Monday, July 28, 2014

Jay Sheridan

This is a long post, mainly for those that are not part of my OSUMB family. One of the most important lessons that I learned from Dr. Jon Woods is to live by the 24 hour rule before commenting. This has taken longer. Since the new Ohio State President Drake and this report has essentially called all of us drunken perverts, it has taken me a while to be able to complete thoughts together. After reading comments on the official OSUMB page, it truly upsets me how we are all now being judged. I played trombone in F Row from 1991-95. Still very PROUD.
Who are the members of The Ohio State University Marching Band?
We come from Anytown, USA. From small towns like Elmore, OH to the suburbs like Dublin, or the city. We cover about every geographic, economic, political, religious, ethnic, racial, sexual orientation realm of the spectrum. We have all grown up being called names like "band geek" "band nerd" etc. We all still worked hard on this one thing we all loved- marching band. How can such a uniquely diverse group work so well together on the field?
We all simply wanted to be the best. We wanted to be part of the Best band. And, we had to earn it.
Each member has spent many hours preparing for the tryout process. Trips to Columbus a couple times a week, practice at regional summer sessions, practice at home, alone. We each spent two days in the heat of summer being drilled over and over and over again to the point where, at dinner, you try to pick up your fork, and your brain says "Left Flank, Right Flank". We did this so much, it was easier than walking. Finally, Wednesday evening came when we were selected. Hey, you made the band! Time to relax! WRONG. This is when we got our music. Oh, you tried out on 2nd trombone, well, you will now play 1st trombone, and you will now need to re-learn all the school Friday. AND, here are the charts to the first show, pregame and halftime...And did I mention that we perform Friday night at a high school game? Time to work. This is about how we all started. And we wouldn't have traded it for ANYTHING. Some of us took one year, two years, even three years to get here. But, we all did. Some stayed one year, two years, five years, it doesn't matter- we are all the same- members of The Ohio State University Marching Band.
This is a very, very important factor for marching band members. Although, to an outsider, the formations on the field look like they flow effortlessly, that is often NOT the case. I wanted to be able to trust those around me to be able to march their part perfectly. I had the opportunity to march near a baritone squad leader during a star formation. Right after we turned at the top of the star, we turned and went back around. I trusted Nate to turn correctly so that I did not hit him with my slide. On Friday, during Squad Leader music checks, Nate was not in his spot and an alternate filled in. At the turn, she did not turn and my slide smacked down on the top of her baritone. Bent slide. Chipped tooth. Spitting blood. We trust our fellow band members. This is what makes the OSUMB one large family. We trust each other. On the field, the OSUMB marches as one. No distinction between individuals. We look the same from a distance. Why? Because we are a group, not a bunch of individuals.
This is who we are. We work hard. Endless hours of work. We were expected to be on time (aka 10 minutes early) and to work hard. Basic expectations. On the quarter system, I received 5 credits for my Math 116 class. 5 hours a week, one midterm, one final- that was about it. (Bill Knight, remember this class?). Marching band with 10 hours class a week, plus several hours memorizing music, plus cleaning and polishing instrument, plus ALL day Saturday game days...2 credits. We didn't do this to pad our GPA. We did this to be the best. We worked everyday to be the best. Our directors expected the best, everyday- especially when he asked for "one more time" at 6:10 and practice ends at 6, it is dark, and cold. He wanted us to be better. And always better. We had/have the best music arrangers allowing us to play good music every week. We worked hard, and when it was time to play...we played hard. We had our share of fun. Was too much alcohol consumed. Probably. Any different than any other college students? Probably not.
Have I ever been hazed in the marching band? NO. Have I ever been harassed? NO. Never. Period. Have I ever taken part in hazing or harassing? Not a chance. No way. We knew the University defined rules. Never crossed them. Period. There was an incident at Michigan State during this time, and we were educated on hazing rituals, etc. Let me shed some light on some of the issues brought out in the report.
Nicknames- I am proud of my nickname. During my first tryout year (91) an upperclassman must have seen some promise in my marching and started to shout encouragement to me. However, as we were only referred to as a tryout number and I didn't talk to very many people, he started calling my Little Buddy. Most nicknames don't stick. A few do. Most are normal names. Sputnik. Tater. Little Buddy. Trigger. Mumbles. What. Harmless names given to individuals of a group. Not ashamed. Period.
Midnight ramp. We were never forced to go. My first year, I did not. Didn't want to. I didn't know what to expect and just didn't want to go. I was told the next day that I was missed. Most people wore boxers, shorts, tank tops, etc. Not much different than going to the beach.
Changing on the bus. Really? This was an issue? This is common among high school bands. Amazingly enough, changing facilities for 250 college students aren't available on every street corner. Sometimes, we just have to do what we have to do. We expected it. We prepared for it. We found out what happens when we dropped the band off at an Ohio Turnpike rest stop Raxx Restaurant late at night. With 3 workers. Do I need to explain what happened? Again, most of the guys wore shorts/boxers the women wore shorts/tanks. It was never a big deal. Ever.
Song lyrics. Maybe 20 years ago, "obscene" lyrics would be shocking. But in 2014? Ever hear anything recent? Is President Drake going to fire Coach Meyer if the team plays music with obscene lyrics? Guaranteed those lyrics are worse than anything in a marching band songbook.
Verbal abuse? Did we get yelled at? Of course. And we deserved it. Dr. Jon Woods only yelled when he needed to. And he meant it. However, afterwards, it was fixed and he never held a grudge to anyone. Sometimes, we screw up and we need someone to put us back on track. Abuse, no.
Do many things of the past need to change? As we are in the age of digital media and camera phones, it is imperative that ALL groups be more careful in questionable areas. Jon is the right choice. Jon is the best choice. This is who we are. This is why ‪#‎westandforjon‬.
So, to President Drake and all those appalled at what appeared in the report, this is who we are. This is why we do what we do. We are regular people holding regular jobs all over the country. We are parents. We are outstanding members of our community. Most of all, we are TBDBITL, and we are PROUD to be.
Welcome to Ohio State. Hope you enjoy your stay.
Sorry for the long post. WB!

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