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Odessa, Part 2: Friday Night Lights

Odessa, Part 2: Friday Night Lights
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Odessa, Part 2: Friday Night Lights

Odessa, Part 2: Friday Night Lights

annie brown

In case you’d ever heard of Odessa, Texas, earlier than this, it’s in all probability due to one story.

“friday night time lights” clip 1

I count on you boys to execute.

“friday night time lights” clip 2

Sure, sir.

“friday night time lights” clip 3

Anticipate you boys to play soccer.

“friday night time lights” clip 4

Sure, sir. [MUSIC]

“friday night time lights” clip 5

Exit of bounds on the 35-yard line! [INAUDIBLE]

annie brown

“Friday Night Lights” was written a few highschool soccer group in Odessa, Texas, within the late ‘80s —

“friday night time lights” clip

And that’s a mojo landing!

annie brown

— a time when the town was reeling from an enormous oil bust, when unemployment charges have been hovering. And nonetheless, each Friday night time, the town would collect to cheer on their profitable group, the Permian Panthers.

“friday night time lights” (coach)

Clear eyes, full hearts.

“friday night time lights” (gamers)

Can’t lose.

“friday night time lights” (coach)

Let’s hear it, gents. Clear eyes, full hearts.

“friday night time lights” (gamers)

Can’t lose.

“friday night time lights” (coach)

Let’s go play some soccer! Let’s go play!

annie brown

Within the ebook, one Odessan tells the writer, “Life actually wouldn’t be value dwelling should you didn’t have a highschool soccer group to assist.”

“friday night time lights” clip

Third down.

annie brown

The city continues to be so in love with the game that common adults, not simply fanatical mother and father, have been recognized to camp out in line, ready for tickets to the highschool recreation.

When life in Odessa is tied to the unsettling ups and downs of oil, soccer is regular.

So maybe it ought to come as no shock that simply as Texas was among the many first to reopen their lecture rooms —

archived recording (scott muri)

Good night, and welcome to ECISD Reside. My title is Scott Muri, and I’m the superintendent. And it’s a pleasure to welcome every of you this night. We’ve a reasonably thrilling lineup as our predominant matter tonight is “Friday Night Lights.”

annie brown

— it was additionally determined that in the course of the pandemic —

archived recording (scott muri)

And what extra of an necessary matter may there be in West Texas proper now aside from “Friday Night Lights“?

annie brown

— the soccer season would go on. [MUSIC]

From the New York Instances, I’m Annie Brown. That is Odessa. With the town’s Covid positivity fee within the double digits, there have been apparent dangers to resuming a contact sport that pulls crowds within the 1000’s. However for the college district, there wasn’t actually a debate.

scott muri

We’re seeing some information that could be a bit disturbing. The training isn’t occurring in a manner that it ought to.

annie brown

That they had been watching as their distant college students particularly grew more and more remoted and adrift, with college students lacking the same old factors of connection that had stored them tethered to highschool.

scott muri

The motivator is a instructor within the constructing, or it’s the social interplay that they’ve within the constructing, or is the extracurricular that they interact with within the constructing. And for a few of these children which can be in danger, that doesn’t exist.

annie brown

So even earlier than it was clear that Texas would permit highschool soccer to proceed, the district started prepping for a season. And the superintendent was hopeful —

scott muri

We all know, statistically, that college students that take part in extracurriculars, whether or not it’s athletics, or the band, or cheerleading, et cetera, they do higher academically.

annie brown

— that reopening soccer may assist with what was changing into a disaster of motivation within the metropolis’s already struggling colleges.

scott muri

And so something that we may do to positively preserve our youngsters engaged within the studying course of, we’re going to do.

archived recording

[CHEERING]

annie brown

So the query was, may bringing again one thing so important to the town’s identification assist re-engage college students in class?

archived recording

[CHEERING]

annie brown

And would no matter advantages it introduced outweigh the prices? Right now: Partially two, the season begins in Odessa. [MUSIC]

annie brown

I’ve a query for you. How necessary is soccer to you, Joanna?

joanna lopez

It’s not necessary in any respect to me. [LAUGHS] Like, the game, it’s not necessary to me in any respect. I don’t perceive it.

annie brown

The factor about the highschool that Joanna Lopez goes to, the highschool that we selected to observe — Odessa Excessive — is that it’s not the highschool from “Friday Night Lights.” That’s the highschool throughout city. And it seems that Odessa excessive’s soccer group —

joanna lopez

Actually, I’m not going to lie, O.H.S. soccer form of — they’re not nice.

