Saturday, October 25, 2014

This Has Been Alexander Popichak Speaking For The Carlynton Marching Band

Yesterday was the end of an era for me, it was Senior Night at Carlynton and with that, my last football game with the band.

Three years ago I signed up to be the announcer of the band. Since then, I've attended football games home and away, and more band festivals then I knew existed. It was a blast, honestly. What started as just something to do became a part of my life, and the gaining of a family I never expected. It was because of this that I was able to do three years of homecoming court bios, senior nights, a year of soccer, and emceeing three band festivals.

Last night I was given a gift by my section member (the section of the sectionless) Abbie (best friend to my girlfriend and all around amazing band manager) an awesome gift - a decorated hatbox for my crazy marching band helmet as well as a bag of Three Musketeers.

I again read (this time half) of senior night -  for my seniors, the class of 2015. Then it was my turn to have my name and biography read as I walked down the field. It was the first time I had ever walked down the middle of the field that I can remember, and I was met at the end by Mr. Obidowski, Mr. Loughren, and Mr. McAdoo. It was surreal to say the least. The band cheered, and then I was back to whatever it was I was doing. Back to the student section for one last time to cheer on one last Carlynton Loss.

We lost, but we cheered anyway. I hung by the band one last time with the people I had grown to appreciate, the people that had taken me in as their own.

I wrote two weeks ago about living in the moment, and about taking it in. I did, and it was fantastic. Nothing was different except the beginning and the end. I took along with me to the box Sara and Cassie. They had never been there, and I offered to any senior the chance to go. So I did my thing, and I added one thing to the end of my regular script:
"Thank you for supporting music in our schools, Thank you Mr. Obidowski and the entire Carlynton Marching Band for an amazing past three years as your announcer. This has been Alexander Popichak speaking for the Carlynton Golden Cougar Marching Band. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO COUGARS!"
And that was it. They played Seven Nations' Army in the stands one last time, I must note, but that was the end of my band announcing (career?). Clay, Sara, Cassie, and I went to Kings and ran into a waitress that we had the night prior, and it was weird and surreal and wonderful.

Friday, October 10, 2014

I'm Gonna Fight Em Off, A Seven Nations' Army Couldn't Hold Me Back

It's a Friday Night and usually I don't post, but I found myself having enough time to do so. It's been a strange week, but a good one. I'm also wearing my duck shirt, so there's that.
My favorite part about traveling week to week with the band over the past three years has been the music and the atmosphere. You really can't duplicate either, you're only in high school once and each game only happens once. I don't care that Carlynton is 0-6 on the season, they're still fun games.

Anytime they can, the marching band plays music - in between first downs, after kickoffs, after scores, quarter breaks - basically if there is a break in the action, there's music. By far my favorite stand tune is Seven Nation's army. It has this crazy deep bass riff, and, just listen to the song:
Anyway, I really like this song, and the band does it really well. Why am I telling you this? A while back, my senior adviser/WCHS adviser/Midsummer director/general advice-giver Ms. Longo told me when I was talking about realizing this is my senior football season to enjoy it, and take it in. She's right, there's no way to really capture these things (yes I have videoed the band playing Seven Nation). You can try your best to relive it, but in the end this is it, this is the time you need to own, and this is the time you need to live. So that's what I'm doing. 

I don't want to get sentimental, so I haven't done much to record it for that reason. I know that down the road I won't have anything to connect me to it, but I also remember what happened in NYC 2009. I was so focused on capturing it all that I didn't really live that moment. My exciting story comes from the thing I didn't capture: nightfall in Times Square. They say memory is unreliable, but I'd much rather have a memory to go off of where I lived and where I felt infinite than some passive documentary footage. And so it goes.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

We Live On Front Porches and Swing Life Away

I haven't written here in a while, and I'm beginning to think that in some very removed sense I've been living like they did in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I've reacquired a group of friends who are forcing me to live, something that I haven't really done much of in being wrapped up in the mundane comforts of my own invented reality.

Friday was Homecoming the Pep Rally, Homecoming the parade, and Homecoming the game. The pep rally was a technical nightmare as it usually is, but it was the last time I have to do that. Homecoming the parade was pretty cool to watch, and (some of the best/edited) pictures are up on Flickr ( 

Then came the game. As a bit of background, I've announced homecoming halftime festivities for the past two years (since 10th grade). I have, because of a plethora of reasons, consistently screwed up every year either in order or by completely neglecting something. As a result, they sent up a teacher with me this year to have a line of contact between the box and the field. And this year, for the first time that I can remember, I nailed it. That was a fantastic feeling to say the least. Afterwards, a group of us friends went to Kings' Family Restaurant for a round of general foodstuffs. 

Then came the dance. This was the Perks of Being a Wallflower part. Clay, Dan, Mikaela, Sara, Natalie, Cassie, Jarod, and I descended upon Hannah's house for picture taking and general pre-Homecoming festivites. In other words, Dan, Clay, Jarod and I stood in the corner and talked about infinity until we were summoned by the rest to pose here, smile there, look there, such wind, etc. Then Sara was kind enough to give Clay and I a ride to the dance. We pulled up to the high school listening to a Billy Idol song on WDVE (why that was I'll never get, but it happened, and was perfect) and charged the building with the wind blowing and it was ridiculous but amazing.

The dance was quite lovely, what with the moshing and convincing Dan to dance (direct quote: "I missed three hours of reading Locke for this?!?") and more moshing and I can't dance for the life of me but it was again fantastic. We helped clean up, and I tore down the industrial light and magic with Clay and our magic box on wheels. 

Afterwards the group of us went cosmic bowling until half past midnight, and the whole thing was surreal - being surrounded by a group of people you're probably closest to for the past five or six years and being on top of the world. 

*cues cliche voice*
I guess at different points in our lives feeling infinite means different things. In Calculus, we're taught that infinity is just a concept, something you can never reach that's more or less just a stand in for something either really large or really small. It's something you can't quantify or manipulate (sorry Mr. Kozy, it's just easier this way) that I've always been fascinated with. You never get there, but you know it's there and can, if you want to and make it seem like it, get pretty close. But you have to initiate it, and keep it all in perspective.

That night, with those people, was amazing and was the closest I felt to happy and on top of the world that I have experienced so far in life.