The day started early. Four and a half hours before game time at the front gates of Rice Eccles Stadium, the band was meeting inside the stadium–uniforms on, instruments polished—ready to begin their performance day. Just because I am who I am, I could hardly stand waiting outside those gates watching the members report and not being on the same side of the gate! They look like prisoners in this picture, but I felt like the prisoner so longing to be on the other side of the barred stadium gates.
It was not too long before the band fell into ranks leaving the stadium to visit the diehard tailgaters. I began to fill a twinge of nostalgia as I heard the characteristic cadence and watched the band as it turned onto the street from the stadium. With 230 marching Utes, it took a few minutes for them to make that turn allowing us to drop in behind and follow them to the parking lot. I cannot express the exhilaration that began to flow through me as I instantly fell into step with them as my husband and I closed in behind them.
As we approached the tailgating area, scents of sausage and bacon began to waft through the air. Tailgaters could be heard shouting, “The band is coming!” By the cheering of the crowd, it was easy to see that the band was a significant segment of the fans’ celebration. As the band marched up and down the rows of campers and tents, fans could be heard singing the familiar words to the fight song …”Who Am I Sir? A Utah man Am I!” Oh, how that school song ignites the fans’ school spirit; I am really getting into this university band thing!
There is still more! After firing up the tailgaters, the band returned to just outside the stadium for the Ute Walk. Fans lined the sidewalk for a city block; the football team walked through the cheering and high-fiving fans while the band played on! With the football team inside the stadium, the band returned within the stadium walls.
After all this, the gates still had not opened to let in the fans. When would they open? Needless to say, we were the first ones through the gates when they did open. Except for the band eating their lunch, we found an empty stadium. It seemed just a matter of minutes
that the stadium went from this to this .
With people streaming into the stadium, the battery performed outside the stadium showing off their talents. Fans applauded and danced as the rythms caught their attention. My husband even got to be part of the equipment team and hold some equipment for the group. By now, my husband is even remembering the good ol’ days!
With a rousing pregame show, presentation of the colors, and the moving national anthem, the football game was soon underway. Oh yeh, that’s right. The game… That is what we came to see, but as always I kept my eye on the band.
Half time was no disappointment. How enjoyable it was to watch the University of Utah Marching Band and the Crimson Line take the field to show why it is known as the “Pride of Utah”. So many members representing so many academic fields performed to the fans’ expectations. How amazing to see an entire university band half time show without commericials and player/coach interviews!
The third and fourth quarter rushed by quickly . The fight song and the stand cheers ended. The stadium went from this to this .
We left the stadium, walked through the iron gates, through the now quiet Ute Walk, past the empty tailgating lots to our daughter’s apartment. I had a twinge akin to putting the final Christmas decorations away after a much long awaited holiday season has ended. It will be at least another year before I can experience the university band rush again .
You know, that day just ended all to swiftly; it was fun to relive in my mind many of my past days as a band mom. I have missed all that, but I think it might just be fun to be a band fan and get caught up in the enthusiasm of a collegiate team. Looking at the football schedule the Utes have three more home games and a bowl possibility. A bowl possibility…that could be fun!! Hmmm…
Maybe we should move to Salt Lake City….Hey, does anybody have some frequent flyer miles they would like to donate to me????