For those of you following my series on Ohio State, you know that one of the things on that (bucket) list is putting on the OSU marching band uniform -- to take part in the ramp entrance and the excitement of it all.
Watching the videos on Youtube, you can fee all the excitement and nervous energy. OK, time for a little background for those of you who are not up on your OSU marching band history……
The band was originally formed in 1878 to play for the cadets during drills, and it was a student led unit until 1896, when Gustav Bruder became the very first band director. The band grew in size under Mr. Bruder and would play for all athletic and military events. In 1920 there were only 100 members. In 1974 with the passing of Title IX women became part of the band. Today, it has grown to 225 strong.
They are an ALL BRASS band. Trumpets, Cornets, Trombones are just a few of the brass, along with a percussion section that is the best. We all know some of the songs that we can link with the band at one time or another: “Hang on Sloopy”, “Buckeye Battle Cry” and “Across the Field” were all first performed in the early 20th century. My favorite is the classic “We Don’t Give a Damn about the Whole State of Michigan” (my apologizes for using a dirty word there, and I wasn't talking about the word damn!)
OK, enough history -- back to why………In high school, I was in the marching band. I know full well what it's like to put on a uniform with pride to represent what that uniform stands for. Know what it's like to work hard each week, in learning music and a show and all that goes with it. For some reason though this is different, the pride, respect TRADITION that goes with that uniform. I could sit and watch the band for hours.
Growing up -- on PBS during football season -- there was a 30 minute show with the band. It was the performance for the day and I would never miss it. Even today, I have a few of those band videos saved on my tablet from Youtube.
It’s just hard to put into words what it would mean to just be a part of something I have watched my whole life. I know I keep going back to the word tradition, but it's the word that fits. It’s a tradition unto itself -- it is what OHIO is. When I am out and about and have my OSU shirt on, someone almost always mentions what a great band.
My adopted parents taught me a lot and of late I just felt like I didn’t belong -- I call myself an orphan of the world. In starting this series, I have discovered that I am a part of a tradition -- a sort of family.
I have friends who understand when I say I was raised a Woody Hayes kid, that I was raised to learn what pride and tradition really are.
While it has not turned out the way I had it planned, maybe one day I will get to at least stand in the tunnel as the band arrives from skull session and get to experience that excitement and energy, waiting for the announcer to make the call that brings 105,000 screaming fans to their feet.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMAN………THE PRIDE OF THE BUCKEYES, THE OHIO STATE MARCHING BAND!”