I joke about it with my friends Caryn and Mandy, but it’s true – many of my most important life lessons have been the result of marching band. I spent eight years in junior high and high school as part of the band, my latter years in the flag corps, and for as much as I hated it at times, I wouldn’t trade it for anything now.

Because of band, I know that 15 minutes early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable.

Because of band, I am able to walk and do other things simultaneously. It’s difficult to twirl a flag and walk a specific path in-step with 249 other people and not drop something or hit someone. Although, admittedly, I still cannot walk and drink from a cup at the same time.

Because of band, I learned to lead a team of 34 other girls as peers and as their captain. And let me tell you, if you can lead 34 high school girls, you can lead anyone.

Because of band, I formed friendships that extend beyond Carrollton High School. There’s a kinship with fellow band members that ties us together, transcendent of space and time. It’s the understood dorky quality coupled with the knowledge that you can probably play the Theme from 2001 in your sleep.