Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The 1977 MBA Marching Band

December 1977. Tommy Owen Stadium. Nashville, Tennessee. MBA’s last football game against Antioch is contested. It had been a rather mediocre season (we were 5-4 entering this game), having recently been pummeled by Father Ryan two weeks prior. However, optimism surged after a squeaky win the previous week over rival BGA.
It was a cold clear night, and Antioch fans had turned out strong fan support, their bleachers full. Yet, as the game kicked off, what appeared to be many fans was really a large Marching Band (the band members had not yet shed their winter coats).
Meanwhile, across the field, my teammates and I were on the field doing our pre-game stretches and calisthenics. No, we were not warming up for the actual football game; rather, we were the lowly cheerleading team on the sidelines. Undoubtedly today OSHA would not approve of the athletic maneuvers we executed with our female partners. At this time though, it was essential to be as primed as possible in every way - just ask Jody J (’79), who was also on the field.
Halftime came quickly, and our team already had a large lead. Antioch’s marching band took the field, full of rhythm, flashiness, style, and of course, thunderous music! Standing on the side of the field with our cheerleading partners, David Smith (‘78) and I looked at each other, and in our “questionable condition”, asked rhetorically why MBA didn’t have a half-time marching band. It didn’t take long for us to change that fact- as the Antioch band was marching off the field, Smith and I had begun our own “MBA March”, high-stepping in pitiful rhythm with a lone snare drum and a dented bugle in hand! We marched the length of the field beating the drum and blowing the bugle to no specific song at all. Our loyal crowd showed their appreciation of our effort with a standing ovation. (Ok; maybe they were already standing.)
Most importantly, MBA emerged as victors, 39-17. What a night!
Then Monday morning came…
Mr. Carter summoned us to his office. Those of you who knew Mr. Carter will recall his rather ominous presence, his headmastering “style” somewhere between Bobby Knight’s and John Wooden’s. On this day, he was all Knight! In short order, he reminded David and me that MBA has never had a marching band and never will, and that we embarrassed ourselves and the school.
We slumped from his office in silence and returned to classes for the rest of the week. Surprisingly, we were not banned from the stadium. In fact, we were invited back on Saturday morning, to rake leaves and pick up trash to extinguish the 10 demerits we each received.
Nevertheless, we each remain in good standing as ½ of the greatest MBA half-time Marching Band of all time.

submitted by Bill Calton ‘78