Competition: When One’s Sucess is Another’s Failure

Region Band sucks. And I made it too.
Very rarely do I use my blog to b*tch, but I feel the need to do it this time.
So as I said, Region Band sucks. People spend months practicing three etudes, and it all comes down to (what should be) less than 10 mins worth of playing. You sit in a room and are judged by 5 people you don’t even get to see the faces of, and for all the effort you’ve put it, you know any one of a thousand very possible variables could completely screw you.
The full range of emotions always come out. I’ve seen the people happy about making it, the people happy about not, the (one) people sad about making it, the people sad about not, the people who don’t care about making it, the people who don’t care about not, the people who pretend to be sad about making it, the people who pretend to be happy about not, the people happy about a miscalculation on results and get in, the people sad about the miscalculation on results and knocked out (pwned!), etc etc.
And you know that everytime you scream in joy, hug your friends, high-5 for having made it, there’s someone sitting there watching you who didn’t, and it makes them feel like crap. Those are the people who had made it last year, section leader, and so on, and something, anything, happened, and they didn’t make it. Yesterday, I saw at least 5 people who looked like they were going to apply the knife to the wrist as soon as they got home.
And you know that no matter what you say to the disappointed, it isn’t going to make them feel better. Honestly, giving them your pity probably makes them feel worse; if you felt like crap, would you want someone trying to not make you feel like crap, therefore confirming your belief?
Everyone gets so hyped up about Region Band; well, at least if you’re in Band, you’d understand. This is it. This is the big meterstick of band. Your chance to show up your classmates, the kids at the other school, and your band director’s expectations. It’s the best way to get a letter jacket, another symbol of pride as you line your sleeves with those circular black-and-white patches.
Right?
Your call: whether you made it, or didn’t, or don’t even care, what I says doesn’t matter.

And on that note, I will begin my anecdotes.
So after having not practiced for a week because of AD, I viciously attack the week before exams, knowing that I have rehersal/concert mon-thurs, region on fri(possibly sat), a slew of important tests, final reviews, and a lot of nailbiting to come. The band concert was okay, though the orch one wasn’t so great (in that you probably would never notice unless you were looking for mistakes), but I’ve come to accept that. As far as I know, I did fine personally, and I was definitely the coolest kid at the orch concert, being the only one with a Santa hat on the entire stage. Go me.
Grades were an interesting story (for others, not me, thank goodness). In Shellum, I need an 87 to run away with an A. While I should be writing my massive 40 pt essay, I’ve been taking it easy for the past 4 hrs instead. With an absolutely magical grade on my last pre-cal test, the B (OMG!) that I had has turned into an A, so my exemption is definitely safe. History should be fine, for I have Irish’s old exam (email me or something if you want a copy) as reference, and my grades are good ’nuff to survive (and coach said everything just short of basically giving us our current grade as long as we took the exam this semester, which is definitely a lifesaver). AD was interesting.
I pulled away with a 96 on my “exam” (ie districts), and other A kids ‘cept one, a B kid, and I got A’s for the class. But that was it, for the “easy 5”. Scott, a definite paradigm shift for Taylor AD, has managed to implement real grades for AD, so just about everyone else is jacked. Which is stupid. True, grades should be accurate, but all it’s going to do is screw the team. Of the jrs, who wants to take AD if it’s just going to bring down your GPA and suck up 4 hrs (required) a week? Unfortunately, negative incentives is not the way to go for AD, since it is so easy to get out of it. I won’t be the one to complain to Scott, but it’s still a problem.
And I tied DNev on a math test. W00T!!!!! Take that!

So region band rolls around. Everything goes about as expected for all the transportation, preparation, etc. I get to my room, where there’s a considerable amount of conversation going on. Looking around the room for familiar faces, I come to the conclusion that I was in the “easy” room (basically, 14 tubas make it. Being so many trying out, there are two rooms, half and half. 7 from each room advance to phase 2 where chair order in determined. The only flaw is the one room is usually better than the other, so that it’s inherently unfair, but wvr), though I would later discover that apparently the other room was the easy one. So, I do my stuff about how I expected, ie not bad, but plagued with the occasional finger fumble, and I listen to the other people.
Wow.
28 signed up, 21 showed up, and about 10-12 had absolutely no business being there, other than to waste our time. They didn’t have the pieces up to 20 clicks within suggested tempo, stopped and started like crazy, missed pitches, missed rhythms, etc. So I figured I was in the top 9. After the audition, I felt vaguely confident, but was definitely in the “wanna-know-but-don’t-wanna-know”, so instead of being one of the hundred who desperately waited for results (pretty dam funny. so they post them on a window, just a piece of paper, and you can just watch as the mob of kids basically trample each other to see results. They even broke a table), I just played cards and sent Reuel to look for me. Just made me feel better that way. And so I learned that I had dodged the bullet, coming in #7, the last in my room who qualified for phase 2. w00t.
Go back this morning for phase 2, where I was strangely disappointed with the room. Last year, I had been absolutely dazzled by some serious tuba hauses who totally owned, yet that didn’t happen quite this year. I mean, they were obviously better than me, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. So me and matt lane (cinco tuba kid, good friend of JZ and therefore, me. made 7th in the other room) went in there with the “13th and 14th chairs so have our names written on them!”, though I was pleasantly surprised. I hopped 3 people and moved up to 10th. Go me.
And sorry for wasting your time if you don’t give a poop about region band.

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