Drum Corps International
The joys of bus loading

The joys of bus loading

by Drum Corps International

This week, we'll be paying some editorial attention to drum corps duties -- bus loading, field lining and the like.

By Tim Henning

There is nothing better after an eight-hour rehearsal in the unforgiving sun than loading someone else's luggage. That's the way it went for the Phantom Regiment contra section in the days that I marched, and today.

I will never forget my rookie year in 1997. It was then that I learned that it is possible to defy all laws of physics by fitting a three-foot-long suitcase into a two-foot space. It was kind of like fitting a watermelon into a coffee cup.

Chad Miller (Regiment 1997 to 1999) was by far the most fun person to load buses with. He was always up for a game of sleeping bag football or door slamming. I remember one time in 1999 where we couldn't get a door shut on one of the buses. Chad, who couldn't have weighed more that 140 pounds, decided it would be a good idea to take a running start and basically try to drop kick the door closed. Needless to say it didn't work, but it was really funny. I don't think Chad had a good show that night, probably because his head was still ringing.

I don't know if this still happens, but when I marched in Regiment there was always the end of the year pile. Whenever the corps arrived at our last housing site finals week, the contras would throw all the luggage into one big pile. The corps couldn't get off of the busses until we had finished unloading. I will never forget the faces of the corps members as they watched their luggage being tossed into an eight-foot pile. Every year there were objections to this tradition, and just to be fair, the contra section always put our own luggage on the bottom. This is by far one of my top ten memories from drum corps.

By the time I aged out in 2001 I was the "bus loading crew chief." This meant that I just had to supervise the loading, which I admit was nice. The main drawback was that whenever we got to housing site I had to wait until everyone had gotten their luggage and then close all of the bus bay doors. Most of the time I was the last to go to bed, and every now and then someone would wake me up saying "Irish," (that was my nickname) "could you open up the bay doors I forgot my ..."

Needless to say my answer was always "NO."

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