The Oct. 2 Cal Poly Mustang and Fresno State Bulldog football game was a tough, bittersweet meeting between the two universities. The last time they battled on the football field was in 1985.
My wife and I spent Oct. 2 supporting the Mustang Marching Band. It was a long, hot, humid and exhausting Saturday for everyone attending from San Luis Obispo. The windless, bowl-shaped Bulldog Stadium was a sweltering 90 degrees during the entire evening.
Understandably, the loss to the Bulldogs was disappointing for Mustang fans. To the 35,000 spectators, it appeared that Cal Poly had “lost.” The scoreboard said so. But the scoreboard did not tell the entire story. In reality, in the end, Cal Poly came out a winner, and more importantly, a highly respected leader, depending on how you view the world.
After the game, the Mustang Marching Band “grabbed the ball and ran for a touchdown.” The evening was not over yet. They were about to make a powerful statement and history.
Spectators who had left the stadium following the game were unaware that an exciting, heartwarming and rewarding unrehearsed event was about to occur on the field, taking the entire Bulldog Stadium staff by surprise as they watched in awe. The few spectators remaining in the stands stopped in their tracks and watched in amazement as something very unusual took place that was music to their ears and a joy to watch.
The 144-member Mustang Marching Band walked to the other end of the stadium to serenade the 300-member Bulldog Marching Band sitting in the stands. It was an unbelievable, breathtaking sight. Bulldog band members were thrilled, never having experienced anything like it.
For about 30 minutes, both bands played to each other, then mixed on the field as everyone made new friends and joined together in playing exciting music, dancing and singing.
The power of music. The power of youth.
Walter Reil’s daughter played in the Mustang Marching Band for five years. He currently lives in Atascadero.