THS-PHS bands have the right perspectivePublished 9:28am Thursday, October 20, 2011
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editorbalanced
Attending the annual Battle for U.S. 31 is always a great experience. With a year’s worth of bragging rights on the line, the fans, players and coaches are always extremely excited and passionate during the game.
When the teams take the field, the atmosphere is electric, and the energy does not decrease until the clock reaches zero.
But with so much riding on the game’s outcome, some can take the rivalry a little too seriously. With a state that is already polarized between Alabama and Auburn, some supporters of Pelham and Thompson can extend those feelings into the heated high school matchup.
“Our state is so divided between Alabama and Auburn already. It gets out of control to the point where people actually say they hate fans of the other team, and a lot of times they are raised to think that,” Thompson High School Director of Bands Jon Bubbett told me this week.
But Bubbett and Pelham High School Director of Bands Jeff Burnside said they are attempting to teach kids in their band programs that it is OK to have differences, but it’s not OK to let it get out of hand.
Before Friday’s game, the PHS and THS bands will join each other on the field for the 10th consecutive year to perform a joint show before going to their separate bleachers for kickoff.
I was a junior in the Pelham band the first time we performed the joint pregame with THS. It sounds crazy now, but before that joint pregame, it was easy to dismiss the members of the THS band as “the enemy” because of the intense rivalry between the two schools.
But after spending time practicing the field show with the THS band and hanging out with our Warrior counterparts, my perspective changed quickly. It blew my16-year-old mind that the folks in the band in red were the same as the folks in my band.
I think some folks on both sides of the THS-PHS rivalry, and even the Alabama-Auburn rivalry, could take a lesson from the cooperation and respect between the two band programs.