Nostalgia and excitement swirled together in the air Saturday as Bobcats, old and new, filled the seats of Peden Stadium for the Homecoming game. The weekend’s festivities were in full swing as I spoke with some of the Marching 110’s alumni on the sidelines, where they were confident and excited to be taking the field as they had in the past.
Some were going over their routine one last time, twisting and turning in time, while others chatted with old friends. As they waited, their reminiscing whisked them away to days gone by.
It seemed that every band member had a story to tell, and they did not disappoint. One graduate of the class of 2012, Derek Fulk, said he remembered his freshman Homecoming game where he was able to play together with his older brother, a 2003 graduate, when he returned to the field with the other alumni. Due to the age difference, Fulk hadn’t been able to march in a band with his brother before.
“Marching with my brother was priceless,” said Fulk.
Another woman, Kristi Moore, was proud to say that she met her current husband while marching together. Moore, who graduated in 1999, played the clarinet and her future husband played the snare drum. The long practices and bus rides may have been a factor in their budding romance, but Moore joked that they “probably met at a band party.”
It was clear to see the Marching 110 was still an “exhilarating” part of their lives. Every alum said the same thing — they were and always will be a family. They also laughed about the rigorous practices and how worth it they were.
“The games, the crowds, that’s where they payoff was. That’s what made it worth it,” said Clinton Harris, a graduate of 2000.
Harris went on to say the band made it possible for him to play in amazing places like OSU’s stadium, Toronto, and even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which he called “the best five miles of cold weather” he’d experienced.
“The band has taken me many places, but I always come back,” said Harris, who has only missed two Homecoming games since graduation.
The alums all agreed that the most noticeable changes to campus were the new buildings that occupied ground previously held by little more than grass. They also said that no matter how much the campus changes physically, the people were still as genial and welcoming as ever.
“There might be new buildings and dorms, but there’s still the same great people,” said Harris.
As the clock ticked down closer to halftime, the alum gathered their gear and prepared to storm the field and show the fans that they still had the 110 spirit. The second quarter ended and the Bobcats had a strong lead of 17-3 against the dreaded Miami Redhawks.
Even though the game had paused, the fans did not. They rose to greet the 110 alums with a wild roar as the graduates stepped onto familiar ground. While they may have moved onto the next chapter in their lives, they still relished the opportunity to perform for their Bobcat family.
“Just because you leave Athens doesn’t mean you stop calling it home,” said Moore.