When someone says Friday Night Lights, you normally think of the football team running on the field with the cheerleaders on the sideline pumping up the crowd with the faint music of the band playing in the background.
Friday Night Lights for a band parent includes all of the familiar things that one thinks of but from a different point of view where the main focus is the band with all of the other aspects fading into the background.
Feeding the Band, Feeding Our Souls
Just like the football team, the band needs to have enough energy to play their instruments through their halftime show until the end of the game and sometimes even after the game.
Our school has a long standing tradition of tailgating before every home game. Our men’s club takes good care of feeding all of those who tailgate providing sustenance for parents, students and often times the band.
Not only do we feed the band and tailgaters with delicious food, we feed our souls with fellowship. During the tailgate, the band has time to mingle with tailgaters; visiting with family and friends celebrating our school and each other in true New Orleans fashion with good food, libations and music. You can see the infectious love and support among one another proving there is no delineation between band, football, cheer, dance team, families and friends.
While football parents are positioned along the 50 yard line, you can find band parents sitting alongside the band. Band parents may be watching the field but most of their attention is focused on the stands. I jokingly say that I watch the scoreboard to see how much longer until half time and then how much longer until the end of the 4th Quarter, but it is mostly true.
Halftime is when our guys take the field and perform the halftime show that they have practiced every day (early in the morning) during the week prior to the game. This is when we can see the fruits of their labor, when the band is center stage providing half time entertainment with their field show.
After halftime, I’m checking the scoreboard to see how the football team is doing and how much longer we have until the end of the game. Once the game ends, the night is still not over; if we lose, we pick the boys up from school after they unload all of their instruments into the band room. If we win, we rush back to school to ring the Victory Bell.
Ringing the Victory Bell
Another school tradition is the ringing of the Victory Bell when we win a game. The seniors of the football team ring the Victory Bell by getting on top of each others’ shoulders and physically ringing the bell. The band provides the soundtrack for the ringing of the bell, playing favorite songs as well as the Alma Mater to wrap up the night. Winning a game can often feel like a double edged sword on a Friday night, as many of us have been at work or school and it proves to be a long, tiring day. At this point of the evening, everyone is exhausted but we push through as it is another time of togetherness and the guys have a blast because they are able to let loose.
Friday Night Lights may look a little different through my band parent lens, but just like football, cheer and dance moms, I’m happy to support our children by showing up for them in every sense of the word. One day, we will miss the smiles on our children’s faces and the time spent with them so I try to soak up every minute.
“These are days you’ll remember, never before and never since.” – Van Morrison