Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm With The Band...

In my 11 years at the Reporter-News the one event I've never shot is the UIL State Marching Band contest. It's always on a Monday, which is my day off. Well, with some crazy staffing issues we've had of late, I ended up getting sent to San Antonio for the event. The state marching band competition is kind of an interesting event because the classifications only go to state every other year. Meaning, in four years of high school a student can only go to state a maximum of twice. One of our local school, Wylie was making it's second straight trip to state
Something else that was different about going to state band as opposed to the sports assignments I'm usually going for is, I was writing the story too. It's really not a big deal, I figured this would be easy enough, just write a color story on what it's like to be there. And after talking to both the band director and one of the students who had gone on Wylie's last trip I knew I had a great story. From talking to them they all told me that last time as the band was walking off the field they knew they had done awful. The echo of the Alamodome had thrown off their steps and beat. This time, however, when they were leaving they felt great about their performance. So, I'm thinking "cool, this story is about the redemption."
So, I go sit up in the press box of the Alamodome and start cranking out my story while I was downloading my photos and waiting for the results of the competition. Well, when the finalists were announced Wylie hadn't made the top 10. That's ok I'm thinking, I can still work this, I mean last time they finished second to last, and this time they were happier with their results. At this point, all I needed to do was plug in a quote from the band director and add what place they were in and I was relaxing and watching football and the World Series from my hotel room the rest of the night! Yeah, if only it could have been that easy!
So, I call the band director, and say, "Hey, sorry you guys didn't make it to the finals, but I just wanted to find out where you finished." Me, thinking that they probably just missed the finals, he tells me they finished 23rd... out of 23 bands. So, after my jaw dropped and I screamed inside of my head, and realized I just wasted almost two hours writing a story that will never make anywhere outside of my computer, the band director went on to give me a couple of nice quotes about how it stings to finish last and that's not something you ever hope for but hey at least we made it to state. Well, that wasn't exactly what I was hoping for but, hey, it's too late now and I have another story to write. Well, about two hours later I had story #2 done and sent. It was tough, not the story, but trying to tow the fine line between calling them losers and sounding like an apologist. Well, I think I did ok with the story, given what I had to work with. And given my normally procrastinating nature, I've learned my lesson from ever trying to get ahead of things again!





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