Friday, February 5, 2016

#39: Spirit of the Bull [101 in 1001]

Back in 2013, I blogged about my time with the Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners, my college marching band.  I'll not rehash the sordid details here (that's what the link is for), but I did end the post by saying that I wanted emotional closure.

I think I found it on November 21, 2015.

Like every alumnus, I get a yearly invitation to our reunion.  Each time I'd plan to go, turn chicken (no pun intended), and find a reason not to go.  This time, I felt I was mentally ready and sent in my RSVP without hesitation.

Note:  I said mentally ready.  I wasn't sure I was physically ready.  Now, mind you, this isn't a sit around, drink beer, and reminisce kind of reunion...well, maybe they do that at the Friday night dinner, but I wasn't  around for that (I am on a budget, you know).  No, we're there to play during halftime.  I had to be prepared to play anything from triangle to bass drum.  Well, I WAS lighter than my college weight, so why not?

Parking was an issue when I got there Saturday morning.  There was a price for the closest spaces, plus I found out later if you left and came back, you'd be charged again, plus you may not get your spot back.  So, I did what any cheapskate would do, I parked at the Library for free and walked across campus.  That proved to be a good decision.  As I traversed the Quad and got closer to the sound of the current members warming up, any fear I may have had gave way to absolute giddy excitement. 

Upon arrival at Burgess-Snow Field, I was met by the group from the Grey Drummers--alumni from the percussion  section.  They meet during the year to play.  They welcomed me as an equal and handed me a set of 18 inch cymbals to play.  Hot diggidy, it's on now!

Practice went well.  Halftime went even better.  Not only did we play the Southerners standards, but performed one of my all time favorites, Spirit of the Bull, with the current band.  By the time we were done, I thought my arms were going to fall off, but I was ecstatic.  I can't wait the 2016 reunion.

Why hadn't I done this before?

For starters because I hadn't dealt with my bad memories.  In fact, I had suppressed them for nearly two decades.  Then, there's the whole "I gotta lose X-amount of pounds so I can feel worthy to come back."  You know what?  I wasn't at my goal weight and I didn't care!  If "Mr. Coordinator" who body shamed me was there, I never noticed, and I wasn't looking for him either. I was having too much fun crashing plates.  If he had made his presence known to me, I wouldn't have hesitated to show him genuine fellowship and courtesy. 

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. - John 8:36

I thank God for freeing me from the pain, helping me find equality, and renewing a long stifled joy.

Blow Southerners!

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