It’s weird, how some choices seem so small when you make them, but end up affecting your life far more than expected. This would have been my age-out summer with the Crossmen. I didn’t do it for two reasons: I wanted to say good-bye, instead of essentially checking out in January, like in high school, and I wanted to get to Africa as soon as humanly possible.
Had I known then what my last semester was going to be like, I probably would have chosen Crossmen. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but at the show today . . . if I’d been offered the chance to join them for the rest of the summer? Well, I’d still have said no, because the Peace Corps in my dream.
And it’s not like I could have done it in 2003 or 2004. I went to France, and I spent the summers before and after working to pay for it. And it’s not like I would give that up. Not for the world!
I just wonder . . . there’s something magical about those 12 minutes on the field. Working with 128 (yeah, it was 128 once upon a time) other kids, struggling through heat, exhaustion, dehydration, and asshole staff members to put together an amazing show, day after day. That magic can’t be found anywhere else but in drum corps, and for me, it was the Crossmen who made it happen.
Tonight, the show was amazing. The Crossmen were having more fun out there than anyone else. They were fucking hot. They turned it on, and got the crowd on our feet. Amazing. The Cadets were amazingly as always. Technically articulate, but didn’t communicate well. BAC was hot. They’ve got some work to do, but they’ll tear down the house come August.
But the Crossmen were on fire. They loved every moment of their show, and it was obvious. I miss that. I miss the 24 hour a day, 7 day a week intensity and devotion to achieving a perfect performance. I miss losing myself in mechanics of M&M.
A Crossmen alumni and staff member had a mantra, the last summer I marched. I hated him. Today, I’m glad I didn’t run into him, because I probably would have been too nervous to have an intelligent conversation. He treated me like ass, most days, but he left me with some words, that summer, that I still try to live by.
“If it’s not working, try something different.”
Usually, it was punctuated by cursing, arm waving, and general frustration, but their meaning never changed. The only one who can fix things is me, and even if I don’t see a solution, continuing the same mistake certainly isn’t going to make anything better. Thank you, Gary. I didn’t come back because I couldn’t, but today, I kind of wish I had.