By Jennifer Davis Rash
Executive Editor, The Alabama Baptist
It was the 1991 Bama versus Tulane game at home. Bryant-Denny stadium was packed, and Bama was up a lot at halftime. (Bama ultimately won 62–0.)
The Million Dollar Band was on the field doing its usual amazing halftime show, and I was marching right along perfectly in step and in tune. Those moments with the Crimson Tide are still some of my favorite memories.
But that particular October Saturday is forever etched in my mind for a different reason. It is one of my most embarrassing moments of all times. Granted I had embarrassed myself countless times before then, and I certainly have added to the number greatly since then. But I have to say falling flat on my back in the middle of the field with 75,000-plus fans watching wins the award for most embarrassing moment in front of as many people possible.
I am thankful I played the piccolo instead of the tuba. I’m also thankful I happened to be on the end of our curlicue instead of in the middle. At least I avoided creating a spontaneous (and unfortunate) domino-style marching design.
I really don’t remember much about the game that day, but I remember everything about those few seconds I spent lying on the football field. I knew my music. I knew our show. I knew every position and step. I could have done it in my sleep.
I loved the exhilarating feel of being on the field at halftime, and that day was no different … until I was knocked out of line, out of sync and almost out completely. It was then that I really saw the enormity of the stadium and endless sea of faces and pompoms. Part of me seemed paralyzed as I looked up and around, taking it all in. My fellow band members stepped, marched and played around me, as if I were nothing more than a dropped drumstick. The drum major, who was at least 45 yards away, seemed to be standing right over me. The fans in the stadium seemed to all stop and stare. For a moment, I thought I could actually hear their individual conversations.
Interestingly enough, I could see and think clearly amid the chaos, almost as if I weren’t really there and weren’t really covering up part of the 30-yard line with my backside.
I realized how vital each individual on the field was. We all had a part to play in the moment of time we were all experiencing, and for the experience to be successful we each had to be involved, disciplined, committed and focused.
These same concepts are true for us to be successful in all parts of life, including our faith journey. Without involvement, discipline, commitment and focus, we are likely to stumble, get off course, run into others, fall and/or cause confusion. We might even lag behind, get discouraged or distract others, and our experience most definitely will be less than the best.
Focus was the element I cheated that Saturday in 1991. But as quickly as everything fell apart, it came back together. Snapping myself back to reality, I popped back up and in place in one fluid motion.
As we marched off the field in our traditional “Yea, Alabama” way, I convinced myself that only a few people noticed my fall and the ones who did would not know me anyway. A lot of people go to the concession stand during halftime, right? All the band members look alike in their uniforms, right? We move around so much on the field, it would be hard to spot the redhead playing the piccolo anyway, right?
Wrong. Boy was I wrong!