I was a member of the Armijo Super Band in Fairfield, California for all four of my high school years. And though we were called “band freaks” by the “popular” kids of the day, I was proud of my membership in the elite band. Our director, Mr. Lindsey always maintained the highest expectations with regard to our performance on and off the field.
For that reason, I encouraged both my daughter and son to be in their high school bands, though to my disappointment, they only stayed in their bands for two years. No more living vicariously.
I always regretted that I didn’t get to attend college in the traditional way. Instead, I went to night school and worked. So, I never got to be in a college band. Even today, I can’t think of too many things that would be more fun.
That’s why, when I heard the story of the University of Southern Mississippi band chanting “Where’s your green card?” to a Latino player on the Kansas State University basketball team, I cringed with disgust.
In my experience, being a band member was always positive, especially when it came to competition. I was taught to compete hard and be a good sport if we didn’t win. What a great feeling to cheer and celebrate with my fellow band members. If any of us ever displayed such poor sportsmanship, Mr. Lindsey would have dragged us off the bleachers by our ears and stood us in the middle of the court while he scolded us with his megaphone.
Where was the band director, the drum major, while these chants occurred? Did anyone in the audience stand up and chastise the band?
Kudos to Angel Rodriguez, the basketball player who was the victim of the chanting. According to CNN:
Rodriguez did not change his expression during the chants and helped push Kansas State to victory by scoring 13 points.
“I heard it. I don’t pay attention to that nonsense, especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don’t need no type of papers,” Rodriguez said Friday. “Their athletic director and personnel from their school came to apologize, and I accepted it.”
Rodriguez said he realized that there are “ignorant people, and I know that is not how they want to represent their university. I’ve moved on already,” he said. “I have a game to focus on.”
I keep hoping we have “outgrown” such ugliness, but sadly, it appears not.