Saturday, October 3, 1998 (Day 1)
7:15am: we depart approx. 45 minutes late due to 3 folks that we had to go and get out of bed at the dorms...the buses just drove over.
approx. 12:30pm: we arrive at the KC Chiefs facilities for our pre- game rehearsal, but about 30 minutes late. Upon arrival, we're informed that we will have to rehearse in the Chiefs indoor practice facility because it's been raining and the people in charge don't want us tearing up their field before the game. The indoor field is 65 yards long, from one 35 to the opposing goal line. Our halftime drill uses the entire field. We are unable to rehearse our halftime show due to the field and lack of time. Yeah, baby. So, after unloading the equip. truck in record time, we go ahead and do a standstill rehearsal of our halftime tunes, which turns out to be completely useless because of the reverb in the building. Again, yeah, baby. We load up in record time after rehearsal and head for the hotel.
2:30pm: we arrive at the hotel to find out that we have been booked some 4 rooms less than we actually need. Yeah, baby. This is not a problem for yours truly or the members of the esteemed OSU tuba line, as we are provided with a room. No problems thus far.
2:45pm: we (probably two dozen people) arrive at the package store across the street and behind the hotel, and purchase approx. $1000.00 worth of beverage. It's worth mentioning at this point that due to certain laws, this is the only time that we will be able to purchase any sort of beverage, so we go all out and plan ahead. It's not really as bad as it sounds. Trust me.
3:45pm: we board the bus, in uniform, for the stadium, having spent the last 30 minutes ransacking every ice machine in the hotel.
approx. 5:05pm: we arrive at Arrowhead Stadium with right at 40 minutes to unload, warm up, get in the stadium and get ready to march pre- game. While the stadium is only 30 minutes from the hotel under normal circumstances, Raiber forgot to account for game day traffic. Oops. We just thought that we unloaded the truck in record time...there were tuba cases and pit equipment flying through the air like some sort of bizarre musical shrapnel.
5:40pm: we are lined up in run-on positions on the sidelines and all is well. Until someone notices that the hashes seem to be a bit too far inside, but there's really no way to check this out. Boy, would have been nice to rehearse on the field, huh? Yeah, baby. Pre-game goes fairly well, actually, without too much hitch. We are able to make it into the stands afterwards without too much trouble, and all seems well.
Halftime: as we are marching onto the field to play our halftime show, I notice that the hashes are indeed somwhere between 3 and 4 steps too far towards the center of the field. Oh shit. This has the predictable effect on our drill, which is not a thing of beauty even at home, and we march a pretty damn mediocre show. However, our team is tied 3-3 with Nebraska at halftime, and our defense has held Nebraska's vaunted option offense to 40-some yards. This in and of itself is a minor miracle, and probably serves to distract our band even more during our performance. Alas.
approx. 9:30pm: our team loses on the last play of game, having proved themselves to be very nearly the equal of the #2 and defending nat. champ Cornhuskers. Everyone in the stadium agrees that this is one of, if not the best college football game they've ever seen. We load up and board the buses.
approx. 10:30pm: we leave amidst rediculous traffic, en route to the Ponderosa Steakhouse, about 50 minutes away, where we have a catered dinner waiting for us. We are all incredibly hungry after cheering madly for the entire damn game, and are already salivating at the thought of the all-you- can-eat buffet which awaits us. Yeah, baby.
approx. 11:00pm: bus #1 dusts us, leaving us utterly and totally behind in the middle of 5 lanes of bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic. Consternation ensues shortly thereafter when we find out that bus #1, also the staff bus, is the only one that knows how to get to the fucking resturant. Oh, shit, here we go.
11:30pm: we have gone 10 miles down I-35 towards Wichita, stopped on the shoulder for a bus driver conference, turned around, and are now stopped somewhere in KC for the drivers to once again debate where the hell we are. No one has seen bus #1 for some 45 minutes or so, and unbeknownst to us, they have just arrived at the Ponderosa and are enjoying a nice, hot meal. And wondering where the hell the other 5 buses and the equipment truck have gone. Yeah, baby.
11:50pm: bus #5 is separated from the pack. We are now down to 4 buses and the truck.
Sunday, October 4, 1998 (Day 2)
Midnight: Raiber, in a fit of worry and angst, calls the Kansas Highway patrol to attempt to find his 5 lost buses and equipment truck. Within the Ponderosa there's the dawning realization that all is not well.
12:20am: after performing precision bus manuvers in order to get everyone turned around in the middle of a 4-way, 5-lane intersection, we manage to lose both the truck and bus #'s 3 and 6. This leaves us and #4 in one group, #3 and #6 plus the truck in another group, and #5 all by itself somewhere in KC, all of us with not the slightest clue as to where the fuck we're going. Excellent. We have been as far out of the way as Independence, Kansas, one of the farthest outlying suburbs of KC, and about 90 degrees opposite where we actually needed to go, 180 degrees opposite Wichita, where we headed in the first place. Tempers are starting to flare.
12:25am: some blessed soul (actually the trombone section leader) on bus #4 uses his cell-phone to call information, get the number for the Ponderosa, and talks to Raiber, getting instuctions over the phone. Bus #4 assumes the lead, but we in #2 don't know that any of this has happened, so we're all just getting a bit pissy. At this point, we drive by Arrowhead stadium for the 6th time this evening.