annie brown

— may be very unhealthy.

joanna lopez

We by no means win a soccer recreation.

archived recording

That’s proper. Time for a battle over at Ratlif Stadium. Odessa Excessive on the lookout for its first win of the season.

joanna lopez

So we form of simply go for the leisure. We all know we’re not going to win.

archived recording

Odessa Excessive again to punt, can’t deal with the snap. [WHISTLE] And it will be down on the second quarter. How’s that for a brief area? A penalty — O.H.S. with destructive 78 speeding yards in accordance with the stats.

annie brown

And so the soccer group isn’t significantly uplifting for the scholars at Odessa Excessive.

joanna lopez

They’re operating, however the soccer slips. I’m like, how can that occur? You actually have it in your fingers.

archived recording 1

— beating Odessa 49-0.

archived recording 2

45 to 7.

archived recording 3

62 to 17.

archived recording 4

I used to be so shut.

archived recording 5

I used to be actually pulling for them tonight. Man, Odessa Excessive had a halftime lead. We’ve just a few Odessa Excessive Broncos in our newsroom. They have been so pumped, however man, [INAUDIBLE].

joanna lopez

And it simply makes me mad, so I simply don’t even watch it in any respect.

archived recording 6

Robust loss for Odessa Excessive proper there. [MUSIC]

annie brown

Once you’re there, does it really feel just like the band is form of, like — how does the band evaluate to the soccer group?

joanna lopez

Properly, the soccer group form of doesn’t like us, as a result of we form of steal their consideration. I’ve seen lots of tweets, or one thing like that, like, I simply go for the band, or I simply go for the drum line.

annie brown

What Odessa Excessive does have is a killer marching band, a marching band which will or could not upstage the soccer group.

joanna lopez

As a result of we get extra wins than they do. We’ve lots of trophies, extra trophies than they do. [LAUGHS] I’m bashing my very own college, however it’s OK.

archived recording

[MUSIC] With regards to a profitable band packages within the basin, there’s one title you may’t miss, the Odessa Excessive Broncos. And after final night time’s UIL competitors, they made positive you knew why.

annie brown

Yearly the band spends the season getting ready for the massive regional competitors.

archived recording

The primary band in convention [INAUDIBLE] is the Odessa Excessive College band.

annie brown

And yearly —

archived recording

Odessa Excessive College, division I. [CHEERING]

annie brown

— for the final 81 years —

archived recording

Odessa Excessive College, division I. [CHEERING]

annie brown

— they’ve gotten the very best rating attainable.

archived recording

Odessa Excessive College, division I. [CHEERING]

annie brown

No different band in Texas has that legacy, not even the Permian Panthers. At the highschool with the district’s lowest commencement fee, the very best dropout fee and the poorest performing soccer group, the marching band is one thing everybody may be pleased with.

archived recording

[MUSIC PLAYING]

annie brown

And this yr, it’s the one motive that Joanna is displaying up at Odessa Excessive College. Bear in mind, again within the spring of 2020, Joanna’s dad misplaced his job when the oil trade in Odessa bought slammed by the financial fallout of the pandemic.

joanna lopez

I used to be listening to that persons are dropping their jobs. And so I didn’t suppose it will occur to us, however it did.

annie brown

Joanna had began working at a neighborhood smoothie store to assist pay for her automotive payments and selected to do college remotely, which means she was calling in to lessons from work.

joanna lopez

Yeah, typically I might overlook that I might have college, so I must go to the toilet and attempt to check in and all the pieces fast as attainable, after which rush again outdoors to work.

annie brown

Now, six weeks into the college yr, Joanna is feeling overwhelmed. She determined to give up her job. However like so many distant college students at O.H.S., she’s nonetheless falling behind on assignments at college. And but each morning, Joanna will get up early —

marching band

[PLAYING MUSIC]

speaker

Please have your music out. I do know you’re nonetheless studying.

annie brown

— and drives to Odessa Excessive College in time for an 8:30 AM follow.

speaker

One, two, three, 4. The place are we going? [INAUDIBLE] And it’s Monday morning. The place are we going?

marching band

[INAUDIBLE] [MUSIC]

annie brown

She meets the band on a car parking zone on the Southwest nook of campus —

speaker

Hear and lock in, snares. Received to pay attention.

annie brown

— with soccer yard traces painted over the parking spots.

speaker

4, three, two, one.

