For the majority of Americans, there’s only two times during the year in which marching band music is heard.
The first is during parade season, when all the Independence Day celebrations feature every patriotic arrangement John Philip Sousa could think of.
When the Tooele High School marching band made its way past my house at what felt like milking time on Monday, my slumbering synapses were slow to realize that, no, my remodeling landlord didn’t suddenly get a real sense of rhythm in his hammering upstairs. Nor did my wife’s alarm clock become infatuated with a slow crecendo of a small-town drumline’s heartbeat. I also recognized that it wasn’t the Fourth of July.
It was a message to my soul that meant so much more than any of those.
The rolling tempos and cymbol crashes comprised a herald to my heart that the second time of the year in which the average American appreciates marching band music — and perhaps the more American time, if it were possible to upstage the nation’s birthday — is fast approaching.
High school moratoriums have been lifted, teams will be formally selected at the beginning of next month, the hot July sun will eventually give way to cool evenings as stadium lights will be awoken from a long eight months of relative inactivity near the end of August.
Shortly after, college teams across the county will take part in pay-to-slay games, using the so-called contests as either a tune-up game or an opportunity to catch a larger program with its pants down.
A week later, the professionals will begin playing the games for real, to the delight of sports bookies and fantasy league managers everywhere.
“Prepare yourself for football season,” is the message those drums beat into my heart.
Tavin Stucki is a sports writer from Midvale, Utah, who revels in the fact that he gets paid to watch football for a living. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.