Archive for July, 2014

Response to OSUMB experience

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading and sharing my blog post from yesterday (Drive through it OSUMB).  I have received innumerable comments (which I am still working to moderate and answer) – some in agreement and some that disagree with all or some that I have said.  I want to thank those of you who have disagreed with me, but understand that this post was one person’s experiences and one person’s opinion.  I’m sorry for those of you who cannot agree with me and yet judge me for what I have said.

 

I wrote this blog post as a response to negative media, that was labeling all OSUMB  members (alumni included) as perverts, homophobes and ugly people.  I wanted to remind my friends and readers that we are individuals, each with a story and opinion about an organization that we were a part of while in college.  Naively, I assumed my friends, family and fellow band alumni would read it.  I did not expect that in the first day, over 17,000 people would read it, and respond in force.

 

Because I did not expound on all of the experiences I stated in my blog post, some of you have chosen to think the worst of me and assume, for example, that while I chose to stay in the band, I did nothing to improve the climate of the band, speak up or that I must have agreed with everything that went on off the field, or when I experienced sexual harassment in the past, I did nothing to report it.  I have to disagree with you and your assumptions, as do many of my classmates and bandmates who knew me then.  As a Christian, I stood up and spoke up for what was right, even when it meant going against the flow.  I chose to stay in the band to try to make it a better place for all.  Every organization needs Christians in their midst.  Just because I chose to stay and perform with the OSUMB did not mean I condoned everything that went on privately off the field.  It’s the same to say that just because someone is my friend or family member and I love them, I must agree with everything they do or say.  If I abandoned everyone at the first sign of disagreement, where would that put me?  I’m also not saying that withdrawal from an organization is not warranted in some situations.

 

My second and third years in the band, I helped to lead a Bible study with a few other fellow band members during the marching season.  I can tell you, I never would have had the platform of respect in others’ lives had I – 1) not been in the band, and 2) not stood up for what I believed while in the band.  I can say for a fact that several who attended these Bible studies later accepted Christ and went on to be in ministry or missionaries, while others grew in their faith by seeing some strong Christian examples in the band.

 

I’m not one for cliché examples or quotes, but one comes to mind when I am being judged and told in comments that I should be ashamed of myself or that I am the one who has to live with my decisions.  Jesus ate with the tax collectors (see story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 or Levi in Mark 2).  Jesus was amongst sinners all his life, as a witness for the “better” life and repentance; the fulfilling life that only He can provide.   I was, and still am, an advocate for change, but change doesn’t happen overnight; change can happen from within, one person at a time.

 

I agree that something must be done.  I agree that mistakes have been made and no one is 100% innocent.  I agree that change is inevitable and that change is a good thing when it protects people from harm.  I just ask that you keep an open mind when listening to the media, because the media I read over the weekend, which was portrayed as truth, was lacking in truth from many angles.  Even the report from the university misconstrued facts about people.  I ask that you “do your homework”, as I continue to do mine, before condemning a man, a band and a university.

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Drive through it OSUMB

As a female former member of The Ohio State University Marching Band in the late 90s, I have been heartbroken reading and following online the firing of my friend, Jonathan Waters, and have been compelled to write in his and my beloved OSUMB’s defense here on my blog.

 

My first introduction to the OSU Marching Band was in High School, when our concert band went on a trip to Columbus and ended up in the Stadium Band Room (the old one), for a presentation by Dr. Jon Woods.  We watched a video of the band, and I just knew it was for me.

 

I (just like Jonathan Waters) was cut my freshman year of college from the OSU Marching Band.  I was heartbroken because I came from Louisville, Kentucky to OSU because I wanted to be in the band.  I loved (and still do) their discipline and perfection on the field.  I tried out my sophomore year and made the band.  While a member of the band, there were fraternal social customs that went on that I did not participate in nor feel threatened to participate in if I did not want to.  More often, I was protected and always given an out by the upperclass in my row, both men and women.  I had more big brothers and big sisters looking out for me than I could have ever imagined.

