If you’ve ever seen a University of Florida promotional video, you’ve most likely seen a shot of The Swamp during a Saturday night. The narrator of the video is probably saying something like, “There is nothing like sitting next to 90,000 of your closest friends as you cheer on the Gators!”
Anyone from the south or any region of the United States where football is a highly celebrated event can probably relate to this kind of spirit that exists on a college campus. Football really is a big deal. It does build community, and it gives every fan an immediate topic to discuss with a peer. We know the best athletes and wear their numbers on our backs, the feeling of saying ‘Cheers!’ while tailgating with friends, and walking in the halls of the stadium as chants emerge to gloat a victory. These are all happy feelings. But can you imagine a football game without the band? The real spirit of football games is stimulated by that special section in the corner of the stands that leads our cheers and celebrates our first downs.
First photo: Jonathan Dor, a senior music education major from Pembroke Pines, is a drum major for the Florida Gator Band. “My favorite part about being in a leadership position within the band is getting my team hyped before a game,” Dor said. Dor has been in the band since his freshman year at UF.
On the last home game on Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the marching band paid tribute to veterans in honor of Veteran’s Day. Their tribute was remembered well after half time and fans loved the show just as much as the game.
“I absolutely loved sitting next to the band for my last home football game,” said senior Ashley Klein, a biology major from Osceola. “They add so much spirit to the game and my friends and I have come up with a dance for every song they play.”
The musical element of football games may not be the first thing a die-hard football fan considers while enjoying the game, but the musicians lead the fans during plays whether good or bad. The band fills the stadium with the beloved jingles we pump our fists to and keeps attitudes hopeful through cheerful tunes when the team fails to make a first down. Sports and music are a true duo that compliment one another in the spirit of fostering community and celebrating pride for a team.