“What kind of ticket do you want?” The lady behind the thick glass with the hole in it (to stick your face through to talk) asked.
“I have no idea!” I gasped. “All I know is that my daughter’s band performs in four minutes. So whatever kind of ticket that needs, I’ll take that!”
I shoved cash through the tiny slot in the counter and she quickly slid a ticket right back. Grateful that she sensed my urgency, I hurried off.
Maybe she sensed my urgency because I was gasping for air!
Or maybe it was because I ran up to the ticket counter at “breakneck” speed and slid in like I was coming into home plate with bases loaded…
oh silly me…silly me…
Whatever she thought, this performance was important to me, and I really can’t place my finger on exactly why I wanted to see the band perform so badly.
Greenfield Central Cougar Pride Marching Band was marching in Lucas Oil Stadium in Preliminary Competition, with an opportunity to place in the Bands of America Grand National Finals. I’d seen their show all Fall at multiple competitions and at many of the practices. When they were on the field in matching uniforms, I could never pick out our daughter among all the other band members. So no, I can’t tell you why I wanted to see the show this time. And the band had performed the Saturday before right there in the stadium in State Finals and placed 2nd. So it wasn’t because it was in the stadium. Though I’ll admit that does make for a pretty spectacular performance. Even if I do say so myself.
The performance was at 2:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Friday afternoon is not an ideal time to be gone from the office. The car I needed to drive was in the shop. After lunch my husband, always my encourager, looked at me and kindly said, “Rachel, I really think you can make it. Let’s go see if the car is ready.”
I pulled onto the Interstate at 1:18 p.m. On a good day we allow 35 minutes to get Downtown once we get on the Interstate. I also needed to find parking, buy a ticket, and get in the stadium. No small feat…on a good day…sorta.
I hadn’t planned for the State Trooper who wanted to see “that lady that was driving the black Denali”, but I guess he thought he might should check and make sure “she” wasn’t running drugs or something. I wasn’t… and he let me go…12 minutes later…actually, I don’t remember how many minutes later…but TOO many.
In my own defense, I was right in the pack of traffic with everyone else…not running ahead or behind…but certainly the closest to his radar.
Heart sick, I planned to take the next exit and head back to the office. And then I thought, “You’ve made it this far. Just see what you can do. Just try and see where you’ll be at 2:00.” With that thought I continued my trek into Downtown.
Finding a gravel lot designated for Bands of America parking, I wheeled in and paid my parking fee and then followed the little flags waved by parking attendants dressed in layers, bundled against the frigid November air.
Pulling up to the next friendly face who was valantly flailing his arm holding a flag, I rolled my window down, “Ma’am”, he said, his voice muffled by the face mask he wore, “do you think you can park that big rig right there?” He pointed over his shoulder to a spot mere feet away. “Or would you rather me send you on down the line to a better place?”
I glanced at the clock on the dash and replied, “Well sir, since it is currently 1:47 and my daughter’s band performs at 2, I believe I’ll take that right there.” “It’s yours then.” he replied. And as he stepped aside, I pulled in.
I parked and grabbed the cash for the ticket from my sweater pocket that was laying in the passenger seat and took off running.
I wasn’t hurrying, or power walking, or jogging…I was RUNNING!!!
You would have been impressed if you could have seen me. I’m sure…sorta!
I ran through the gravel parking lot. I ran across the street. I ran across the massive yard that contained the semi trailers and trucks and buses that transported hundreds of band students and their equipment across the roads of America. I ran around the South end of Lucas Oil Stadium and slid to a stop at the Southeast corner where I paused briefly to buy my ticket. Remember?
Then I ran along the East side of the stadium to the spectator entrance. I rushed through the detectors, had my hand stamped with red ink, dashed through the stadium doors and began to run through the grand corridor that surrounds the actual stadium and seating. I ran and ran.
I ran like the wind…or a crazy lady. I’m not sure which. I’m sure people watching thought I was a crazy lady. I doubt anyone was watching…sorta.
If you could have seen me on Easter Weekend, you would have been impressed with my athletic prowess this past November day. Just as I came to the first opening for stadium seating, I looked in and there on the stadium floor, in position, was MY BAND!!
“There, you can sit right there.” The lady said who was guarding the entrance. I flopped down into the chair, knowing that she would prevent me from going on into the actual seating area. I gasped for air, breathless. I heard the announcer loud and clear with booming voice. And then the band started to play like releasing the switch that had been holding the motion of a music box in place.
Every motion and movement, every sound and silence…tapped a little joy deeper into my heart…I don’t know why…
I don’t know why it was so important to me that day. Their performance was truly spectacular.
I made it only because I ran. I gave it every last ounce of energy I had.
I coughed for 2 days because of running through the cold like I did.
That could calculate to be my most expensive band performance ticket to date…because of those blue flashing lights.
And by 2:15 p.m. the band was finished. The performance was over. I finished up Friday afternoon at the office…with mostly only my husband and the awesome friends that I saw at the stadium that day, knowing I was there.
In a perfect world, I would have loved to take the day off, listen to all the bands, saunter from exhibit to exhibit, have lunch out at a fun Downtown place…
But that’s not how my day played out…I never intended to run that distance to get to the performance…I thought my day would take a better pace…but it didn’t. I never intended to run a marathon that day…(or something like that).
I WALKED back to the car. On the way, I saw my daughter and the other band members in transport. “Hi Mom!!!”, they yelled, waving and smiling! I waved back and smiled my biggest smile ever…just like it was my most perfect day ever.
Because it was…sorta!
I approached the parking attendant. His shift was about over and he was anxious to get out of the cold. At least that’s what he said.
“Did you make it?” he asked. “Yes, I did! But I had to run the entire way!”
“Wow! Lady, you’ve got way more energy than I have.”
I wanted to pop my eyeballs right out of my head and roll them across the parking lot…sorta (actually not really)!
Instead I just smiled brightly and coughed loudly and wheezed…sorta, “Well, I made it and that’s all that counts.” I smiled and jumped happily into the SUV.
Oh…that experience was so worth it. And I still don’t know why it meant so much to me to go. I never intended for my day to go like it did. In fact, if you had told me that morning that my day would play itself out in the manner that it did…that I’d have to run 2 miles (more or less~mostly less) in 13 minutes….sorta…
Well, I would have said, “You’re crazy!! There’s no way I can to that.” And I would have stayed right in the safe and cozy warm comfort of the office.
Where do you find yourself?
Are you facing a “life marathon”? Maybe it is a planned one~a big task ahead OR possibly it is unexpected. Has it caught you off guard and sent you running fast ahead to catch the end?
So just run. RUN dear one!
Even if your marathon is tragic and terminal. Run, RUN! Give it all you’ve got. So that when you slide into the finish line with bases loaded, you know without a doubt you gave every ounce of your very best energy to finish well.
You won’t know the strength that lies deep inside until you try. When I was delayed by the bright blue lights, my mind said, “Just give up!!! But my heart said, “What if? Just what if? You won’t know until you try.”
Chase the finish line friend. You may have blue lights and gut wrenching delays. You may not have perfect runner’s form. You may not even have Nike running shoes. I didn’t . But you will never know the exhilaration of a breathless, coughing and wheezing finish until YOU TRY. Just TRY!!!
Is your mind holding you back?
Follow your heart and try.
An exquisite finish awaits.
And yes, the Band made it to the Semi-Finals!