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I am a Christian and was a Christian while in the band.  While I chose not to participate in some of the cultural norms of the band, I never saw anyone coerced into participating if they did not want to, and participation in “off the field” events did, in no way threaten their marching spot in their row or influence Monday challenge outcomes.

 

The band helped me be the person I am today.  It took this naïve girl and taught me what goes on in the world, both the good and the bad.  It showed me that in every situation, it’s MY decision to choose to participate or not.  As a Christian, I could have quit the band at the first sign of something I didn’t believe in, but I was trained better than that.  There will always be things going on around me that I do not believe in.  I chose to stay in the band and tried to be a positive influence on my friends.

 

I have read the report and the allegations against my friend, Jon Waters and the band.  I am sickened to read the media writing about something they know NOTHING about.  I experienced more sexual harassment working the night shift at Meijer stocking groceries one summer than I ever did in my three years in the band.

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The OSUMB made me strong and disciplined.  Any group who trains hard and strives for perfection will blow off steam when they’re not “on the field”.  Although I don’t agree with all actions and believe that some of the traditions need to be removed or changed, I don’t feel that a voluntary event of “marching in your underwear” (just to name one) taints college kids’ minds.  If you can march ramp in your underwear, you can march in full uniform in front of over 100,000 people.

 

I agree with Sonny Fulks in his article from the PressPros Magazine, “Opinion: Culture of the OSU Band not Jon Waters’ Fault…!” (http://pressprosmagazine.com/culture-of-the-osu-band-not-jon-waters-fault/). He says, “No, if you want to blame someone for what goes on in the OSU band, blame yourself…and the culture of America that has generally become “sexualized”, and accepted, apparently.”  Kids did not learn these behaviors in the band, they knew them way before they landed at OSU, or any other college campus for that matter.

 

Now, as a mom of three boys, I am training them to be strong and make good decisions.  Although they are small, I hope and pray they will be men of honor when they grow up.  Men who look out for each other and others (as my OSU bandmates did for me), who honor and respect women as their father respects me, and who are capable of making their own decisions and owning the consequences of bad ones.

 

Since being in the band, I have worked on university campuses.  My experiences in the band have given me greater perspective on the things that go on with kids on college campuses.   Jonathan Waters was the man best equipped to lead the OSUMB both on and off the field.  He was making necessary changes to the cultural climate of the band behind the scenes, while we all watched on YouTube the wonderful shows that were being performed on the field.  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks overnight, as seem to be the expectations of President Drake, who has only been in office for three weeks.  Your actions have hurt a century old organization and the entire university.  I do not know what you were trying to prove by firing Mr. Waters, but I know what you proved to me…that you know nothing about the OSUMB and nothing about preserving one of the best things about the university – it’s band.

 

To the OSUMB – hold your head high, turn your corners square, and drive, drive, DRIVE!

 

To Jonathan Waters – hold your head high and drive through it.  We love you and stand with you.

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#WeStandWithJonWaters

#standwithJon

 

Kindergarten

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My oldest is going to Kindergarten next year.  He and I visited his new school last month, before school was out.  On the way there, I asked him, “Alexander, what do you think Kindergarten will be like?”  He said, “I really don’t know Mommy.”

10339749_792385830785001_3084908545399964001_nWe had a great time, walking around, visiting in the Kindergarten classrooms, seeing the playground, touring the entire school.  On the way home, I asked him what he was thinking.  He said, “Mommy, where’s the big garden?”

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Kinder-garden.

Even A Girl Like Me

A Preacher's Kid... Prodigal Daughter... Sinner Saved by Grace... Redeemed...Recovered...Renewed

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My journey of life and faith

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Keepin' it real, simple, and grace-full.

Tricia Lott Williford

Author and Speaker

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There are 5 sisters. She's the middlest.