Thursday, December 10, 2015

Things I've Learned As A First Year "TBDBITL" Mom:)

Greetings from a Happy Buckeye!

well mostly... could have done without the Michigan State game!
Taylor's view of the "Big House"  They goofed around with Brutus the whole game.  Note the score on the scoreboard:)

If you aren't a Buckeye fan, I apologize.  But most of this is about a new experience for an old gal...

You have no idea what your kid is getting you into, believe me!  I have to say that I am proud of the absolute dedication my son had/has to making the band and then maintaining a ridiculous schedule that included working everyday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. with only one 10 minute break to eat, then fighting awful construction traffic to be at the 'Shoe and in his seat by practice time.  The band is not forgiving on tardiness or absenteeism.  He generally didn't get home until 10 p.m., often as late as 1 a.m., then started over the next day.

That said, whatever I could do to help was nothing compared to that.

The first thing I learned is we have (especially first year's) little or no notice of the schedule.  For instance,  I heard about the parent picnic the night before (right in the middle of our move to another home and the last day to get out of the current one. )  I asked and got an extension from the generous new owner for one more day.

They give you a paper with the schedule highlights, ticket info, concert stuff, etc.  But you don't know the half of it!  To make matters worse, Taylor is just for this semester a Columbus State student taking a band class through OSU so he didn't get the emails and wasn't eligible for buying a parking pass.  That turned out to be the biggest nightmare of the season.  But I will spare you the details--just know it cost him a fortune in fees and tickets before he was able to secure an off campus spot for the last few weeks of the season. (for $200.00)

Then there is the lingo... sections are not known by instrument, but the row of seats they sit in.  So Taylor is in KL -row (pronounced KEL row) for the sousaphone section.  They are assigned nicknames and the group becomes very close.  They get invited to "row dinners" on Sundays, which you think just might be the day you could visit with your kid, but noooooo...   Don't count on seeing them from August through November.   Each row has a mascot.  Some make sense, some don't.  KL-Row's is a banana.  Long story and not that exciting...

I learned pretty quickly when assembling travel bags that you can't buy anything in packs of 28 LOL! The next thing is you can't buy band gear at any of the jillion local stores, just straight from the band (which has no store...)  Occasionally they will have a table AFTER the game, but often the merchandise doesn't all show up.  So, no shirt for me yet.  The band has to protect it's trademark though because they don't get a dime from the athletic department.  Really a sore spot with parents.  There are loads of people who go to the game just for skull session, ramp and half time, then leave (like me.)  We pay full price for tickets, parking and the silly expensive concessions.

Taylor said the Michigan State game was awful on several levels:  losing at the last minute didn't help, but it was a cold, swirling rainy day.  Somehow there was a problem with the caterer and the band didn't get a meal until the staff ran around to all the local pizza places on a golf cart and procured every pizza they could find.

Then, all but the most dedicated fans went under roof at halftime and missed the show they had worked so hard on.  But the worst part was the weather caused the fireworks (the athletic department sets off when the team comes out of the tunnel) to rain some kind of chemical down and ruined all of the instruments.  His sousaphone looks like someone spilled coffee on it and they tried everything, but it won't come off.  Ideally, the athletic department should pay for the damage, but it hasn't happened.  You may have also heard about the busing situation. They always have a breakdown or two.  The team never does because OSU owns those buses.

Parents are offered tickets (at face price) for the seats behind the band.  That is fun and you see you kid, but don't do it if you want to actually see the game!  They also offer some nice tickets in AA sections for a couple games, but those aren't guaranteed.  I saw my tickets for the first time the morning of a night game and they were halfway up C- Deck because all the former Brutus Buckeyes were given our seats.

There were ancient people hauling up the million steep steps and more than 50 stumbled at the step next to me (3 or 4 with food loss) because it was a tad higher than the rest.  So, I spent the whole first half saying "watch your step."  This was after paying $40 for a parking spot because I don't know the ropes.  We did make to our first skull session (pep rally) and it was neat because it's really the band's gig (and it is indoors!)

The kids are a bit disappointed about not going to the playoffs, but at least they get to go to the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, AZ where it's warm.  Game time is 1:00 p.m. Eastern and I will be watching it on TV because the parent/staff/student packages start at nearly $2500 for a three day trip.  But the kids already got the trip of a lifetime sponsored by the NFL to go to London and play at Wembley Stadium.  They were treated well and I am glad.

KL-Row guys at Big Ben last October.  Taylor is the H!
Some advice:  buy lots of the exact white shirts the band specifies.  They wear them constantly for travel and under their uniforms, so you can hardly get it washed between wearings.  Don't expect to be in contact as they are on phone silence and forget to turn them back on.  Know you are on a need to know basis and don't even try to change that. At first I thought is was just that Taylor didn't tell me, but I finally found the TBDBITL Parent's group and I know I am not alone.  That page has made a world of difference.

Author's Note 1/7/2016:  "Rolling Stone" Magazine has an in-depth article about the band.  The author spent the whole season with the band, mainly in Taylor's KEL row.  It isn't all glowing and wonderful about the past, but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

Well, that's enough for now.  Don't want to wear your eyes out!  Related links:
OH-IO!! A Buck-Eye's View of The Scarlet and Gray Craze
More Oh-io!:  A TBDBITLs-Eye-View of the Scarlet & Gray

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!

Until next time,
Gale

PS:  Trivia Question:  Who coined the OSU Band "the best damn band in the land?"  Answer:  Woody Hayes


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