In most sports or competitive activities, you can tell when you mess up. In football, you fumble. In tennis, you double fault. In basketball, you miss the shot. In marching band, the fate of 320 people rests in the hands of a line of judges. There are few other activities with this much subjectiveness. There are some aspects that are quantitative, like playing in time and staying in forms, but otherwise it’s up to the judges if they like the show or not.
Last weekend the William Mason High School Marching Band traveled eight hours in seven charter buses and thee semi trucks to Atlanta, Georgia, for a weekend of competition. Every two years we make a trip of this proportion, so the stakes were high. Mason won their class, AAAA, but fell to Tarpon Springs in the finals by five points, an astronomical score in band. Nevertheless, this year is the band’s best chance at placing top five in two weeks at Grand Nationals in Indianapolis. We are one of the only bands who’s rank has improved year after year of competition. We’ve trained hours upon hours, but the season isn’t over. Our 15 minutes of finals performance in Lucas Oil is still to come, accompanied by many more hours of practice.