THE MARCHING BAND FESTIVAL EXHIBITION –otherwise known as

Wet Turf and Band Shoes - Don't Mix and March.

Once upon a time in a State University far, far away there was a girl. This was no ordinary girl. This was a flute playing, marching, Junior in college girl. Practically a superhero. Now this girl loved marching band. She loved her friends, she loved the applause of the crowd after an amazing show, she loved the power of the sound that the 320 member ensemble was capable of producing. She even loved spelling out her school's mascot in big letters. (Narrator's note: I'm still amazed at the fact that people can be so overjoyed at seeing a band form straight lines in the shape of letters. Everything else we do is a thousand times harder. *grin*)

Ahem, back to the story. Anyway, this girl loved marching band. Every year her university band sponsored a competition for high school marching bands. This competition was a favorite of local high schools and the girl had participated when a high school student herself. The best part was THE EXHIBITION. (Scary music – Jaws like). During THE EXHIBITION, the university band would perform their best show of the season for the participants and spectators. THE EXHIBITION was a time for the university band to show off and recruit the band students. At the end of the performance, the band would perform the "DEMON SPELLOUT" (scary music yet again!) (Also, it's called the Demon spellout because during the Demon spellout the band spells the word Demons. The school's mascot, duh!)

The day of the Marching Festival of 1998 dawned. It was a dark and stormy day. However, the competition was able to continue because the university stadium had ASTROTURF. The competition was very successful. Although, it rained intermittently most bands performed very well. As the judges were tallying the scores the "Spirit of Northwestern," as the college band was known, readied themselves for the most important performance of the season (as we all know, football audiences for the most part want the fight song and something loud). These were perspective members and people who knew what a good marching band could be.

The "SON" took the field at 5:00 pm. After a wonderful "Mambo Kings" show, which wowed their audience (which included the flute girls family, her old high school, etc.) into a standing ovation. (Yay!), it was time for the DEMON SPELLOUT. The announcer said, "Demon Fans! Stand up for the playing of the NSU fight song and the DEMON SPELLOUT!"

Here's the catch(es). You knew there had to be one right? Marching band shoes for the most part have very slick soles. It had been raining intermittently all day long. Astroturf, while it doesn't get all-nasty like mud, gets "slippery when wet." Add to the wet turf, 320 band students, instruments, etc. Oh and running. Don't forget about the fact that the flute girl along with 319 others was running full speed to reach her spot 40 yards away before the drum cadence was over. Add to that the marching cymbal player that came to a dead stop (in the wrong place) in front of her. You get what….

A collision. BAM! They collided. Cymbal girl landed on top of flute girl's left leg. Flute girl noticed time was almost up, and tried to get hurriedly to her feet. "Weird," she thought, "That really hurts. I must've sprained something." She drags bad leg to her spot still 20 yards away. Gets to spot at top point of "N." Says, "I really don't feel too good." Goes back down. Briefly worries about tuba line that will soon be marching over her as consciousness fades. Hears another member of the flute section in front of her

whisper, "Can you get up?" Flute girl shakes head no and fights nausea as vision fades. Thinks, "If I could get up would I be laying on the wet turf about to be made into a marching figure pancake by the tuba section."

Band marches off the field in the ever-so-lovely DEMON SPELLOUT formation. Flute girl is still alive, but almost wishes a tuba player had finished her off if that would stop the stomach pain and throbbing pain of ankle. Her friends mellophone and saxophone guys rush over. Trying to help they attempt to remove the band shoe and sock. Luckily, flute girl's mom is an RN and stops them. An ambulance arrives to remove flute girl to the hospital so that the awards ceremony can begin. That's right 500 high school band students just watched her collide, fall down, and be carried away in an ambulance. Flute girl misses the second half of marching band. Plays only in the stands and is very sad. But that's not the worst part….

Number one - She had to spend two college semesters explaining to her professors and everyone else in the free world how she broke her leg in marching band (and not even at a football game for goodness sake! Like the sexy quarterback mistakenly tackled her, but at an EXHIBITION!). Number two – Scenario: Band camp starts the next summer. Flute girl is healed. It's her Senior year! The band welcomes the largest freshman class ever. The first words out of two of her new section members' mouths (after her mean friends have related the story) are "That was you! We remember that! (At least I, I mean she, left behind a legacy. *sigh*)

The End!

Story made possible by rain, The Spirit of Northwestern Demon Marching Band, Astroturf, Band shoes, and my own personal brand of bad luck!