...not to be an ASSumer?
Time and time again I've heard the old cliche (even though cliches are forbidden in the world of wrtiers): assume makes an ASS out of U and ME.
So, what did I do on Saturday at the Friendship Cup competition?
I wasn't the only one... the whole staff sort of ASSumed...
The Sheridan High School Marching Band has 23 kids. Total. 13 winds, 7 pit and 3 colorguard. The rest of the bands have 60 - 200 kids. How do 5 brass instruments compare against 50?
One would ASSume a teeny tiny band whose sound gets hijacked by the slightest breeze wouldn't stand a chance against bands four times their size. Most bands' trumpet lines are bigger than our entire unit!
However, the lesson we've been teaching the kids is that size doesn't matter. How clean you march/play/spin is what does. Teacher, eat your words.
Friendship Cup allows bands to compete in the prelims by size. Okay, so 60 down still isn't really all that fair when everyone in your class is hovering around 60 and you have 13 winds. The count is by wind instruments.
Our kids did okay. They played it safe. Dragged the tempo, looked scared and tried hard not to make any mistakes. Leaving the field, they were disappointed with themselves. We teachers weren't disappointed, we told them they could have taken a risk. Being the last to perform in the morning, we didn't see anyone else. We only knew everyone else was much bigger than we are.
Kids from Sheridan tend to diss on themselves. "We suck 'cuz we're Sheridan. We're ghetto. We're Sheridan, that's why." It's a way to avoid responsibility for behavior. Let's not take a risk and "put out" with hopes of success b/c we don't want to face the let down if we don't succeed.
I assumed we wouldn't make finals. Before the show, I thought our chances were slim, but we did have a chance.
While we gave the kids a educational - trust-yourself-don't-play-it-so-safe talk preparing them to go home early, a parent ran up waving a yellow piece of paper. She handed it off to me.
My eyes scanned the numbers scribbled on lines next to school names. Woah. Our number was the highest. That means...
The band director heard my squeak and tore the paper from my hands.
"Oh. My-- we're in first place! We're going to finals!"
So much for assumptions.
I assumed the performance didn't have what it took to move on. After all, the bands who make it to finals usually are the 100+ wind instrument bands.
Sad eyes brightened, and cheers ripped through the parking lot. Now, we knew we were not going to win finals. But, we told the kids to risk it all and perform like marching around on turf with a piece of plastic or metal in your mouth (or a flag in your hand) was the most incredible experience before death. They had nothing to loose.
Scoring criteria changed to fit the 100+ band sizes. Our 23 member marching band GAINED 5 points on a score sheet that pretty much doesn't recognize our existance.
The show was fun. The crowd loved it, and the kids left the field dripping with sweat and on a high even though they knew we'd be at the bottom.
We were 11th out of 12. We did beat one huge, huge band!
What's even more exciting is that folks are beginning to talk about The Little Band That Could.
I'm sorry kids for assuming. It does make and ASS out of both U and ME and you guys don't deserve that.
We're off to a good start!