Saturday, May 28, 2011

Showing Up and Looking Good

Finally I get around to my first post under this new masthead (bloghead?), and it has no direct relation to either knitting or books, least of all knitting books, though I'll see if I can't tie it in somehow before I wrap up.

Anyway, last night was the year-end awards ceremony for the Vero Beach High School Fighting Indians Band, aka "The Pride of the Treasure Coast."
Red White & Blue Concert - March 2011 - Symphonic Band I

My sophomore son (also a sophomoric son at times) was recognized in two categories: Perfect Attendance (as a band parent I was under the impression that there was no choice in this) and Best Eyes (2nd year running). Compared to the numerous scholarships, service awards and leadership honors that were presented during this longer-than-usual marathon, these two certificates might seem like more of a consolation prize than a worthy distinction, but when you think about it, they represent two important foundations for success: showing up and looking good.

Of course good attendance is commanded and expected in this organization, just as it must be for any group or team that strives for excellence. Individuals must be aware of their responsibility to the larger entity and be committed to practices/rehearsals, performances/games.
Fall 2010 Field Show

In this over-scheduled culture where doing more trumps commitment and making choices, I find this expectation is often lacking, replaced by an atmosphere of "I'll show up if, at that moment, this activity happens to be at the top of a long list of so-called priorities." In an age where scheduling conflicts prevail, Vero's band program not only discourages them, they do all but forbid them. Sickness or death are the only excuses accepted. But therein lies the irony. It's not easy for these teens to make it through an entire year's rigorous schedule, from band camp through football season and months of performances throughout the county, state and sometimes even the country, (while going to school, mind you) without succumbing to at least a sore throat or bug of some kind. And the announcement at year end of all those with perfect attendance holds an inkling of suspense because who, after all, remembers the entirety of the last ten months and whether you missed one practice back in October? IMO the recognition of perfect attendance in this case is not a testament to superior commitment, but rather to submission, parents who are willing to drive back and forth to school and elsewhere innumerable times, and exceedingly impenetrable immune systems. Nonetheless, on behalf of Chris Dixon, his mother happily accepts the award and appreciates the recognition.

As for the eyes, a distinction earned by virtue of peer voting, that, too, can be a starting place for success, assuming that such a captivating feature is then fleshed out with likeable personality and worthy character, which in my son's case, as far as I'm concerned, it is.

Two and a quarter hours into this ceremony (by which time in years past it has been over) we decided that we had tortured Chris's disinterested little brother and our empty stomachs long enough, and we bailed in favor of dinner at Hurricane Wings. I learned this morning that soon after we left, they announced that Percussion won "Section of the Year" (no-brainer - should be an annual shoo-in IMO, but I suppose I'm somewhat biased). Though the honor no doubt encompasses more than marching season, let's just relive the 2010-2011 drum line for a moment, shall we?

Chris's buddies, half of whom bear the name of William, stayed overnight after last evening's band awards and dance. This is what the room looks like twelve hours after their arrival:

But this was what I found when I finally make my way to the laundry room to throw in an overdue load:

I was amazed and delighted that one of these boys (50% chance that it was a William  - nay, better than 50% because I know it wasn't Chris) took the time to hang up his shirt - in fact, I'm impressed that any of them even knew that this was something that should be done. I'll have to investigate further, find the mother, and go sit at her feet for a spell.

So, how can I get this post on topic? Well, I took the big red beast with me to the auditorium last night and successfully tinked one row, then completed two more (one step back, two forward). Doesn't sound like much for over two hours, but at 204 stitches apiece, that's not too bad for me, considering the high level of distraction and the sheer bulk of this nearly-finished-my-God-how-much-longer project.  Any progress is welcome and celebrated. Knocked out another row at home while waiting for the boys to get home from the dance, so binding off tomorrow is still within the realm of possiblity, though it's a lofty goal to be sure.

Before turning out the light I read a few more pages of The Knitting Circle, a book I began last week with some trepidation due to its premise. I must say, however, I continue to enjoy it, if that's even an appropriate term for this novel, and am bewildered that it is not making me feel depressed, especially considering my week of minimal sleep and increased stress. Perhaps it's the high knitterly content that keeps me engaged.