annie brown

As a result of whereas Joanna selected to be distant for all the pieces else —

joanna lopez

Yeah, on-line college may be very, very annoying. However I like band a lot.

annie brown

— she couldn’t think about not returning for band. It’s the one constant time she sees her mates.

speaker

You bought to let that soccer group know you’re out right here similar to they’re.

annie brown

And it’s the one time she interacts in a significant manner with a instructor in particular person.

speaker

Have them say to one another, God bless, I’ve missed our band. I don’t suppose they’re saying that proper now.

joanna lopez

Properly, Mr. Olague, he’s the good particular person you’ll ever meet.

jimmy olague

[INAUDIBLE] you’re not petrified of anymore. Good for you, sweetheart.

joanna lopez

He’s actually humorous —

archived recording

Diggity-diggity, bop, growth, cease.

joanna lopez

He jokes round lots.

jimmy olague

Thomas is aware of the place it’s at.

joanna lopez

So he’s form of made an influence on all people, particularly on me.

jimmy olague

One, two, three!

annie brown

Jimmy?

jimmy olague

Hello, how are you?

annie brown

Hey, good, we’re doing good.

jimmy olague

Superior. Sorry about my hair, I want a haircut, women.

annie brown

You form of have a pretend hawk factor occurring.

jimmy olague

[LAUGHS] Yeah, it seems to be higher when it’s lower proper. Yeah.

annie brown

Mr. Olague, or Jimmy, has been instructing on the band for the final 25 years. He runs the a part of the group that’s form of just like the beating coronary heart of any marching band —

jimmy olague

Like, you bought snares going — [SCATTING] And bass drums. [SCATTING] And tenor [SCATTING]

annie brown

— the drum line.

jimmy olague

You recognize, these guys, boy, they put that drum on and so they suppose they’re God’s present to this earth.

annie brown

Not like different lecturers this yr who’re struggling to get to know their college students over Google Hangouts with patchy connections, Jimmy has recognized his drum line for years.

thomas chavez

Thomas Chavez.

jimmy olague

Thomas Chavez.

thomas chavez

And I’m recognized for doing silly stuff.

jimmy olague

This child is my clown.

annie brown

Typically he’s been serving to them prepare for the drum line since center college.

zachary bode

My title is Zachary.

jimmy olague

Zachary Bode is my senior.

zachary bode

I’m recognized for being the one which’s at all times messing round.

jimmy olague

When he speaks, he speaks so darn loud.

speaker

Yeah, I do know, I heard him.

jimmy olague

So we’re at all times going, Zach, why are you yelling, man, why are you yelling. And, oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know [INAUDIBLE]. Zach, any thought the place Braulio’s (sp) at?

annie brown

He is aware of their households and their again tales —

jimmy olague

John Alex may be very gentle spoken, very quiet younger man.

john alex

I’m generally known as the shy man within the band, principally.

annie brown

— their vulnerabilities, and what they should get higher.

jimmy olague

When he performs, he seems to be down lots. So I’m at all times on him to get his head up, to look out on the crowd, and so forth. We have been all excited a few years in the past when he lastly bought a girlfriend. We have been like, oh my gosh, yay, good for you. You recognize, hopefully that’ll open you up, and get you speaking extra, and so forth.

john alex

I’m a person of few phrases.

annie brown

Jimmy sees band as a method to present children what they’re able to, even when the remainder of life is tough.

jimmy olague

I need them to learn to work exhausting and proceed striving and pushing themselves in order that they might have a greater life than what possibly they’ve now.

annie brown

And his college students can really feel it. This yr, whereas half of the scholars at Odessa Excessive College selected to not come again in particular person, and practically a 3rd of the band took the season off, each single member of the drum line determined to return to the band in particular person.

pupil 1

I simply I actually benefit from the household that we’ve made right here.

pupil 2

We spend lots of time collectively, and largely everybody’s your loved ones.

[chatter]
jimmy olague

It’s time to go residence, And man. I’m bored with seeing these children. Put your stuff up, please, and stand.

annie brown

These have been the sorts of connections the district hoped to keep up when it introduced again extracurriculars.

jimmy olague

We met with our college, and our directors have been like, look, can you determine one thing to take action that the youngsters are nonetheless collaborating, and still have a bit one thing to current at a soccer recreation?

annie brown

However the plan they got here up with was a shell of a typical season. There can be no regional competitors to sit up for, No division I trophy to say. All that was left have been the halftime performances on the soccer video games. And as a Covid precaution, it was determined that the band would solely play on the residence video games.

