By Allison Owen Recently I've found that it is very easy to take things for granted. A prime example would be high school band. I know that people don't like to hear about band, but I love band. I'll admit it: I'm a band nerd. This season of band has meant more to me than any season before it. I've had fun performing and I've grown to love the kids I get to perform alongside. I feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to have such great instruction and I know that my life is changed because of my directors. For four years I've been in color guard for marching band and in two short weeks it's over. I just realized how much I've taken it all for granted. There were all those times at those silly football games when I was bored out of my mind or those frustrating rehearsals when I wanted band to be over. Very soon it IS over and I can never have those times back. As much as corps people seem to hate band, it's something all its own. I know that as weird as it may be, I will miss band when it's all said and done. I have taken performing in band for granted. The past few times I've come off the field I've had tears in my eyes. After a long four years, high school marching band is almost over for me. And all those times I took it for granted. After all that time, this is the first season that I have had an absolute blast on the field. The performance level I've had this fall has been the closest to the level of fun I have at corps. It's so easy to think that one show at halftime doesn't mean anything because there will be another one soon enough. But before you know it, it is the last time. It's really starting to hit me that it's over before you know it. I love performing and there is no feeling in the world like it. I know it's "just band," but this "just band" thing has changed my life.

It's the same way with drum corps. There were all those long and hot days when I wanted to go home and I wanted nothing to do with drum corps. But once I'm home I wish the summer had never ended and I would give anything to be back out there. Before I know it, the day will come when I can't do drum corps anymore. Until then I have to treasure EVERY moment of it. If I don't cherish those moments now, I'll regret it when I'm 22. On a very serious note, yesterday on the way home from a competition, a Chippewa Falls (Wisconsin) High School band bus was involved in a horrible accident. This disaster did not only result in injuries, it also resulted in some fatalities. I can't even imagine the pain this band is going through.

This is another fine example of something I take for granted. All summer I get on the bus "knowing" that I'll make it safely to the next housing or show site. It never crosses my mind that there could be an accident or someone -- including myself -- could get hurt. During the fall I get on the band bus to go to a game or competition and never imagine that there will be any problem. In reality something unexpected could happen at any time. But no one thinks about that until it actually happens to someone else.

All these revelations I've had recently are leading me to a new outlook on life. Why should it take a tragedy or the end of something for me to realize how much something means to me? I'm trying very hard to not take things for granted anymore. Before I know it, it's over.

These next two weeks will be bittersweet for me. I've grown to love this marching activity and it's changed my life. Band has been good to me and ultimately led me to drum corps. But all good things must come to an end, so now it's time to finish this chapter of my life. I'll get on the bus a few more times and I won't just assume that nothing bad will ever happen to me. I'll go out on the field for rehearsal and I'm going to make every second count. Don't worry; I won't be taking any of it -- even if it is "just band" -- for granted ever again. Allison Owen, 17, is a junior at Sullivan Central HS in Blountville, Tenn. She was assistant conductor for Southwind and enjoys dancing, writing, English, color guard, having fun and performing. She is currently undecided on college and a major.