Oh, What A Night

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I don’t talk much about my 4-year stint in the Badger Band on here, but I should talk about it more. Because if there was one thing that defined my college experience, it was marching band. I guess since starting law school, I’ve been too busy to miss the things that were so inextricably linked to my undergrad (game day, practice every day from 3:45 to 5:30, run-out concerts, the Kohl Center concert…). But every once in a while, I get to take a little time off and experience it all again…except this time I’m a spectator. And that’s really weird to me.

Fall 2010

And Fall 2012. The difference that 12 months makes (i.e., graduating and being “old”)

Usually, my non-involvement in the band this year doesn’t bother me too much. In fact, there are only 3 times so far this year that I’ve had the time and the energy to feel sad about not being in band anymore. That’s not to say that I don’t miss it often, because I do. I miss my band friends, who I don’t get to see nearly as often as I wish I could. (This is alleviated somewhat by the fact that I live with 2 of them, another one is a bridesmaid, and another one is a personal attendant. So it’s not like I’m completely isolated.) But there have been 3 distinct times where I’ve missed the actual organization itself, and the hard work and feeling of accomplishment that comes with it.

The first was the first home game this year. It was my very first Badger game that I wasn’t in uniform. Before I started college, I had never been to a Badger game, so my very first one was with the Badger Band. Honestly, sitting in the student section and hearing those drums and getting the butterflies as the band performs run-on…it’s just not the same without that uniform. Don’t get me wrong, I still love game day. But it was more than a little heartbreaking to attend my first game having to watch from the sidelines.

The second was the Rose Bowl this year. For the first time in 4 years, I didn’t travel with the band to a bowl game in December/January. I still can’t believe that I was fortunate enough to go to the Rose Bowl last year, my senior year, and that I can say that I marched there with the band that I’m so proud to have been a part of. But, yes, it was a little sad to watch the Rose Parade on tv this year. To see my friends, be able to pick them out in the parade block…from my couch. To watch the halftime show on the TV in my parent’s house, instead of actually being there, doing it myself. The bowl game is the culmination of a long, tough season, and the Rose Bowl is truly the granddaddy of them all. So naturally, there were some pangs of sadness at having to watch it back in Wisconsin, instead of sunny Pasadena.

And then there was the Varsity Band concert that I attended last night. I always loved the Varsity Band concert, a 3-night extravaganza at the Kohl Center in Madison, complete with pyrotechnics and a 70-some year old man who flies. Seriously. If it wasn’t for the Varsity Band concert, I might never have tried out for the band at all. It always had a special place in my heart, and that’s probably why I spent a good deal of the end of last year’s concert in tears. It truly marked the end of my career with the Badger Band. So while I really loved going to the concert last night as a spectator (something I only ever did once before, the year before I started college), it was kind of a bittersweet experience.

I think this post is long enough for now, so tomorrow I’ll fill you in on the concert and share some of the pictures we took. No two Varsity Band concerts are ever alike (although they all have a lot in common from year to year). I know, I know…you’re going to die from the suspense. 😉

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