I visited with Randy Jones in North Lamar in January and one of the things he stressed to me is that while it feels good to see kids get trophies, in 20 years they won't remember what contests they competed at, what trophies they won, what accomplishments they achieved. They will remember, however, how you as their director made them feel.
I tell you all of that to tell you this: The rat race that is Marching Band in the state of Texas is exactly that: A Rat Race. While it was good to see my group make State Military contest, It's not worth it to me to give up my life for a group of kids that I have four years with versus my son who I will have the rest of my life with, God willing.
As a band who was not competitive at the state military contest this year we are doing what we can to make our product better but still go home by 5pm each day. I refuse to give up more than two Saturdays a fall to marching contests. If that means I'll never make a state title, so be it. But if that means I get to see my child grow up, that's what I'll hang my hat on when I'm on my deathbed.
After all, were I to croak tomorrow I'll be replaced by next week. The kids will always have a director. My son will go without his dad for the rest of his life and that's not okay to me.