Being a die-hard Buckeye fan to the core, like most of my ilk, I find that I enjoy more than just the team on the field of play. Having attended many college football games, most of them at The ‘Shoe in Columbus, in my humble opinion there is no place quite like that place to enjoy every aspect of the college football experience.
From the tailgating to the Skull Session in St John’s Arena to the actual excitement that 107,000 fans can bring, the whole experience is one of elevated excitement.
One the highlights of this year’s football season has been the group called TBDBITL, otherwise known as The Ohio State University Marching Band. At every home game, and even at a few away games, this group of almost 200 student musicians performs an array of complicated formations on the football field, marching to and fro in perfect timing all the while playing quality musical renditions as they move.
For each and every half-time show to come off without a hitch, the band members practice, in some weeks as much as 20 hours, in preparation for that 12-15 minute performance.
These young people give up a great deal to participate in the band. They meet in the band room under the stadium and there practice the music repeatedly until they get it down to perfection.
But that’s not all! They then proceed out to the practice field south of the stadium, where they walk through the formations, and the transitions between the formations over and over again. Each band member has a digital tablet to direct them to their proper positions, and then to track and follow their own personal movements throughout the show.
Then, usually one or two days before the actual performance, they will put it all together on the practice field, making sure that the music and the marching jive in perfect timing.
Nobody likes rehearsals, do they?
We would rather experience the smell of the greasepaint, and the roar of the crowd — all of the “stuff” that goes with the actual game or performances. Whether it is in a theatrical auditorium, in the orchestra pit or band room or marching on the practice field, or on the athletic practice field, nobody looks forward to the consistently routine drudgery called “practice” or “rehearsal.”
If you have ever been in a musical organization or a drama troupe, or played on any athletic team, you have no doubt often experienced the long, seemingly eternal hours of waiting, interrupted by a few short moments of intensive, hard, and repetitive work. Following the directions of the coach or director, you repeatedly go over that unique athletic move, that line of the script, those few measures of the difficult musical composition, in order to execute properly and successfully compete or complete the presentation.
In a sense, all of life is a rehearsal hall. We go through the routine of day-to-day life, doing some things right, but by-and-large making plenty of mistakes along the way.
Oh, we do some things right — like loving our wives or husbands, caring for and playing with our kids, and concentrating on the process of doing our work well, but sometimes we mess up. We lose our temper needlessly. We yell at those we love the most. We engage in senseless gossip. We boast selfishly about our own accomplishments. We fall into depression and despair when things in life don’t seem to be falling into place in our lives.
And when God seems to chastise us, we get upset — and embarrassed — just like the trombone player who plays a sour note, or the offensive lineman who allows the defense to get through him, or the drama student who forgets his lines. We find ourselves being chewed out by the coach, chastised by the director and embarrassed in front of our peers.
Oftentimes we get fed up and ask the same questions of God that Job in the Bible did, namely, “Why, God? Why me?”
It was a bright sunny morning and as the gentleman walked down the street toward the coffee shop, he saw a crew of workmen, stonemasons by trade, working on the front facade of the county court house. One of the workmen was busy chipping away at a large stone sitting on the sidewalk in front of the building.
The passerby asked the worker what he was doing. He replied, “Why, I’m working on this stone down here so that it will fit in up there!” And with that he pointed his trowel to a large opening in the archway over the main doorway to the courthouse building.
He was chiseling away at the edges of the stone so that it would fit snugly and securely when it was lifted into place up above the doorway of the building.
What was happening at that construction site is the same thing going on in a much larger way in each one of our lives here on earth. God is working on us “down here”, so we will fit in “up there”.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6) And that is why we have rehearsals – to smooth out the rough edges, to execute the plays flawlessly, to make sure that the actual performance or the game is a successful one.
Nobody likes rehearsals, but everybody needs them!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette and the News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.