The football team played every game this season, as is expected, and the band played every half time, in support of the team. And the parents and grandparent of the very few band members and football players without personal transport have made every pickup and delivery of those select few. The drill has been in effect since the last week of July, in fact, when the well organized parents of both kinds of player began their annual ritual of living vicariously.
Now it is the end of the third week of November and no, it has not ended. For the first time in longer than I can be bothered to look up, the football team is undefeated. An interview with the coach made the top half of the first page of the local paper. He’s proud of his “guys,” citing names and statistics so far back that only football parents emerged with eyes unglazed.
The season ending so gloriously, what next? Why, sudden death playoffs, of course. With the bands playing every half time, in support of the teams. Our weather has turned so on the kids that the band director is toying with letting the students march in warm street clothes, the decision for uniforms to be made at the last minute, so bring the uniform, too. Personally I believe that is her bribe to keep her band up to full force as her award winning band has yet to appear on the field in street clothes.
Tomorrow is the third sudden death for the football team; they survived the team that took them out last year, and one other. Tomorrow’s game is against a team they defeated already during the school year. The team is becoming quite cocky, Emily reports, but that goes two ways. Their confidence can carry them to another victory; their overconfidence can end the season. We’ll see.
Bringing me to the present. If the team wins tomorrow, they play again next Saturday. Thanksgiving weekend. Emily began softening me up by reciting all the people she knows who have plans for that weekend. Oddly, they’re all band members, not football players. She was, of course, working up to her Thanksgiving weekend, when one of her parents will be lifting the children from the shelf for the first time in three or four months, and taking his “family” across state for a long weekend with his partner’s parents.
“I guess,” Emily said, “I’ll just have to tell the band director I have a family emergency.”
“Was this a known possibility when you joined marching band?”
“Well, yes, but I would like to spend the weekend with my family.”
I let her bask in that thought for several days before I told her if there was another playoff game that weekend, she would be marching.
The bedroom on the other side of the hall exudes grumpy since then. Given her twelve years of religious upbringing prior to occupying that bedroom I shake my head and wonder when the moral compass will engage.