As promised, here's a post about Friday's rather eventful band trip. This is going to be another one of those very long posts that acts as filler until I get time to write again. I'll be busy this week.
Like I explained a few days ago, the Powers that Be decided that the SU marching band needs to travel now, and one of the games they picked took place on October 7 at the University of Connecticut. As a result, rather than sitting around reading blogs and randomly falling asleep like I usually do on Friday afternoons, I was forced to load my drum onto a bus at 12:30 and prepare for a 5 hour ride. Joy.
...That was my mindset at the time, at least. The trip ended up being a lot more interesting and entertaining than I expected. Read on...
Anyway, I got to the Carrier Dome around 12:30 PM, and we started loading up the equipment. When we take short trips, we have to use school buses, and we put the drums in any available seats. This means that it's extremely cramped, and a few people usually end up standing.
This time, however, they were smart enough to get us a few charter buses, so we were able to put everything in the storage area (which, as you know if you've ever taken a school trip, is usually reserved for suitcases). In addition, the bus I was on was reserved for the drumline and leaders, which meant that there weren't as many people as usual, and I was able to get my own seat. Sweet.
We were supposed to leave at 1:00. But of course, like every school-related trip in the history of humanity, that didn't happen. We got going a little after 1:30, which wasn't too much of a difference, but still...
If you've been on a charter bus, you know that they have TVs and VCRs. This one was no exception, and it also had a DVD player, which we took full advantage of. We started off by watching and critiquing the videos from our first couple performances this year, thus demonstrating that we are all gigantic band geeks. Pretty soon, we wanted to watch an actual movie, and the real fun started. What movie was it, you ask?
Team America: World Police. Specifically, the unrated version.
Whatever you think about that, I assure you that I was probably thinking the same thing...
I had actually never seen this movie, so I was kind of interested. I don't want to turn this post into a review, but let me just say that it was one of the funniest things I've seen in months. Seriously, if you haven't watched Team America yet, and you're not offended by a lot of coarse language...and explicit puppet sex...then I highly recommend it.
The thing that really made this awesome, however, was the fact that the band director and the drumline instructor were sitting a couple seats in front of me, so I got to see their reactions. Bwahaha. It's hard to describe this part of the experience to someone who wasn't there and doesn't know these guys, but believe me when I say that they were almost as funny to watch as the movie itself. There's nothing like hearing "America, fuck yeah! So lick my butt and suck on my balls!" and looking down to see perceived authority figures laughing their asses off. And now, every time someone says "derka derka," the drumline guy cracks up. Heh heh.
After that movie, they put in Dumb and Dumber, and since I've seen it quite a few times, I kinda tuned it out and listened to some music. Eventually, we left New York and drove through Massachusetts, making it officially the first time I'd been in New England. My thoughts: Massachusetts has trees. Lots and lots of trees. And also...trees. Man, there were a lot of trees in that state. At least the part we were in.
We pulled into a rest stop around 4:45, and I got to see what happens when 200 people all try to order food from the same three places. I think some people waiting in line for McDonald's had to stand outside for a few minutes. Luckily, I don't eat that crap, so I only had to wait about ten minutes for some pizza at one of the other places. After spending about 40 minutes there, we hit the road again and headed for Rentschler Field.
I don't know exactly what time it was when we entered Connecticut, but I do know that we didn't get to the field until about 6:45, which was over an hour later than we were supposed to be there. We unpacked everything, stood around in complete confusion for a while, briefly warmed up, and ignored random comments from fans in the parking lot. Eventually, we marched over to the field, and I almost had a heart attack because we were taking huge steps. There's nothing like sitting on a bus for hours and then marching while wearing a snare drum with little time to get loosened up.
The game started at 8:00, and by this time, it was already raining. I mentioned this, right? No? Well...it rained on Friday. A lot. This was one of the highlights of the night. More on that later...
Anyway, since our football team sucks, we got to watch them get annihilated for a couple quarters while trying our best to have fun playing in the stands and ignore the rain. And when the scoreboard played some weird recruitment ad about UConn being a top-rated public university, a few people started chanting "staaaaaaate school! Staaaaaaate school!" Bwahaha. Oh, the joys of going to a private university...
