One of the great traditions of high school and college football is the pageantry of the marching band.
Whether you are playing in a packed Big Ten stadium in front of 100,000 fans or at Middle of Nowhere High School in front of 100 fans, the marching band is one of the foundational pieces of a football game.
No self-respecting school will allow their team to take the home turf without one.
As tradition dictates, the home team enters the stadium behind the support of the band, which leads the way while playing the school fight song.
As the game goes along, the band sets the tone for the entire stadium, intimidating opponents before every third down, standing and exploding into action every time the home team’s offense moves the chains.
When the good guys reach the end zone, the band takes center stage and the fight song bellows once again as the crowd goes wild.
After a victorious ball game, many teams even make it a tradition to join their band and sing the fight song together one last time, savouring the sweet taste of success.
Close your eyes and you can imagine this exact scene taking place at every football field across the country.
Well, except for one: Langhorst Field.
Instead of a taking the field behind a marching band, the Bluejays simply walk out onto the field with some generic tunes playing over the stadium speakers.
People in the crowd kind of turn and look to observe what is happening. Then they nod their heads and applaud before returning to whatever conversation they were having before the football team so rudely interrupted.
When the Bluejays’ defense is on the field for a third and long, they get hyped up to the sound of their own teammates awkwardly chanting support from the sidelines.
It is far from intimidating.
Nothing of note happens after EC first downs. There might be some more generic music. Nothing compelling. Pretty boring.
The worst part is after touchdowns.
A taped recording of the EC fight song plays from the stadium speakers and it feels like you are watching a parody of a real football game.
It is like somebody forgot to invite the band or could not afford one, so they just made a CD instead.
Overall, it is pretty pathetic.
However, none of this is the football team’s fault. This is not an attack aimed at the athletic department whatsoever.
I am addressing this complaint to the musical community at EC.
On the school website, our music department advertises itself as “internationally renowned.” It suggests that we offer “exceptional opportunities” for students who are interested in “the serious study” of music.
I hear all about the music program around campus.
I even believe we have some sort of widely acclaimed jazz festival during the spring and the people involved take it extremely seriously.
And to be fair, I am sure these people know how to play music.
But as a sports fan, I just cannot take any of it that seriously after watching how poorly the department is represented at sporting events.
Perhaps playing at a Division III football game is not seen as an “exceptional” stage, but I have seen rinky dink little high schools out in the rural countryside manage to play at their school football games.
I have seen these same little schools put together pep bands to play during basketball games.
So if this is the excuse we are going with, I am not buying it.
If our music department is so damn good, it should require very little effort for them to perform at such lowly venues.
They do not need to prepare highly sophisticated songs. In fact, any music at all will be an improvement compared to what they have performed at games so far this school year.
This is a challenge to the department of music.
Right now, those who attend Bluejays sports games do not even know that your “internationally renowned” program exists.
It is up to you to change that.