Shannan’s shenanigans: Untangling before football games

design: Brooke Farren
permission to print photos: Shannan Johnson

As a senior, I obviously found this Coronavirus an astronomical nuisance. I mean this global pandemic is ruining my life, like seriously, I could be in Paris right now meeting the love of my life. Do I want to go to Paris? No, I think it’s overrated. Do I want to fall in love right now? Absolutely not. But, even though I don’t want to I could still be falling madly in love with a boring person just with a really cool accent in an overrated city.

Regardless of everything, there is one good thing that this pandemic has given me and that’s complaining rights for at least the rest of my life. I’m currently waiting for the day when some kid in a grocery store is begging their mom for some ice cream and for me to interject to say, “You think this is bad? I had a global pandemic ruin my chances of meeting the love of my life from France.”

But instead of complaining about how my senior year is completely and utterly disappointing due to the virus, I decided I would focus on the good side of things. Meaning, that I’m going to focus on the memories from before Covid-19.

For those who don’t know, I’m in the marching band, and in the first three seasons in band, there have been a lot of good moments that make it memorable. Before getting too much into it, there must be a bit of context.

The summer of freshman year, the band had everyone sign up for cabins for our annual band camp, and as a kid from Berkshire I signed up for a cabin with no one I knew except for my twin, Emilee. During this time, our cabin of 12 awkward freshman girls bonded over sleep-deprived confusion, lots of sugar, and most importantly… Cheeseballs. So many cheeseballs. And thus the Cheeseballers friend group was born in the middle of the woods with a mist made of sunscreen and so much bug spray.

The Cheeseballers have been around for three years now, and have created many memories. One memory related to the band was a tradition created within the group last year.

Back when people could hug people without wearing a hazmat suit, we became professionals at a very complicated and the most respected sport in the whole world called extreme yoga. For anyone who is unaware, extreme yoga is yoga but it’s extreme. As for an actual explanation of extreme yoga. The way we did it was yoga poses that involve multiple people stacked upon eachother to create some sort of structure.

Extreme yoga was a sport that most of us participated in before every football game. We were told to stop a few times as I guess climbing on each other is considered dangerous or something and the band was set to perform in under an hour but what can I say? The squad is more rebellious than Radio Rebel, and ain’t no one gonna stop the crew from accidentally kicking each other in the head multiple times.

After a couple of weeks, many others joined in, which meant the Cheeseballers were doing something right. I was the main person who would catch people when someone was about to fall. Because handstands are not my thing. This one particular time someone chose a pose that was clearly the most difficult one tried so far. But as fearless band kids, it was decided that the pose was the next challenge.

As a catcher, the job was to minimize injury as much as possible. With tangled bodies, limbs flying around it’s hard to know which person to save or lift off the entanglement first. This particular pose included a lot more people, leaving fewer catchers, so when I noticed they were going down like the London bridge and I had the urge to yell timber, I sprang into action. I was able to bring down two of the people while another catcher brought down one, leaving one more person desperately needing help.

Unfortunately, it was too late, leaving a body slam into two of the base support people inevitable. That was the last pose of that day.

Even with the bruising, body slams, and more than awkward positions, we kept up the charade before each game. And at least for me, it spoke to the fact that no matter what, everyone always belongs to some sort of team. That how many times we got hurt, it didn’t matter because even if someone didn’t catch you, they will help you stand back up again… to once again fall to the doom of unbroken limbs, that may become broken.