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It's a strange place I'm occupying, this middle ground.  I was quite firmly informed that I'm writing about an entity which does not, in fact, exist: There is no Ohio State University Marching Band at the moment.  It dissolves after its last performance of the fall, and, not unlike The Kracken, lies dormant until needed... until the next generation of it is selected in August. 

What with all the pervasive evil in the world, however, Ohio State Drum Majors are necessary to society year-round.  When not culling and whipping the developing members of the tribe, they are providing whistle-blowing services and general feudal protection to the Spring Athletic Band.  A few members of the-- The-- Ohio State University Marching Band also participate in "A-Band," but not many.  Also, if you rock a flute or a clarinet, here's your chance to bust a "Buckeye Battle Cry."

So for the moment, there is, technically, no band to write about.  I have Drum Majors and I have empty stadiums, and really, that is not a bad place to be.  But even then, there are enormous Alabama gaps when I'm far from Ohio and Matt The Badass doing... whatever badassery type things he does while in the Badass Fortress of Solitude, and it is then when I must sort things out via the Almighty.

This concept is not as foreign to Catholics as it might be to other denominations; we have the whole Purgatory thing going on, which means that those of us who mourn loved ones who have passed on continue to pray for their souls in order to bust them out of the spiritual equivalent of the universe's slowest and worst supermarket check-out line. 

So I have no problem praying for, and about, an entity which does not even exist in the temporal realm.  Much in the way I prayed for my nephews before they came to be ("Oh Lord, please make them nothing at all like Aunt Beth.  Make them employable"), I apply several moments of devotion concerning that which has yet to form and people I have yet to meet.  The i-dotters.  The high school senior currently dripping with sweat as he trains for his first tryout.  The section leader who, if he makes it, will ensure that he maintains the uber-excellence of the band he's just earned his way into."Dear Lord, please bless the i-dotters and directors and graduate assistants and D-Row freshmen and Matt the Ba-- God bless Matt, and Stew The Kind Of Big Deal, and..."

Mostly, I pray that they will be safe, and dry, and always within reach of cookie dough, should it be necessary.  And I pray that I will not frighten them, too much, when they exist as a band.

I light candles for our Drum Majors too, both past and present; as the patron of musicians and (yes) marching bands, St. Cecilia is, roughly, in charge of all of them, but they all have individual patron saints to apply to as well (except for, somewhat terrifyingly, Stewart Kitchen The Kind Of Big Deal.  There are no saints named "Stewart", and I mean none.  Closest I could turn up for Stew was Stuart Saint, who is apparently a Max Headroom impersonator in England.) But otherwise the Drum Majors' name patrons are all, as tends to happen, proper and fitting, for we Catholics have had a good 2000 years churchify-- plenty of time to attach celestial lobbyists to just about everything, including protection against attack by caterpillar.

Joshua, you've met.  St. Matthew, as befits his hospitality management major namesake, is mostly noted for having thrown a par-tay for Jesus. And St. Jason is the patron of--are you ready for this? 

Are you ready? 


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