College marching bands often have clever little names that lend a little bit extra to their mystique: The Million Dollar Band, Pride of the Southland, Golden Band From Tigerland, Red Coat Marching Band, and even my Georgia Southern Eagles' marching band is called Southern Pride. There's something special about the simplicity of "The Auburn University Marching Band." The band so good it has no name.
In one of my first Top Ten Auburn games articles I wrote about my love for getting into the stadium early enough to see the band perform their parade around the field during warm-ups. I refuse to sit in the visiting side upper deck because the acoustics of the stadium make it nearly impossible to hear the band from there. I used to love going to the drum corps concert that used to happen prior to Tiger Walk on the lawn where all the tailgating tents and Tiger Transit bus stop are located, now. If those still happen elsewhere, then someone please tell me when and where, because I miss them. I absolutely will NOT miss the entrance of the band on to the field in the pre-game. Y'all, our band is so good it has its own entrance hype video and it gets me pumped just as much as the football ones!
Their entrance on to the field just adds to it even more.
I love the uniforms. All of them. The white, the blue, and especially the orange. I love the AU Marching Band logo of an A with the Eagle head imposed on it and the beak forming the crossbar of the A. The band is one of the things that makes college football, and Auburn football in particular, so special. It's one of the main things that makes going to college football games so much more fun than going to NFL games.
When I was an ROTC Cadet I was a part of the flag detail that carried the state flags out on to the field many times. I remember the Saturday morning practices and seeing how hard the band worked at what they do. I see them in the pre-game festivities at the Alumni tent, at Tiger Walk, and elsewhere. They don't leave their seats during the games. They don't get to enjoy the games as the typical students do. We take them for granted way too often, because they are just awesome at what they do.
In my final Top Ten Auburn Games article the other day I mentioned so much about the night of the Kick Six and mentioned everything I could think of. However, I still left something out. Something very important. Something that deserves its own special focus and warranted this whole tribute article. When Chris Davis crossed the goal line into the endzone, I was already hugging everyone in sight. I wasn't thinking about singing the fight song like I normally do after every touchdown. I wasn't even thinking about anything normal at that point. I was delirious with amazement at what had just occurred. Everyone in that stadium was going insane. Whether the emotion was pure joy or utter devastation, I doubt anyone was really thinking clearly.
One group was, though. One amazing group of individuals was thinking very clearly. In the midst of the chaos and celebration - which they certainly felt like succumbing to, as well - one group of people stuck to their duty and training and maintained their composure. The Auburn University Marching Band.
I'll be honest, I didn't hear this at all. It was impossible to hear or focus on anything other than "THAT. JUST. HAPPENED." They didn't care. The band didn't care if no one in the stadium heard them. They just went ahead and did what they were supposed to do, anyway. Regardless of whether they were noticed or not, the band played on.
Fall practice for the football team begins today. We'll be reporting on injuries, position battles, and anything else that comes up. We'll be previewing schedules and opponents and getting all hyped for the opening kickoff. Another group of dedicated Auburn men and women will begin practicing soon, as well. They're a background to this game we love, but this game we love would be so much less without them. So take a little time at the games you may attend to pay a bit more attention to these awesome people and appreciate what they bring to the experience. Thank them when they're rushing by you to get to where they need to be or during their breaks in the Alumni Tent. Without them, Auburn football would be a little less.
We love you, Auburn University Marching Band. We love that you don't feel the need to bother with a fancy name. We love that even in the craziest moment in college football history you stuck to what you're supposed to do. The band played on. And we love them all the more for it.
On to vict'ry. Strike up the Band.