U Musings: Marching band strove to stay warm on Sun Bowl game day

Have you ever been trapped outside in weather that was supposed to be rain, but was slowly turning into snow? And did you have little to no preparation for this kind of weather?

Well, that’s the situation many members of the Band of the Hour faced this winter break at the Sun Bowl. When the bowl game was announced to be in El Paso, Texas, I, like many other band members, assumed that the proximity of Texas to the equator would make this a relatively warm bowl game. Why would I need to watch the weather beforehand? The game would be fine. So, like many other band members, I didn’t really pack warm clothes.

Since I’m from Maryland, I know how to prepare for winter. So I packed a few things I could layer, but nothing that would keep me really warm, which was a mistake.

When we reached the stadium for game day, the weather was really nice. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining. But, as time went on, the sky got cloudier and cloudier, and the temperature began to drop.

By the pregame performance, the day was substantially colder, but not too bad. It was manageable, until about halfway through the first quarter when it started raining. The rain was cold, so cold that it kept switching from snow to rain as it fell. So, naturally, we put on the band rain ponchos.

Now, you think we’d be warmer, right? That was not the case. Our ponchos are made to protect the uniform from water, not to insulate and keep us warm. When it comes to staying out of the cold, that poncho is a windbreaker, nothing more.

As if that weren’t enough, our performance gloves were soaked with cold rain, chilling our hands, making it harder to play and causing our hands to hurt as we tried to play. The temperature continued to drop and what started as a lovely, sunny day quickly turned into a snowy hell.

The snow-rain went back and forth until we went on the field to perform our halftime show, then the entire band was suddenly marching in a blizzard. It was one of the hardest shows to get through because we were all chilled to the bone while trying to play, which became increasingly more difficult as we couldn’t move our fingers without feeling a lot of pain.

I don’t know how we did it, but we powered through the show and made it through the rest of the game, with no limbs lost.