Football: from a Band Kid’s Perspective


The FTHS Band performs during Homecoming 2018

Lauren Farrell, Staff Writer

Township’s last football game for this year was on November 8, and although it’s obvious that I, a band kid, would be sad to see marching season end, I’ve really surprised myself with my disappointment with football’s end as well.

Before I was in marching band, I couldn’t care less about sports. I tried tennis and soccer for a while, but neither of them interested me that much. What did interest me was music. In fifth grade I began playing the flute, and throughout middle school I enjoyed preparing my concert music. As much as I loved my musical life then, it was nothing compared to how much I love it now. Besides the usual concert band, I was able to be a part of marching band. Marching band has consumed my autumn seasons for the past three years, so it’s no wonder it has become such a significant part of my life, but I also found that football means something important to me, too.

Prior to the band life, I despised football. From a young age, it meant my dad got the TV for hours on end so I couldn’t watch SpongeBob or iCarly. It meant that on Sundays, all the snacks in the house got eaten. It was boring and, apart from Superbowl commercials, I didn’t see the appeal.

Some of the brass players in the back of the stands understand football —  unlike me — and they tell us when to play our First Down song. We play it so often it’s memorized, but if you were to ask me what a first down is, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. In the stands, I clap and cheer when everyone else does and pretend I know what’s going on. I yell something disingenuous along the line of “Yay, sports!” as I wait for the next stand tune to be called so I can partake in one of the flute section’s notorious dances. It’s like I almost pride myself on my lack of football knowledge.

Even though I’m pretty clueless on the matter, being a part of the football games is something I enjoy and appreciate much more than I did previous to my time in marching band. I get to spend Friday nights with people who have the same interests as me. People in the band come from all sorts of friendship backgrounds and some of us would probably not even know each other if we didn’t see each other at least twice a week in the fall. These are people who I have never had a class with in my life, yet I consider to be some of my best friends.

It’s interesting to see how three vastly different groups cooperate to make one huge, successful show. The band and cheerleaders attend the games for the purpose of keeping the team motivated and the crowd excited. The game follows a cycle. The band plays music for the cheerleaders to dance to, the cheerleaders encourage the team, and the players score first downs and touchdowns to signal for us to play. Each part dedicates hours of effort to perfect their art, all to share the field and the spotlight at some point during the night. It’s a system of mutual support with each group having distinct functions, all sporting one loyalty to FTHS.

When my freshman year with the band began, it made no difference to me whether the team won or lost, because all I wanted to do was make music. I have since realized that it does matter whether we are successful or not. We can’t win them all, but when we do win, we get to turn our shakos backward with plumes in the back like a bird’s tail. It looks pretty ridiculous, the shako hurts our ears, but we blast Seven Nation Army, our victory song. We sometimes make fun of the sport, shouting (again) “Yay, sports!” in our most ironic tone, but when an incredible play does happen, when we win 16-14 in the last three seconds of the game (this year, Home v.s. Toms River North), we scream like we’ve known what has been going on the entire time. We scream like it’s our victory, though it has nothing to do with us. Our reactions are pure bliss. My dad yells at the TV when the Giants are losing, and I always thought that was annoying, and never saw it as something to be passionate about. It’s shocking to see how that’s similar to the state I’m in now; football really does affect my mood, and usually for the better.

So, what does football mean to me? It means friendship. It means enthusiasm. It means that even with the dread of school resuming in September, I’m entering my favorite time of year. It’s something to look forward to at the end of the week. It helps me realize how fast time is going for me as a high school junior, how I only have one season left in this environment that- cliche as it sounds- shaped me to who I am. Without it, I would definitely not be so comfortable with my peers. Without it, I would be spending more time alone. Definitely, I wouldn’t be as happy without it. Football made me realize that you didn’t have to full understand something to enjoy it.

In band, you don’t call someone a “tuba player” or a “clarinetist,” not really. You are referred to as a tuba and as a clarinet; your instrument is like your name and becomes who you are. Band has become a second home, where I can stop being a stressed-out “Lauren” for a while and become a Flute. Band is something I genuinely enjoy, can work hard to perfect, and can cooperate with others to make something more than me. Football is the outlet for me to do so. Whenever I hear the word “football,” I smile a little to myself because it will forever be a reference to my favorite time spent in my youth.