For those of you who don't know, I was once a part of the Marching Southerners Front Ensemble - a.k.a. the Cockpit (unofficial). During my first 4 years at Jacksonville State University, I had the unique opportunity to play music to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people every football season. At a school like JSU people came to watch the band and this phenomena gave all of us a ride to remember and cherish for the rest of our lives.
THE 'COCKPIT' GAVE US ALL A WAY TO TRUELY KNOW ONE ANOTHER BECAUSE WE WERE ALWAYS HAVING TO PUSH (LITERALLY AND MENTALLY) UP & DOWN DIFFICULT TERRAIN, SEPARATED ENTIRELY FROM THE BAND. WE WERE OUR OWN VESSEL AND MACHINE.
My last year to march was in 2013, which seems so long ago...but only a moment away especially when I attended JSU's homecoming this year. People really have no clue what dedication and passion is put into any marching band show, no matter what band it is. I can say for myself that I have been fortunate to have done it as long as I did and do not regret a single minute of it. Blowing off friends to practice, devoting multiple weekends to travel and play several shows for various high school competitions (those were the best ones), and even pushing myself to take my experience to the next level with Drum & Bugle Corps...I can't begin to explain the friendships and memories I made. But as little as I talk about it and even 'hate on it,' I loved it. I loved all of it. The 'COCKPIT' gave us all a way to truly know one another because we were always having to push (literally and mentally) up and down difficult terrain, separated entirely from the band. We were our own vessel and machine.