Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Steven “Jim” Poast

Like many of you, I have been through a whirlwind of emotions, trying to make sense of a situation so complex, it seems almost impossible to comprehend what has happened and what is still to come. I was Jon’s squad leader (K-1) his first two years (my last two years) in the band. We marched together and I watched him grow from a wide-eyed “rookie” to a not-so-wide-eyed second year. I would like to think his enthusiasm for the iPad project came from the need to eliminate charts, since he carried mine most of the season. The enthusiasm and energy Jon shows for the band, the fans, and OSU in general has been there from the beginning; being cut from the band the year before made him stronger and stoked the fire he has within. I have enjoyed watching Jon work his way through the ranks to director. I will admit I beam with pride watching him direct the band as if he is my little brother and I get the privilege of seeing him achieve his dream. He is my brother, my row-mate and my friend.
I am heartbroken for my friend.
Ever since 2 pm last Thursday, I am trying to understand the entire situation. I know I don’t have all of the facts, and that seems to be a common thread as the investigation continues. I know what being a part of this organization means to Jon, what it means to me, what it means to all of us.
I am heartbroken for my fellow alumni.
The world we knew is gone. There is no going back in time. We have to deal with the situation the best way we know how, with determination, dedication and drive. Things will change and that is unsettling and scary. But the change is already in motion and we can’t stop it. We can only prepare, adapt and conduct ourselves in a positive and professional manner. What I loved about being in the band, specifically KL row, was that for the time you were there, you could be considered one of the best of the best in the world at what you do. “I’m one of the best at marching and playing the Sousaphone!” How many people can say that? I bring this point up because now is the time to get back that mentality. Be the best of the best. The best alumni band, the best alumni organization, the best support system for Jon and for each other.
I am heartbroken for the current band.
The 2014 band will be faced with challenges most of us have never seen. The experiences and stories we have shared and used to motivate student musicians to come to OSU may seem like tales from an era time has forgotten. The media coverage will be as intense as ever and not all for the right reasons. My hope is that through this struggle, this year’s band becomes one of the strongest ever to perform at Ohio State. As we work to defend our image, our brand and our reputations, we need to keep in mind this group of students will be paying the price for things beyond their control. We must support them throughout the season, so they can have positive stories to share on the social media of 2020, maybe it will all be holograms by then!
I am optimistic.
We have an outstanding network of people who are stepping up to offer help, raise awareness and educate, as well set the record straight. The example set by this group shows everyone we are truly a family. We are a family, like many, who don’t always agree, sometimes fight, and don’t always get to see each other, but when push comes to shove…well let’s just say no one pushes us around!
I am optimistic.
Because while ramp lead outs, Skull Session entrances and i-dots only last for a few moments at a time, the stories of late night music memorization, early morning trips for donuts and game-day row traditions endure. These are the stories we share even as we fight to save our reputation. These are the stories that truly make the OSUMB a successful and world class organization.
I am optimistic.
If an organization like the OSUMB can take a skinny, smart-mouthed, farm boy like me, and give him a chance to be successful in school, entrust him with the bands traditions as well as be an ambassador of the university and become a leader within the band, then that is an organization worth fighting for.
Pick up your feet, turn your corners square, and DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE!
Steven “Jim” Poast
KL Row ’92 - ‘96

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