“… You really like me!” — Sally Field
So, last night was the Minnesota Brass end of the year banquet. This is the time when the corps gets together, celebrates the year, and gives out various awards.
Like the “Rookie of the Year” awards.
And guess who received the horn line “Rookie of the Year”?
But really it’s just an honor to be nominated, right?
There were actually Rookies of the Year for colorguard, percussion, and also visual (overall marching). It’s only fair that each section would have a rookie in their own discipline, right? There were also “most improved” awards given, and a special “Spirit” award given.
I have to say, I knew that these awards were given out from very early on in the year. But I pretended I didn’t know. I never brought it up, never acknowledged the possibility, just kept my head low and worked my ass off.
All season I had two goals, the outward one and the secret one. First and foremost, I wanted Minnesota Brass to win a championship, and I worked as hard as I could toward that goal.
And my secret goal was to do what I could to win Rookie of the Year.
I haven’t had a whole lot of “winning moments” in my life. Either winning with a group or winning as an individual. And really no moments where I was selected above my peers to receive an award in a subjective field.
I’m sort of perpetually a “runner up”.
But damn it, I really wanted to be Rookie of the Year, and I thought it was an achievable goal. I wanted that … validation. And, even though you are bored stiff hearing about drum corps, I want you to understand the level of work and dedication I put into this.
I had perfect attendance– one of two members in the entire corps that can claim that. No missed rehearsals. No missed events. No excused absences even. I was there for every minute of the season– and I always showed up early.
I had my music memorized before everyone else. I had all my coordinates memorized early as well. I chanted my coordinates during my walks at lunchtime. I also “air fingered” my music every day. I buzzed on a mouthpiece to and from work in my car to improve my chops.
I put tape marks in my hallway in my apartment marking off 5 yards, so I could practice and perfect step size. I rehearsed in front of the mirrors at the gym to improve my technique.
I always tried to get my Smartmusic homework assignments in on the first day they were assigned.
I played full out, full effort on every rep we did in every rehearsal and would be exhausted by the end and have absolutely no chops left. To where I couldn’t even play a note. Every time.
I volunteered to play in the Swarm Band for the Lacrosse games, and I also ended up being recruited and playing in the Minne-Brass group.
I also assisted in painting almost every rehearsal field we did all summer. No complaints.
Well, evidently my dedication and effort level was noticed because I did, in fact, receive the horn line Rookie of the Year.
The biggest compliments came later, after the awards had been given out and everyone was milling about and chatting. These were some of the the ‘confidential’ things I was told:
“This year, when it was time to choose horn line Rookie of the Year, I just want you to know there was no other name on the list. You were the only choice.”
“I wanted to give you Visual Rookie of the Year. You were my top choice and Matt and I had quite a fight over who was going to get you for Rookie of the Year. Just know that the visual staff thought you were a fucking rock star all year.”
“CB, we want you to know that we almost gave you the Spirit of Minnesota Brass award this year. No rookie has ever won it or even been considered. The only reason we didn’t was because awarding it to a rookie would have ruffled a few feathers and because we knew you were already winning Rookie of the Year.”
The Spirit award thing really humbled me a bit. This award is given in the name of a corps member who died, and is awarded to anyone associated with the corps that was viewed to have made a positive impact and a real contribution to the organization. You have to be nominated by folks in the corps and then a committee votes on the winner.
It really made me feel proud (and honestly quite humble) that people thought enough about me to put me up for this award, too. And that I ended up being “runner up” for it.
In short, it was a really good, really positive, really reaffirming night for me. One I’ll probably remember forever.