Marching band geekdom offers glory, though perhaps not sexual prowess

I have a confession to make: I am a huge band geek.

I am a full-fledged, trumpet-playing, high-stepping, band-camping nerd. I have been trying really hard to keep it under wraps so I do not damage my sterling reputation as the coolest kid on campus. Luckily, I don’t think that has ever been in jeopardy.

Personally, I think we in the band deserve a lot of credit. Not only do we willingly sign up to sit through an entire season of Syracuse football, but we do it sober. When was the last time anyone in the student section could say that?

Yet the football fans in full band uniform are just as intense, if not more so, than your average fan. We live and die by the team, and even though that often results in very poor health, we would do it again.

Last game presented a first for the marching band. Two girls made a sign saying “We Heart Band,” and that they would, “French a horn.” I tried taking them up on that offer, but like so many band geeks before me, I got denied.

Sadly, this Saturday will mark the last time that I am forced out of bed at an obnoxious hour of the morning to rehearse for a football game that the fans don’t bother showing up to until the second quarter. Sadler residents will be happy to know that this is the last time that they will be woken up at dawn by the drumline this year.

If you have not noticed — and you probably haven’t — we are attention whores. We pulled a world-famous trumpet player, Vince DiMartino, from his comfortable retirement. We have danced, sang and gone as far as playing Lady Gaga and dancing to Gangnam Style. Shame was left at the door a long time ago.

Our fearless leader holds the title of world’s biggest nerd. He not only embraces it, but he brags about it. This poor soul is charged with trying to convince over 200 band geeks that they are cool.

The size of this man’s ego rivals that of the Carrier Dome. I would need a huge ego for that, too.

Honestly, we subject ourselves to this because we enjoy it. I cannot begin to come up with a rational explanation for such irrational behavior. Maybe it’s winning the free T-shirt for being the mayor of the Dome on Foursquare.

Any time band members thinks they are all that and a bag of chips, all we have to do to bring them back down to Earth is point out that they have to wear shoes called “dinkles.”

After eight years of being a band nerd, this weekend is the end. I will finally get to know what it feels like to live a normal life. Then, I can finally show up for a game in the second quarter. And leave for Chuck’s in the third.

Brett Fortnam is a senior newspaper journalism and political philosophy major who will be unemployed in six months. His column appears every Thursday until there are enough complaints to make him stop. He can be reached at, but he will not respond.


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