This week, we'll be paying some editorial attention to drum corps duties -- bus loading, field lining and the like. If only someone would create the self loading/unloading truck, then life would be easy. I'd be able to wake up every morning, gaze at the scenery, tie my shoelaces, chew my food, and maybe even put on a shirt if it weren't for equipment trucks.
There's all types of trucks out there in drum corps land: Big trucks, little trucks, fat trucks, skinny trucks, organized trucks, cluttered trucks, and then my favorite, the "near death experience" truck. The NDE truck is the type of truck where each time you open a bay door you pray to yourself that nothing falls out and hits you. Items can vary from bass drums to trumpet cases, to keyboards, drum major podiums, and gong stands. A poorly strapped-in gong stand can provide many bloody noses to those brave enough to open a bay door. The actual loading process of the equipment truck is probably one of the greatest feats any drum corps can perform. Making nine keyboards fit into a space which was designed for six keyboards is an accomplishment not many can pull off. Loading the truck is the equivalent to drill for front ensemble members. Everything has its right place to go, if it's not that one place, then it's most likely not going to fit correctly and throw everything else off. Certain items have priority over others, usually heavy stuff first, lighter stuff last, and so forth. Truck loading has two different types of people, lifters and truck trolls. Lifters do the obvious job of lifting the equipment into the truck; while the truck trolls have the job of putting everything in its right place. Truck trolls are usually thin and/or short people, as crawling under keyboards, performing truck acrobatics, and contorting your body to fit into small crevices isn't highly recommended for others. I myself and proud to be a truck troll. It has its benefits at times -- less heavy lifting, shade and protection from rain. Parking lots are usually a mess at the beginning of the summer with corps members struggling to cram equipment into a small area within a respectable time period. I've seen trucks take as long as two hours to be loaded, and some as short as 15 minutes to be loaded. Some trucks are just naturally easier to load, but efficient loaders can make any truck seem easy. By finals week, one doesn't even have to think while unloading/loading their truck, it becomes physical memory by then and goes by very quickly. This is all just a portion of what loading a truck is all about, I didn't even mention loading horns and guard equipment, that's a whole 'nother story. Eric Fox's last article
The Madison Scouts demonstrate proper truck-loading technique at a recent camp.