By Kristen Gandenberger ’15
A few days ago while writing an assignment for my English class, I recalled one of my fondest memories and best stories of senior year. This event just so happened to be at the Division II State Championships this past December when La Salle won the title. Since I missed Christmas Ball to be at the game, it seems appropriate to share this story with our wide audience as I prepare for prom, my first and last mercy formal dance of the year. Without further ado, I present Kristen Gets Fed Up.
Color guard marching shoes are really just glorified socks if we’re being honest about it. They consist of three pieces of cloth (one for the toe/top of the shoe, and then a piece for each side) all haphazardly sewn together, with a thin rubber “sole” glued on under the heel. I want to reiterate that our shoes are basically just shoddy quilts that happen to sort of be the shape of feet.
This meant that the La Salle high school color guard was considerably uncomfortable at the State Championship. We were in an unfamiliar location (OSU’s gigantic stadium) after a two hour bus ride, and braving the bone-chilling rain that only Ohioan December can dish out. I remember groaning as I stepped off the bus and was able to feel the cold, wet asphalt through my shoes and three pairs of socks. By the time we crossed the parking lot and reached the stadium, still hours before the game, my and all of my teammates’ shoes were completely soaked through. However, my girls are troopers and everyone understood that they would have to suck it up because we had to fulfill our game day responsibilities, pruney toes or not.
Then, after we performed at half-time, our game day responsibilities were basically over. Of course everyone was still expected to be in the stands cheering on the Lancers, but I reasoned that there was really no reason to stay in strict, full uniform, especially since everyone was already wearing ponchos, hats, gloves, and scarves in a near fruitless effort to combat the weather. I felt like my team deserved to change their shoes.
I approached one of the guard instructors about this, who wholeheartedly agreed with my proposition, but said she didn’t feel like she could dismiss me without the band director’s approval. Naturally, my next step was to see Fischer.
My band director was talking to a band parent when I went up to him, but not just any band parent. The WORST band parent. This man is band booster president and he takes the post even more seriously than his day job as a pompous, self-important city cop. I patiently waited for a break in their conversation to make my request. Fischer responded positively but said I would need to take an adult with the girls back to the buses.
“Mike, can you take them?” he turned and asked the Worst Band Parent Ever. I practically started walking, assuming based on the reactions of my coaches that we were good to go to fulfill this simple request of my girls. But no.
The WBPE looked at me condescendingly for awhile, pursing his lips before saying, “I mean… is it really necessary? Your shoes don’t look that wet.”
He then went on to begin telling a tale of his trials as a police officer, I think trying to make the point that his life was harder than mine. I honestly didn’t pay attention to much of this lecture because my ear holes were being blocked by white hot rage. How hard is it to let me do one nice thing for my team? Before I knew what I was doing, I lifted my right foot off the ground in a perfect possé, flamingo style, ripped off my soaking excuse of a shoe, lifted it to The WBPE’s eye level only about 6 inches from his face and proceeded to, while on foot and making scathing eye contact, wring the freezing rain water out of my shoe, the stream of water then splattering on to his. My band director did nothing to stop me.
“Yeah, they’re pretty wet,” I said as I shoved my freshly wrung footwear back on. I turned to Fischer and said, “I’m just going to tell the girls we can go,” and walked off before the evil parent could get the satisfaction of a retort.
I would lie and say I’m not proud of this lapse of civility, but honestly it makes a pretty good story, and it’s definitely a time where the way I said something held greater importance than my words. So…. #NoRAGrets