Posted by: PD Warrior | August 31, 2007

Exciting, Sad, and Strange

Two of my children are now proud members of their high school marching band, a band that is locally renowned for it’s professionalism in competitions and a high degree of comaraderie and spirit – a bond shared by the kids, the equally proud parents, and the very dedicated directors of the school’s music department.

They have held practice several times a week for the last month in order to be prepared to march in the competitions that start two weeks from now. This week the band is holding what they call their “intensive week.” And it is intense. All week long the practices began at 9am and ran until 8pm with an hour off for lunch and again at supper. To some this may seem grueling, but the kids all seem to love it. They all work very hard and it shows.

I must confess that I am a very proud father for a couple of reasons:

  1. I was once in their shoes, and I know first hand the tremendous amount of effort they are putting in.  
  2. I am also a musician at heart, and to hear these young people play their instruments at a level that is just shy of professional takes my breath away.

Today, the band boosters – i.e the parents- all gathered for a pot luck dinner, after which we were treated to a prieveiw of the band’s routine, a sort of dress rehearsal.

As I sat in the school cafeteria eating dinner with my family I suddenly felt as if I had gone back in time. I felt the same excitement that I used to when I was a member of the band.

Then I looked around. The bonds of friendship between different groups of students was so strong it was almost palpable. A feeling that was exciting, sad, and strange all at the same time.

It was obviously exciting because of my joy for music, and doubly exciting because my own children were part of everything.

It was sad because as I looked around at the groups of friends whose bonds I just described, I also remembered what it was like to be that age – desperately trying to fit in with one group or another. Typical teenage angst.

It was strange because when I entered the cafeteria I felt like a giant. The tables and chairs that I once considered to be a normal size in my youth had shrunk over my years of absence. Then, as I sat there feeling this strange sensation of sadness and excitement growing deep within me, I turned to look at my children…and suddenly I felt as if I were infinately small and insignificant compared to the world.



  1. This is a good post, Joe. I was never in the band, but those guys (well girls too) always seemed to have a lot of fun and the comaraderie you mention was palpable. They do have to work so hard. I can see that as a parent, you enjoy the community too. I always felt that about activities as my sons were growing up and now I find I miss the school connection. I’m looking for a job and I think I’d be happiest working in a college or school.

    I don’t think we can enter a school without all those emotions and memories flowing back.

    I appreciate your comments and need to add you to my list of favorites. Hug those kids!


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