‘Star Wars: Outbound Flight’ – Chapter 17 (Part 7)

Saturday.  A day to get things done for most people.  Maybe even a day of rest and relaxation for half of America.  Not for the Crissman clan!  Today was a day to do Marching Band and try to deal with the issues of owning a home.  Neither of which seemed to pan out as well as we all had hoped.  I had to get up fairly early this morning as I had marching band rehearsal starting at eight o’clock.  Of course, this meant I was getting up at six o’clock and working on little more than five hours of sleep, so I was grumpy already.  We got to band rehearsal and it was a pretty cold morning.  We started to get things going with the students and the guard instructor, Becky, even offered to go get us (Jim and I) coffee, which was a welcome idea to the both of us.  The day went on as it would and of course, we had to practice how to get our Monopoly mat on and off the field.  I have to say that as much as I like the idea of the mat, I hate having to drag the thing around and I really don’t think we are rolling it up the most efficient way.  I was discussing this idea with the staff when the director informed me that this WAS the most efficient way to roll the mat.  Several students throughout the course of the rehearsal came up to Jim and I both and said that the mat could be rolled up better if it were rolled up like a guard mat and I agreed, but told them that I was told to do it another way, so that was the way I was going to do it.  Okay, keep that in mind for later in my post.

We got through practice and I have to say that the students are marching phenomenal for this point in the season.  They have an amazing ability to do cover downs and massive rotations that would have taken my bands days to do, they do it in hours.  I’m very impressed.  Do we have a long way to go?  Absolutely!  But, we have made some great strides in the meantime!  We got done with rehearsal and Jim and I told Jonathan that we would meet him at the competition in Auburn.  I’m not sure our director likes the fact that Jim and I drive together to all the competitions, but I have served my time on buses and quite honestly, I don’t think my body can handle riding in a school bus anymore.  Go ahead, make all the weight cracks that you want, but I think it has to do more with age and having been involved with a Marching Band and Drum Corps. than it does with weight.  Anyway, Jim and I had decided a while ago that we were going to run up to Syracuse this weekend and get a late lunch/early dinner at the original Dinosuar Bar-B-Que and Grill.  For most human beings, not a big deal.

For Jim and I, it became a little bit of a fiasco.  Fist off, both of us decided we would print out directions to Dinosaur.  Do you think either one of us remembered to bring them along?  Of course not!  No, we both had “half-timers” disease and we both forgot our directions.  All well, we both felt confident with knowing the city of Syracuse, we figured, we didn’t necessarily need directions to Dinosaur.  Famous last words, by the way.  So, Jim and I discussed some marching band related things on our way up and Jim and I agreed that we really haven’t been folding the mat very efficiently and we’re worried about time getting the students on and off the field in our allotted time.  So, Jim said we should unroll the mat as we have been and then should roll it the way we’ve been discussing as it will get us off the field quicker.  I agreed and said I would tell the students and really, I wanted to do it this way too.  So, we tried to find Dinosaur in Syracuse and we started to get lost.  We managed to find the highway again, and I told Jim to get off at the next exit.  I’m not really sure why, other than I can say that instinct took over.  Sure enough, we got off the exit and looked to the right and there was the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Grill.  We had a great time eating there, because the food is always good.  But this time, we were seated at the bar and I have to say that the “scenery” wasn’t bad either (guys, you know what I’m talking about, sorry ladies).  We had a very nice female bar tender and of course, Jim, being the single guy he is, had to flirt with her a little bit.  She was funny and I wanted to ask for a Martini shaken, but not stirred (she seemed to be making a lot of those, wonder why {heh}).  Anyway, we had a good time and then got on the road and started to make our way to the competition in Auburn.

As always, Jim and I got a little lost in Auburn, but we did much better this time around than we did last year.  However, Jim had a “Senior Moment” on one of the streets that I don’t think I’ll ever let him live down!  We pulled onto one of the side streets and Jim pulled up behind a car and waited and waited and waited.  He even was about to say, “man, this seems like a long light” when I looked at Jim and said, “so, when do you want to go around the parked cars and continue driving?”  Well, we both cracked up.  Jim thought all the cars that were parked were waiting for the light, but they were just parked on the side of the street.

