Band Together

This past weekend, following Kansas State's defeat of Oklahoma at K-State's Bill Snyder Family Stadium, a unit from the Pride of Wildcat Land crossed the proverbial aisle to offer protection to their fellow bandsfolk in the Pride of Oklahoma and escort them from the stadium. It was a beautiful showing of bandsmanship.

It should also never have had to happen.

Ironically, there's a good chance the plan was formulated with a different outcome in mind. Oklahoma, then the #5 team in the country, was the favorite in that game, and it was foreseeable that Wildcats fans, upset with the outcome, may have set upon the visiting band. Instead, with K-State pulling the monumental upset, there was similar concern that overzealous fans may have been at careless or at worst hostile in their revelry.

Unfortunately, there's precedent from this year of fans taking things too far with the band. In Week Zero, as the University of Florida band attempted to depart their matchup with Miami in Orlando's Camping World Stadium, Florida's band director was attacked. Following the Cy-Hawk game between Iowa and Iowa State in Ames, both schools began an investigation into the reported verbal and physical harassment of the Hawkeye Marching Band.

Often, in opposing stadiums, the marching band is the largest contingent in the opposing teams colors, and as with everywhere they go, they are a representation of their school. Unfortunately, this also makes them a likely target for any classless jerk that would do them harm.

Penalties, whether through the student code of conduct or court of law, need to be swift and strong for those found responsible. In football parlance, the band is a defenseless receiver, even if a wallop with a trumpet or a mallet is what one's action warrants. In lieu of that, I'm glad bands are protecting one another - even if they shouldn't have to.