Monday, October 22, 2007

Birthday Weekend

I just had one of the greatest weekends ever. Period.

Ever year the marching band takes a trip to one away game. This year, it fell to a University a stone's throw from Chicago. What made this trip even better was the fact that it fell on the weekend smack dab before my birthday...which is today!

The greatness really began on Friday morning. Because we weren't going to leave until 10:00am, I didn't have an excuse not to go to PT at 6:00, which if you know how much I love to run was actually ok with me. The route was the 6 mile trek that I screwed up the last time I led it, so I was a little nervous, but it really couldn't have gone better. We kept an 8 minute (or better) mile pace through almost the entire route, and by the end, I felt fantastic. After a quick breakfast, I through my weekend bag together, unplugged the video camera charger, and headed with my house mate over to the music building to wait for the buses.

The ride was great. My house mate is the band's CEO and one of only three fifth year seniors in the group (myself included); he had previously warned that those wishing to sleep and/or study en route to our first performance (4-5 hour trip) really needed to grab a ride on the second bus because of the loud, obnoxious songs we were going to sing and the fantastically crude stories we were planning to share with the newer members. We stood by our warning.

After checking into our hotel, we drove to a local high school to play with their band. This turned out to be the only truly disappointing part of the whole weekend. The students, both band and fan alike, were fairly rude to us and the atmosphere was fairly bland. In the end, it was the few who got into our cheers, jeers, and powerful half-time show made it worth while. The buses rolled into the hotel around 11:00pm or so after we left the game. I hit the pillow and was out.

The next morning, we grabbed some breakfast and drove to the college game. It was a tiny stadium, and we dwarfed the home team's band which was more of a pep squad then a marching band (they didn't take the field, but they were pretty cool people. A few of us met with them after half time and they were incredibly gracious hosts). The energy was great. A boat load of our fans showed up to the game. The tiny stadium made cheering so much more fun because it was possible to get shouted messages back and forth across the field without any real problems. Our team ended up winning by quite a bit.

After the game, the buses drove us into downtown Chicago. Our band announcer took all of the seniors to dinner as is tradition on the trip. We got authentic Chicago-style pizza and watched the Cleveland Indians get stomped in the sixth game of the ALCS. After dinner, most of us just walked around the city until the buses came back to get us.

Sunday, we went back to Chicago. We spent the day on the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier, shopping and walking. Chicago's just a neat city to be in for a while. It was cool having been there before because I could help figure out where we needed to go and all that good stuff. We left around 4:00pm. A quick stop at a flustered, but friendly Arby's filled us up at the halfway point. The last few hours of the bus trip made the initial trip pale in comparrison. Song after whole back of the bus was glowing.

Got in bed around midnight just in time to get a few text messages from my friends wishing my a happy birthday. PT was great this morning, but I'm going to really be draggin' my feet and smacking my face to try and stay awake...

We're going to my favorite place to eat tonight...about as authentic as an Irish pub can get in middle America. Good times, good potato soup!


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