We got to the competition and found the band and did our typical warm ups, but relaxed as Jim and I don’t like to stress them out before a competition.  I have to say, Auburn’s field has seen much improvement over years past.  It’s graded, it’s nice, and I have to say it doesn’t have all the divits I’ve come to know and love of the Auburn dust bowl.  When Jim and I got to the group, we had a student who said their saxophone was not playing correctly and something seemed to be jamming the lower register of the instrument.  So, “Mr. Fix-It” (me) had to take a look.  I looked all over the sax, checked the springs, did all the things I was shown how to do in the repair shop and found no problems with the instrument, but the student was right, it just didn’t seem to play.  I looked at Jim and said, “it’s as if there is something stuck down there”.  Just as I said that, Jim shook the sax and we heard a rattling sound.  I reached down in the sax and found a cell phone.  The student had forgotten they put it in the case and it got jammed down into the instrument.  Well, there was “duh” moment number two of the evening.

We got the students ready for the competition and I have to say we kept things light and lively just so the students remained upbeat about the competition this evening.  Tonight’s competition was going to be hard on them and us as it was the first competition with our use of props.  With this in mind, I had students begging Jim and I to change how we were going to fold the mat one last time, so Jim and I decided that we would fold it a different way than we have been.  As I told Jim, what do we have to loose at this point, we haven’t been officially timed.  So, we made the decision to fold the mat a more effective way, just for tonight, to see if it would get us off the field quicker.  We went out to the field and unfolded the mat and got all the props set.  Of course, two of the props were positioned wrong and the mat wasn’t quite straight, but we knew this would happen at the first competition with the use of all of these props.  But, the field aspect looked pretty good.  The students performed quite well.  I was yet again impressed with their ability to put together a fine show under the most pressured of situations.  We got done with the show and the mat crew and Jim and I went out to fold the mat.  The students were doing fine, till the director go flustered about the way we were folding the mat and telling them to stop as they were doing it wrong.  We ended up not quite folding the mat right using either technique, but scrambled to get the mat off of the field.  In the process, one of the parents trying to do the right thing, accidentally rolled the mat and the cart over my left foot.  Not exactly a good feeling.  Probably about four to five hundred pounds ended up rolling over my foot, but luckily I wasn’t injured.

We got off the field, I took my shoe off right away to look at my foot and headed right to the buses to get it iced.  Jim took the mat crew off to get the mat refolded so it could be transported back to Vestal.  On my way back to the mat crew, I passed the director and he proceeded to yell at me for changing the plans on the mat.  Now, I will admit that I was wrong about not letting him know of the change, and that was my fault.  However, the director never once showed remorse about my foot getting rolled over nor did the director ask how I was and how my foot was.  I thought that would have been a human reaction to ask how someone was after an accident, but maybe I was wrong.  Needless to say, there was quite an altercation between the director and myself right there, for all to see.  We pretty much exploded at each other about all the things that have been bothering each of us about how the season has been conducted thus far.  After some arguing, I was now in almost a state of rage.

We went off to Jim’s truck and listened to some tapes of some judges who yet again, didn’t understand the concept of the show and couldn’t understand why we would push our students to perform such difficult tasks.  We got back together with the rest of the staff, talked about game plan and went into the judges meeting.  I have to admit, I placated the judges tonight, even though I didn’t want to.  I did it because my director asked me to do that.  We got done with the meeting and Jim drove me home.  The whole way home, we had a discussion about the night tonight and talked about mistakes I made and mistakes that director made in handling the situation.  I told Jim that if he brought it up at the next practice, which I expected him to do, we would sit down and talk about the situation and how to avoid it in the future.  I got home fairly late tonight and crawled into bed with Heather after explaining to her about my evening and fell asleep almost immediately.  Tomorrow was going to be another long day, but at least it would take my mind off of the events of today.
Okay, let’s talk about Part 7 of Chapter 17 of “Star Wars:  Outbound Flight” by Timothy Zahn…..

Chapter 17 (Part 7):  Ma’Ning assured Uliar that he was just giving an overview to which Uliar said that when it comes to high energy equipment, an overview of knowledge is a waste of time and asked who’s dumb idea this was anyway!  Ma’Ning told him that Master C’Baoth has decided that all padawans must learn how to run Outbound Flight’s critical systems.  Uliar thought this was a joke, but Ma’Ning said it was not and informed him they would be out of their way in a half hour.  Uliar said it would happen a lot sooner and opened the comm to the bridge and asked for Commander Omano.  When Omano answered, Uliar identified himself and informed the commander that there were unauthorized personnell in his control room.  Omano asked if they were Jedi and Uliar said one was and as he went on, Commander Omano cut him off and said that C’Baoth has approved this training session. Uliar went to complain again, but Omano cut him off again saying that he now has his orders and he could take it up with Master C’Baoth.  Uliar stared down Ma’Ning and said that he needed to know where C’Baoth was.  Ma’Ning told him he was at the Jedi Training center, in the storage core.  Uliar asked why the traiing center wasn’t in a Dreadnaught and Ma’Ning said C’Baoth was looking to stay away from ship distractions…..


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