12:55am: just as myself and a couple of others on #2 are getting up to wrest control from the obviously senile driver and demand to be taken back to the hotel, the Ponderosa comes into view, saving our sanity and the bus drivers' life. There are, however, still 3 buses and an equipment truck lost, somewhere in KC, searching for food like so many overgrown ants. Raiber is observed to rage quietly at the drivers and turn a very attractive shade of purple. At this point it should be noted that, as we were all departing the bus, someone noticed that the driver had a cell-phone sitting on his dashboard. Again, excellent. But the food is okay.
1:45am: buses #1, #2, and #4 depart the Ponderosa for the Holiday Inn Lenexa, passing buses #3, #5, and #6, which are on their way to the Ponderosa for dinner. It turns out that they all wound up back at the hotel, where yet another enterprising cell-phone owner called info for the same reason as #4. I repeat, three buses worth of people were just getting to the resturant as we left for the hotel. Yeah, baby.
approx. 6:00am: I finally go to sleep/pass out in our room at the hotel.
4:00pm: we board buses in travel shirts and raingear because it's been raining all day, KC is already beginning to flood, and the storm system goes all the way back to Oklahoma. This is already beginning to go wrong. Just about the time we're getting ready to leave we hear that Stillwater has been hit by a tornado, and that over 100 funnels have been sighted all over Oklahoma. What a great trip. In any case, the decision was made not to wear full uniform due to the weather. Good decision.
5:30pm: we arrive at Arrowhead as the rain stops! Yes! We get to watch a pro football game and be dry at the same time! Yeah, baby!
6:45pm: we're now inside Arrowhead and seated on the field right in front of wall in band seating. All is well as it begins to very lightly sprinkle...
7:00pm: kickoff is met with a fair bit of rain, somewhere between honest rain and a heavy sprinkle...
7:05pm: the deluge begins...
7:10pm: I'm soaked to the bone despite my raingear, lightning is stiking just outside the stadium, and the first of the 11 people to die in KC's worst flood in 2 decades has just been washed from I-35 into a bar ditch, in his car...
7:15pm: water is pouring out of the field gates in the stands in a deluge about 6" deep by 3' wide, the width of the gate. There are gates every 40 feet or so, and the runoff is beginning to overwhelm the stadium's drainage capacity. It's raining so hard that, from the field, we can't see the opposing side of the stadium at all. Something is just not right here.
7:20pm: Raiber gives the order to abandon ship at the end of the 1st quarter. This is met with general approval from the band.
approx. 7:30pm: I make my way to my tuba, parked on the wall some distance from where I had been sitting/bathing, and find that it's somewhat difficult to pick up due the incredible amount of water it has taken in. I accidentally dump the water on one of our drum majors as she walks by. Oops.
approx. 8:30pm: the truck is loaded, we're all on the buses, and the first game in the history of the NFL to be postponed for rain has just been postponed for rain. As we leave, the buses leave a wake in the water on the roadway that is actually washing up over the bumpers of cars parked on the raised curb, a foot or so above the road that we're driving down.
approx. 9:30pm: we arrive back at the hotel to dry out and relax before we depart at 10:45 for the Ponderosa, again. This is met with some trepidation by the band members imprisoned on bus #2, but it's free food....
11:40pm: we arrive at the Ponderosa on time, and a cheer is heard from bus #2.
Monday, October 5, 1998 (Day 3)
1:45 am: we arrive back at the hotel for the last time, and a rousing game of 3-man ensues.
3:30am: the fire alarm goes off briefly, but shuts off almost immediately...
3:31am: the fire alarm goes on the stays on...we exit the hotel, hoping and praying that it wasn't one of us that set the damn thing off.
3:35am: the first fire trucks and other emergency vehicles arrive at the hotel to verify the false alarm.
3:36am: the first fire trucks on the scene begin to fill hoses as EMT's treat a couple of people from the 4th floor of the hotel for smoke inhalation...sirens can be heard approaching from the distance as A.) we realize that it ain't no false alarm, and B.) it starts to lightly sprinkle once again.
3:45am: Raiber moves our departure time back from 7 to 10:30 as it becomes more and more apparent that we're not gettin' back inside the hotel any time soon. Also, Raiber is not looking very good at this point.
5:30am: we are allowed back in the hotel, but only into a separate meeting room where the staff attempts to placate us with pastries, coffee and juice. Our concerns are with the beer getting warm in our room.
6:30am: we are allowed back in our rooms, and immediately resume our interupted game of 3-man.
8:30am: we finish the last of our beer and repost to our own rooms to freshen up and hopefully sober up a bit before getting on the bus for the trip home. Room #302, where we were partying, is a total loss. We debate whether or not to call a cleaning lady in order to pay charges now, instead of being billed for them later, but decide to not worry about it too much.
11:15am: we depart the Holiday Inn Lenexa approx, 45 minutes late, due to a number of idiots who neglected to get up on time. At this point, no one wants to talk to Raiber, 'cause he's shootin' lasers out his eyes and breathing fire. Some fun, you bet.
4:45pm: we arrive at Lewis Field in Stillwater, thankful that the ordeal is finally over.
Back to the tubas.