After a pretty crappy first half, we headed down to the field to do our halftime show, and we got to hear more inane bullshit from fans who were probably too dumb and inebriated to remember where they were. Apparently, the evil twin of our "UConn, USuck!" cheer is "SU, sucks to be you!" Fascinating.
Despite the rain and resulting wet field, we put on a decent, albeit brief performance. Then we got to watch UConn's band...and they were good. Really good. They came to SU last year, and I really don't remember them being that impressive. Especially the drumline. I think this was the first time that another school's band put on a better show than us. And since we're not a bunch of overly competitive assholes, we had no problem clapping for them.
When we got back to the stands, there were still a few minutes left before the second half, and most of us hadn't had a bathroom break since the rest stop in Massachusetts, so a bunch of people, myself included, headed up to use the facilities. This is where the real fun started.
I knew to expect some stupid crap from Katherine's "enjoy the UConn drunkards" comment, but...wow. I've been to hockey games and rock concerts, and I've been living in dorms for a couple years, and I still wasn't prepared to be surrounded by this much intoxication. And nothing draws the atttention of drunk football fans like wearing the colors of the opposing team. A few comments I can remember:
- "Syracuse sucks!"
- "You band guys must be drinkin' a lotta beer, ya gotta pee so much!"
- "Hey, [random slurred speech] play up at Notre Dame when [more random slurred speech]? 'Cause they got [even more random slurred speech] up there!"
As I told a couple people afterwards, one of the reasons I don't go to parties is that they're full of idiots like that.
After we got back to the stands, it started raining a little harder...then a lot harder. By the fourth quarter, it was a steady downpour. We had ponchos, but they really didn't help that much. On the plus side, playing drums in the rain is fun. You know how Blue Man Group puts paint on top of their drums and hits 'em really hard to make colorful splashes? The physics are the same with a marching snare. I'll let you figure out the rest.
After the slaughter ended (Syracuse lost 26-7), we went back down to the field to march again. You see, UConn has this thing where they don't let the bands out of the stadium until everyone else has left, so they have a postgame show to pass the time, and they invited us to do another performance in front of the 30 or so people who stuck around to watch. And so, in the pouring rain, we performed the opener of our second show ("The Glory Days" from The Incredibles).
UConn's band came on after us and did a really, really cool West Side Story show. These guys are frickin' good, and they got plenty of applause from us. After it was all over, we lined up and marched out of the stadium. It was raining even harder by this time, if you can believe that, and we had left our ponchos in the stands, so we were all soaking wet. And it was about a five minute walk back to the buses...plus the time it took to load up our drums again.
Once everyone was on the bus, we got to experience the magic of a couple dozen soaking wet people trying to change clothes in close quarters. Did I mention how lucky I was to get my own seat? I'm not going to try and describe the smell, but you can probably imagine that it wasn't pleasant. We finally started to head back around 12:15 AM.
The ride home wasn't quite as hilarious, but the people around me passed a couple hours with mind games (lateral thinking puzzles, etc.). One guy taught us a game that is quite possibly the best method of psychological torture ever conceived. It involves hand motions, so I can't really recreate it here, but if you ever hear the phrase "zoom zoom zoom zoom, whoopee, zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom," be prepared to rip your own brain out. That's about all I can say without giving it away.
We got back to the Carrier Dome at about 5:15 AM (yes, you read that right). As soon as we got off the bus, we noticed that it was about 25 degrees colder outside than it had been in Connecticut. Good ol' lake effect. After spending a few minutes bringing everything back in and drying off the drum heads, we were able to leave. I got back to my room around 6:15 and wrote the post below this one, so I guess that's the end of the journey.
I really expected this trip to suck, and in some ways, it did. However, there were a lot of memorable moments, and it was one of those times when your situation in life is so absurd that you have to laugh, which was what I spent much of the trip doing. If you knew me in real life, you'd know that it takes a lot for me to even crack a smile, so I guess I can say that I had a good time. I'm not sure if I would do it again, but I definitely had a good time...if that makes any sense. Also, I made some money out of it. They gave everyone $30 for food, and I only spent about $7.50. Heh.
And now, I'm getting tired again. Later.Posted by CD on October 9, 2005 12:38 AM | TrackBack