There is some sort of nervous excitement in the air in the few minutes before a big storm. It made me want to run. So I did. I ran farther and faster than I have in a long time. I kept praying for a downpour as I ran, longing to feel quenched by big fat drops that stung my face as I trudged on. But it didn’t—God only gave me sporadic bursts of sprinkles until I finished my cool down stretching. It is then that it truly began to rain. God is such a tease.
As I ran, it made me think about drum corps. Two very unrelated incidents came to mind, which I will share now. You are not required to read them, but I feel the need to write them.
1) It was midseason. We’d been screwed over for housing once again. Instead of driving to the show-site during the night we were stuck at the ice arena once again. We stayed up until 1am or so making drill changes in the closer. We slept on the concrete floor and were awakened at 6am or so to be transported to the local pool for showers and a long bus ride. Upon arriving at where ever the Governaires call home, we lined the field and put on our drums under the heat of the noon sun. The drill changes were to be executed on the grass for the first time. The grass was long. I was deprived of sleep. I have never pushed myself so hard. Direction changes and backward marching become near impossible with a 20-something inch drum and 180 beats not letting you take a breath. I push so hard that I cried. I cried because it hurt and I cried because I wanted to hit every mark, and I just couldn’t be perfect. I was so mad!
We go for our final drink of water before the run-through. Tasia, Allison, and I are all crying. We must have looked like idiots.
Ben comes over. Ugh oh. “If you don’t want to do this, then sit out. Don’t march this time. Its up to you.” Through the tears, I gritted my teeth I looked at him and said, “No. I will not give up.” The three of us put our drums on. The show wasn’t any easier. I was still exhausted. The three of us cried through the whole thing. But we did it.
2) We were rehearsing at the Christian Life High School some where in Rockford, IL for the second time that season. I hated that school. The hallways were long and creepy and there were bugs in the showers that didn’t drain. The field was decent.
We took our sunglasses off for the final run-through of the day and lined up at the end of the field. A dark cloud was approaching. Nervous energy. I remember taking deep breaths (as I always did) during the ballad, concentrating so hard on the up coming movements, but enjoying the eerie fullness of the song that seemed to define Finis Coronat Opus.
I face the backfield, on the 50 yard line. I grit my teeth. “Own it.” Here it comes. 182 beats per minute. The wind picked up and a cool burst of air almost jerked my drum to the side. Mid field. Front field. Direction change. Crap step. Miller yelling. Rain begins to fall heavily, as if to puncture my skin. My eyes sting. Final set—halt. Eighty-nine—ninety-three—Two thousand one —and TWO THOUSAND THREE! The rain’s energy compounded with mine to define what it truly means to say, “I marched.”
I went for a run tonight, and these memories flooded my mind. It was a difficult run, but it made me remember that pain is only in my head. If I tell myself to do something, I can do it.