Members of the drumline live, eat, and breathe the words: motivation, intensity, accountability and hard-work. Being section leader my sophomore and junior year, to now being drum captain my senior year, I have learned how to effectively teach these principles to the underclassmen coming up.

Being nervous and trying to fight for a spot on the line, most of the underclassmen learn and adjust to the intense environment, but for a certain few, it is not that easy and unfortunately do not make it very far.My two years of being bass drum section leader had its share of difficulties, but it was always manageable. Therefore, I had no fear in taking over the line as captain. This stayed true until I received some unsettling text messages from one of my section leaders. These messages were from a kid in my own section named Khaled. The messages contained vulgar statements directed towards the band program, the percussion director and me personally.

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My initial thought was to address him personally for a very good explanation over why these things were being said, but because I was never suppose to have known about these messages, it was not my place to be the first to act upon it.

I assumed that I could put trust in one of my section leaders to take care of it and to defend the program, defend our director and defend me. I was wrong.The first week of summer band camp was very emotionally straining. It seemed like a constant fight of trying to get the underclassmen to get motivated and excited, but it was always counter acted by Khaled’s attitude and my yelling. I became irritable and my attitude ironically started to transform into Khaled’s. I thought Khaled’s constant retaliation against me and my orders was from him just being insecure and that he would change. Wrong again.

Khaled was tearing the line apart before my eyes.The rest of the bassline and I decided enough is enough. We pleaded to our director for some kind of salvation from this mess, but all we got was the same old story of where the unmotivated slacker gets the easy way out and the good kids have to suffer for it.The cursing, the yelling, the disrespect, the laziness, and the retaliation continued somehow unnoticed until I was on the brink of my breaking point. The bassline and I knew if the underclassmen watched Khaled win this battle he would become the example. They would think it is okay to be unmotivated. They would think it is okay be lazy when you are tired.

They would think it is okay disrespect authority when you do not agree with their orders. And by them thinking these things, we degrade them of the teachings that intensity, drive, and passion are not just words, but more so the driving force in reaching every goal you have in this life. (Can I get an amen?)We requested a meeting with our director and Khaled. All of us poured our hearts out to him and all we got in return was, “What do I do about a refund?”When it is all said and done, I am blessed God gave me an experience like this at my age. This was not your typical story of everything being rainbows and butterflies in the end. Instead I was tested emotionally, challenged mentally and was pushed just shy of my breaking point. We could not save Khaled from himself and he ended up quitting, but my mind was renewed in the realization that sometimes as a leader you cannot save everyone.

Easily, the bassline and I could have conformed to Khaled’s ways and this year would have been miserable, but my standing by our beliefs and standing together, I take away a very important lesson before I embark on my life in the next year.

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