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Here's What It's Like Being In The USC Band On Game Day

A quick run-through of a typical game day.

New York native Patrick Cleland traveled to sunny California to attend USC last fall. Now a sophomore, Pat manages to juggle his homework from the Honor’s program at USC with his duties as a fraternity brother.

But when we caught up with Pat on Saturday, his only focus was providing the heartbeat and rhythm to the “Greatest Marching Band in the History of the Universe”. In USC’s rivalry match-up with Stanford this weekend, we found out just what it’s like to be a band member on game day.

First Pat wakes up early in the morning and starts his day off with the breakfast of champions: a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. He quickly checks his Facebook and email before taking a shower and getting ready for the day.

By 11 a.m., all the band members meet outside of the hotel to await the arrival of the buses. Pat loads up on water and cakes on the sunscreen knowing it’s going to be a hot afternoon trapped in a heavy band uniform.

Pat and his bandmates get on board the charter bus that will take them to the game. The bathroom is tiny, the aisles are narrow, but at least the air conditioning works on this hot September day. The reclinable, comfy seats are a bonus too, even though the trip to the Stanford Stadium only takes ten minutes from their hotel.

The Spirit of Troy Marching band warms up before adorning their iconic Trojan uniforms. These quirky quad players tune up their drumming before playing in front of the packed crowd at Stanford.

It’s always the most fun part of game day for Pat because he can hang out with the guys and get pumped for some football - without getting completely chewed out by band Director Dr. Arthur Bartner.

Pat and his bandmates enter the stadium, fully dressed and ready to get the audience pumped.

While game attendants continue to file into the stadium, The Spirit of Troy band is already playing crowd favorites such as “Tusk”, “Seven Nation Army”, and “All I Do Is Win”. Pat’s favorite song is the new college student pleasing tune of Avicii’s “Levels”. He says it definitely makes the Trojans “get a good feeling”.

USC is up by a touchdown against the Cardinal by halftime. Pat is less focused on the game and more on his upcoming halftime show performance.

But how could he concentrate when that twirling and jumping Stanford tree keeps distracting him? Not to mention “Timmy Trojan” who leads the Stanford band onto the field at halftime to mock USC’s marching style.

Nonetheless, the halftime show for USC is a success. The USC fans that travelled to the Weekender are spirited and invigorated, energizing Pat from the plume of his helmet to the ends of his drumsticks. It’s always fun to play current hits like Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and Sia’s “Titanium”.

The game ends in disappointment, as the Trojans fall to Stanford 21-14. But that doesn't stop USC’s marching band from making some noise. The Spirit of Troy plays and marches directly past Stanford’s post-game press conference. Pat makes sure to play USC’s Fight Song especially loud. However, it doesn’t seem to distract Stanford’s defensive end Ben Gardner, who reportedly danced in his seat to the drum-line.

Pat can’t ‘fight on’ through his fatigue after that game though. After dressing out of his Trojan uniform and loading up the bus with his quads, Pat is quick to fall asleep on the bus. A ten minute trip back to the hotel is still plenty of time to catch up on some z’s.

The Trojans arrive back at the hotel. But it’s not bedtime yet, the Weekender is just beginning! Pat only heads back to his room for a much-needed shower and wardrobe change.

It’s been a while since Pat ate, and 10 p.m. is never too late for dinner. There’s no better choice for a late night bite to eat than In & Out.

Can Pat please get a Double Double Animal Style? Maybe a chocolate milkshake in addition would help fight the sting of the loss to Stanford.

After dinner is some good ole’ fashioned male bonding with his bandmates. Pat and his drum-line head out to explore the sights and sounds of Stanford University.

They are relieved of their band duties for the night, with plenty of time to have some fun at a different college.

But from here what happens at the Weekender stays at the Weekender.