So, there was this one year I decided to march in an NFL marching band.  Okay, I didn’t decide to do it.  I decided to audition to do it.  And I got the gig.  And it was not all the hype.  But I can say I did it.  Went a little something like this.

I was living in Centreville in the Virginia suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C.  As a Giants fan, there was no way I would have tried out for the Redskins’ marching band.  No way.  But that’s all right.  They were nearly impossible to get into.

A fraternity brother from James Madison University had been living in the Baltimore suburbs and had posted online that they were looking for more horn players and I had just graduated from Virginia Tech, having played in the Marching Virginians as a saxophonist for four years.  So, I drove to the Howard County fairgrounds for my first practice.  Never mind that, to get from Chantilly, where my employer was located, to the fairgrounds was nearly a 2 hour drive.  Sure, Google now says it’s about 72 minutes, but, well, in D.C. and Baltimore rush hour, that wasn’t realistic.

There were some nights that I didn’t get to rehearsal until rehearsal was actually over.  And game weekends were spent in dorm rooms on the Towson University campus with gracious fraternity brothers attending there.  It was actually a crazy thing for me to have done.  Not so much the game weekends, but rather the Wednesday night rehearsals.  Mostly for the reason that there was always an outing to Ruby Tuesdays after rehearsal and I wouldn’t get home until after 2am and then back to the office by 6:30.

It’s not like I drank every week and then drove back to Virginia every week.  I’d have a few sodas with fellow bandmates and then head home.  No big deal, really.  I was 22 then and had little responsibility but to myself and my bills.  That’s it.  Now?  I have no idea how I survived on that little sleep for 10 weeks of Wednesdays.  Especially looking back on it from a perspective of being treated now for sleep apnea that actually existed back then!

One of the coolest parts about being in the band wasn’t about being in the band.  It was being in another band.  One that’s still playing throughout Maryland.  I found myself in a professional “big band” called Mood Swings that’s still playing.  Granted, I’ve taken my life in a different direction, but I’m glad to have had that season of my life.

What is one of the cool things you’ve done that, even if you aren’t still doing it, you can look back on your life (as much or as little as you’ve lived it) and say, “I did that and I’m glad I did?”  Share in the comments.

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