L-R: Lexi Messenger, Alex Marling, alumna Kelley Marling, alumnus Ron Dravenstott
Photo courtesy of: Lexi Messenger
Oct 17, 2011
By Lexi Messenger
Through our shared experiences, hard work and determination to become "better than the best ever," a unique bond grows between every member of the Ohio University Marching 110.
After just one season we are able to count each other among our closest friends. It's because of this that the Marching 110 cherishes Homecoming. It's treated like a holiday among the band – you could even call it a family reunion.
We start the countdown on the first day of the season, anxious to see the members of our family who have been absent from Athens for far too long. The week before homecoming, the entire band gives 110 percent. We know our homecoming performance is dedicated to our alumni and they deserve perfection.
Last Saturday, I got to experience for the second time the feeling that comes with participating in the annual Ohio University Homecoming Parade.
At 9:30 a.m. the band gathered at our designated meeting spot and began to warm up.
It was a perfect fall day, warm for being fairly early in the morning, but with a nice breeze to keep the weather feeling mild.
As I looked at the 220 people around me ,there was no mistaking the look of pure excitement on every face, from freshman to super senior. It was contagious. I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning -- the day we had worked so hard for had finally come. We lined up in parade formation at around 10 a.m. and we were off after hearing the four bass drum beats signaling us to start marching.
We started the parade on Morris Avenue, turned on to East State Street, and then continued onto Carpenter Street. I have to admit, by the time we reached the top of the hill on Carpenter, I was beat. You'd think after three years of living in Athens I'd be used to its many hills by now.
But my exhaustion was forgotten as soon as we turned on to Court Street. The sidewalks were jam-packed on both sides of the road. The people were stacked from the edge of the street right up to the buildings with no room in between. Though I had marched in the parade before, I had somehow forgotten how many Ohio University supporters could fit into one narrow space.
When we stepped onto Court Street, we immediately heard the cue for "Funk", one of our parade cadences. The reaction from the crowd when we began the dance was incredible. I couldn't help but smile as I heard the deafening cheer, and neither could anyone I saw around me. It's an unreal feeling to be so appreciated by your fellow Bobcats.
As we moved down Court Street, the crowd of students, parents and alumni never thinned and we met each new section of the street with a playing of "Stand Up and Cheer," eliciting even more cheers.
When we approached Baker Center I was astonished after seeing the huge crowds on Court Street that there was still anybody left to watch us perform our traditional song "Train of Thought" at the stage. I have never been more proud to be a Bobcat than that moment. I appreciated the incredible amount of people that turned up to show support for Ohio University.
Once we finished the song and ended the parade, I gave one last look around at the alumni and had my most important realization of the day – no matter how far away from Athens I go after graduation, I will always be welcomed back home.
Editor's Note: Lexi Messenger is a junior journalism major who plays the mellophone in the Marching 110. She is also a student writer for University Communications and Marketing.