“They flaunt their instruments and ancient warrior costumes across the 50-yard line, through the mobs of pep rallies and on the stage at the Grammy Awards. And while they cheer for a top-ranked football team, the Trojan Marching Band cannot help but steal some of the glory on the football field for themselves.” The Daily Trojan
It’s funny. I have found myself on the defensive more than once when talking to people about Max being in the USC marching band. After all, how could my free spirited, independent son, the one who changed his name when he was five, who got his ear pierced when he was in third grade and who was in a punk band in high school end up donning a gold Trojan style helmet with plume, flowing cape and white spats and marching around on a football field? This has given me pause.
When I was in college in Wisconsin, I never once attended a football game, and I was there a total of seven years. I was: a) way too cool b) way too busy entertaining myself in other, arguably more questionable ways, and c) way too hell-bent on rebelling against my parents who were avid football fans.
I never paid any attention to marching bands, either. Did we even have one in Madison?
Later, when Abbie was at Yale, we attended one tail gate party because her a cappella group was performing. It was the Harvard vs Yale game - exciting stuff! But we all packed up and left before the game even started.
Now we are at a wildly different school.
Here’s what I noticed about the marching band at USC: it’s about a love of music, camaraderie, leadership, discipline, good clean fun, school spirit, time management and dedication. And, on a campus that certainly does not rank in the top ten for diversity, the band seems to attract a fairly diverse group of kids.
Admittedly, there are things about the whole collegiate football scene that bother me. Why do all the cheerleaders look like Barbie dolls? Why does the band have, dare I say, a slightly militaristic flavor to it? Why are the star football players treated like gods? Why is the coach of the football team the highest paid member of the faculty? Why do some of the rivalries become so mean-spirited?
Over the years, I have come to grips with the fact that I really do enjoy the sport. I do not miss a Chiefs game, and I often watch Monday night football, as well as games here and there on Saturdays and Sundays.
So, I guess it should come as no big surprise that Max has found himself yelling until he’s hoarse on game days.
The gold Trojan style helmet? Well, the kid loves music, he is very social and he likes having a good time. I must admit I was startled the first time I saw him high-stepping along with 299 others in their plumes and capes, but by the end of the game at Parents’ Weekend, after witnessing their enthusiasm, their talent, their cool formations and their goose-bump inducing music, I was shaking my cardinal and gold pom-pom with the best of them.
And my mom, who absolutely loved a down-beat AND a first down… well, I have a feeling she would have been ecstatic to catch a glimpse of her grandson playing cymbals during the half time show!
Here is a video Eddie and I made from the weekend– our first attempt at iMovie.