Thursday, January 18, 2007

Memorable Moment #1

While driving to and from work every day, I'm left with about an hour to spend thinking and reflecting. Sometimes I think about the song I'm singing along to, or other times I'll ponder the vast mysteries of the universe (like "who invented the ice cube?"). Once in a while, I'll have a conversation with someone, or I'll work out an argument from both sides.

Mostly, though, I reflect on the things that make me who I am. I was doing that today and thought I'd add a bit of it to my blog. The following is part of a paper I wrote for one of my writing classes in college, a reflection of a memorable moment. If I am defined by the things I have done, then being a music student probably tops the list. Yes, I was a band geek.


"Imagine yourself, a high school student, a member of the marching band, standing inside the tunneled field entrance at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium. You hear a distant crowd clapping and cheering, the ethereal voice of the announcer sitting high above the field in his bird’s eye perch. Friends next to you are breathing hard in the cold of the foggy morning. They chatter nervously as you all wait to take the field. You hear saxophone keys being pressed and repressed, trumpet valves sticking and being oiled, drummers tapping incessantly, even your own heartbeat is audible above your knocking knees.

Below you extends the concrete-lined tunnel to a bright light from the field. A band is out there on the field performing their show. Instruments sparkle in the murky light, almost a reverse silhouette against the red from the track. Red and blue uniforms surround you, puffs of heated breath escape from beneath shiny brimmed toy-soldier-esque hats. Your mouth is dry, your body shivering from nervous jitters and the cold. Your heart rate and breathing rate escalate until your muscles are tense and you are forced to grip your instrument even harder for fear of dropping it.

The tunnel smells damp and mildewy from the fog and chilly morning. The faint odor of sweaty football players tweaks your nose. Nearby must be an old instrument because you can smell it too. Cold instruments drop out of tune faster, so you blow humid air through your horn trying to keep it warm, the frigid mouthpiece stinging your lips in the process.

All of the stress responses that go along with “fight or flight” kick in. Most of all, you have to pee. It doesn’t matter that you just went ten minutes ago, twenty minutes before that; you absolutely must urinate as soon as possible. Every emotion rushes through your body like a tickertape, first fear and anxiety, later excitement and a sense of camaraderie with your bandmates. Every bit of practice has been leading up to this very instant, the moment you walk onto the field, look up at 20,000 cheering people and realize that you were put on this earth to perform this show, this one song, those three notes..."

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