This weekend the Kansas State Wildcat Marching Band performed a space themed halftime show that included music from Star Wars and Star Trek. In one of their formations they formed the Starship Enterprise battling the Kansas Jayhawk (a feat in and of itself, when you think about what it takes to form those complex shapes out of moving, humans while playing complex musical numbers).
For some reason, many people decided that they saw something totally different. One of the best opinion pieces I’ve seen on this comes from JT VanGilder in an article on bringonthecats.com.
Okay, let’s talk about that. The band performed the “Star Trek” theme, during which the Enterprise went to battle with a Jayhawk and, like all space heros in battle, blew-up the “evil space creature”. It wasn’t male genitals, it wasn’t beastiality. It was the starship Enterprise. And it wasn’t perfect, it was a complex and difficult set to make. The fuselage was a little more round than it should have been, the saucer section less defined than charted. But it was still the Enterprise made out of human bodies on a football field. Whether you saw something else is up to your sensibilities (just like you see your own shapes in the clouds), but that’s not what was actually on the field, nor the intent of the chart.
The approximately 400 K-State students that make up the Pride of Wildcatland worked exceptionally hard to make this show a reality. They started work on it just three weeks ago, during the less-than-a-week band camp that runs the week before school starts. It’s three-a-days in the heat of August practicing marching and drill (and not just for halftime shows, but pregame and street marching) or in the rehearsal hall on music. It’s tough, and many kids drop out out of band during camp, because it’s harder than anything else they’ve ever done in their lives. After that week, the band met together as a group only six more times. The band rehearses Tuesdays and Thursdays on non-game weeks, for just two hours from 3:30pm-5:20pm.
On game weeks a similar Friday rehearsal is added, and then the band meets 5 hours before the game to rehearse on the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. These young men and women work extremely hard for about 25 combined minutes of time on the field (pregame and halftime). This furor caused by a misconception completely disregards and degrades the effort put in to it, taking attention away from what was otherwise an incredibly difficult and well-performed show. These students should be applauded for their hard work and skill, and the directors commended for taking a risk on such a complex show and getting it taught to those students in such a short amount of time.