member to join next year and take my place in the Pride of Minnesota. And furthermore, I’m happy that they will get the chance to experience the most amazing opportunity of their college career. But until then, you can bet that I will be in the stands cheering for our team and playing the Rouser just a little too loudly one last time.