I have held many different types of jobs over the years, including the “mother” of all jobs…being a Mom; so I assumed I knew what hard work really was…little did I know that I had yet to learn the meaning of “working your behind off.” Last Friday, however, I learned it (boy, did I learn it, alright?)
Even though I have two sons, they are not into sports, so I have never been overwhelmed with the hectic routine typical of a “soccer” Mom. But my older one, Grant, is really dedicated to music, so this year he joined the Marching Band even though he is still only in 8th grade. I see his commitment to the band and his desire to do his part (which for Grant is HUGE!), so when he was accepted into the Band, I decided I was going to be committed to it as well. I was going to be there to see him play every song and march every step! So I joined the Band Boosters. I made up my mind to be an active member and was quick to sign up for helping out as much as I could.
Let me tell you, as a tropical girl, born and raised in a country that is not obsessed with American Football, I knew nothing about what being in a High School Marching Band was all about. In Panama, the Marching Band only exists to march in Independence Day parades once a year and a few other concert-type events. Since my kids are not into sports so much, I have never really been to a High School football game before. SOOO, I didn’t really know/understand/realize that the Marching Band’s almost sole purpose for existence is to play at the Football games, then they do the sporadic parades and concert-type events.
Evidently, it took me a while to realize that if I wanted to support my son, and be there for him, I would have to go to every football game our school ever played in the season. Very quickly I went to the calendar and was VERY relieved to see that the High School football season is rather short, especially if your school doesn’t make it beyond regular season (which you know what I began praying for at that moment, right?) Anyway, that’s all good and all. I will write about my experiences going to the away games on a later blog. Here, the experience I want to relate is the home games…particularly the ones when I volunteered (naively volunteered…where is the American husband when you need advice on how things work in this country??? I wonder) to do some work…
The president of the Band Boosters said that this year the Band would get to operate the concession stand during home games and that she needed parents to work in it. Each kid would get $25 toward their individual accounts every time his or her parents would work at the concession stand. I decided that sounded like a great deal…almost free money…so I signed up to work at the concession stand for 3 home games. All my husband would say was: “you are crazy! Three games? That’s too much! I’m not working three games!” I attributed his refusal to…well…him being lazy…so I told the Band Booster’s president that I could only do two games.
The first game I had to work was last Friday and all I can say is…I really did not have any idea what I had signed up for…
I have gained a new appreciation for people who work in the food industry AND especially for those working concession stands everywhere in America. Concession stand volunteers: I salute you!
I could not believe the burst of activity that such little space could host. From my spot, I saw loaded nachos fly out the windows at light speed. There was a nacho cheese storm with jalapeño thunder. Walking tacos ran out the doors. Doritos and Fritos cracked the whip as showers of pop, coffee and water washed down the hot dogs, pretzels and other sandwiches that we prepared to feed the hungry crowd that visited our stand in a constant rush. It felt as if the entire town had skipped dinner only to support the Boosters…which was great for the budget, but a killer for my back.
The mayhem was such that only once in a while I’d remember there was a football game going on outside. I had no idea what the score was and I never got to see my son play one note. All I got was the occasional flashing of the stadium lights on the corner of my eyes. All in all, however, I had a lot of fun. It was an experience I needed to have. I wish I’d known in advanced how it really was going to be like…so I’d wear more appropriate shoes, but in the end, I’m happy I volunteered and I’m actually looking forward to my next stance at the concession stand…under the Friday Night Lights.
It was not worth the $25 I earned; it was worth much more. It was worth the intangible price of a chance to do hard work, enjoy camaraderie, offer service and above all, a chance to rejoice, even in the midst of craziness and chaos.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18