Welcome back, welcome back. In this edition of Riding the Pine, we are taking a trip back in time to when a boy became a man. Life changing moments don’t happen often, but when luck and fate collide, something special can occur.
The crisp fall air filled the Leesville Road High School football stadium as the crowd was going absolute bananas. We’re talking a straight electric factory, with no off-switch.
But let’s go backward a bit. When a friend told the cheerleading coach about their goofy buddy (me), nobody thought the papier-mâché lion head would get dusted off for its first football season in years. But, after accepting the gig on the promise of free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and Gatorade, your favorite freelance writer had fallen in love for the second time (sup, Jessica Alba).
Being able to tear up the dance floor for hours was usually my move at weddings, but this was a whole new experience. Having a crowd in front of you is like public speaking, but only the fun parts, especially when you add in how people would lose their minds for a drumline. It was an easy gig that was 10 percent luck and 20 percent skill, which added up to 100 percent fun – don’t check my math there.
The moment of love ironically happened to fall on what I called an Armageddon Friday™. An Armageddon Friday™, for those who are unfamiliar, is those pain in the ass days where you have a test or quiz in almost every class so you spend all of your lunch cramming. With a pep rally pulling me out of class early, I was forced to take the test while eating my dagger caesar salad. But upon completing the last Scantron of the day (hands down, the worst type of test because you can’t even write down jokes for the teacher on the side of it) I could move on to the festivities, or the moment I fell in ❤️.
The trombones were strutting into the stadium entrance and once it got to the tubas, I was next in line. Being able to improvise my dad moves to fit any situation led to multiple drum line jam sessions. And even though this was only my second rally experience, I was on fire. Move over Mick Jagger, because this kid has the moves, and Maroon 5 was singing about me, not you.
So after what can only be described as the most mentally taxing morning in all of United States history (editor’s note: all estimations in this article are…approximate), the energy was a welcome change. The pep rally ended as a massive success and the stressful-turned-great day was topped off by a football win. People always ask me, “What was it like wearing a mask and dancing in front of a crowd?” To which I would say “Well, everyone wears a mask, some just have physical ones.”