jimmy olague

In order that’s once we knew, OK, our schedule, wow, we solely have 4 residence video games.

annie brown

Why is that well worth the danger? Like, with solely 4 video games to organize for and to play at, why is it value having the marching band in any respect?

jimmy olague

Properly, we nonetheless have a job to do. There’s lots of children right here who actually love this. A few of them actually need this. We knew we needed to preserve them concerned, and we wished to plan one thing to work in the direction of. I imply, a few of these children, that is all they’ve. [MUSIC]

joanna lopez

So I’ve by no means had mates rising up. Ladies have been imply to me in elementary. All people had their very own teams, and I used to be simply form of on my own.

annie brown

When Joanna was 13 or 14, she would journey alongside along with her older brother on that very same early morning drive she now takes to that very same car parking zone on the Southwest nook of campus with the yard traces painted over parking spots.

joanna lopez

My brother was in band, and so I might go to the rehearsals within the mornings, as a result of I didn’t have a journey as a result of my mother and father must go to work. And so he would take me with him. And it will be 7:00 within the morning, and I used to be nonetheless half asleep sitting outdoors and simply watching them, you recognize, goof round and simply have an excellent time. And I assume simply the entire setting was simply — I simply wished to be in that kind of setting the place your mates are principally your loved ones. And that’s what I form of noticed.

annie brown

So when she bought to O.H.S. as a freshman, and she or he was decided to be on the drum line, it didn’t even have that a lot to do with the music.

joanna lopez

I’m undecided if I’m allowed to say this as a result of I don’t know if Olague’s going to listen to this, however I don’t actually know learn how to learn music. [LAUGHS] I form of simply take a look at the music and I’ve an thought. After which as soon as I begin taking part in it, I form of simply get a sense on the way it’s imagined to sound like.

annie brown

Which is possibly why her audition for the bass drum didn’t go as she hoped.

joanna lopez

I keep in mind hitting some notes, however a lot of the notes I form of missed. And in order that’s after I was like, I blew it, so I’m not going to make it. In order that’s after I missed much more notes, and yeah.

jimmy olague

I keep in mind, yeah, she didn’t make it. So she was very involved and dissatisfied. She wished to be on a type of drum positions.

annie brown

However there was one place on the drum line that yr that didn’t require auditioning: the cymbals. And Jimmy inspired Joanna to go for it.

joanna lopez

Properly I wished to cry, as a result of I used to be embarrassed. No, I assumed it was a foul instrument. You recognize, it’s form of embarrassing to be in cymbals.

annie brown

However he nudged her in the direction of serious about it in another way. ^JIMMY OLAGUE^: I left my workplace open. I mentioned, all proper, right here’s my laptop. Scan all these YouTube movies, discover totally different cymbal traces, see what you want, see what you see.

archived recording

[CYMBAL LINES]

jimmy olague

I mentioned, and let’s study these visuals. You recognize, let’s borrow from these teams.

joanna lopez

I by no means thought you may flip them and do all these loopy methods with them.

archived recording

[BAND PLAYING]

jimmy olague

And positive sufficient, they’d a listing of various movies that they noticed that they loved. And they also have been displaying me. I mentioned, OK, so did you perceive what they’re doing? What sort of — I imagine that transfer is named this, let’s look this up.

archived recording

The beginning of this visible may have you provoke motion out of your proper shoulder and elbow simply as should you have been —

annie brown

And over time, Joanna completely embraced it.

joanna lopez

It’s all within the wrists. And so that you form of normally hit your self, so that you pinch your self, and so that you get lots of bruises. Nevertheless it’s value it.

jimmy olague

They grew to become the flash and the colour of the drum line.

joanna lopez

I simply fell in love with cymbals.

annie brown

And she or he discovered her spot on the band.

joanna lopez

My first yr in drum line, when it was our first drum line get-together, I assume I had the group chat on mute as a result of it will get fairly annoying. They’d begin blowing up. And so I bought a non-public message from Mario, and he was simply texting me like, hey, are you coming to the social gathering, we’re all going, and also you’re not answering. So we’re simply all questioning should you’re going. In order that form of made me, you recognize — it felt nice to lastly really feel like individuals truly need me there.

jimmy olague

So the following yr, it was time for auditions, and I mentioned, Joanna, what are you going to check out on. She says, I wish to stick on cymbals, I wish to keep on cymbals. I’m like, OK. In order that, in flip, has turn into — you recognize, that is the third yr now — it’s what they’ve been doing. So guess what, Joanna? You’ve simply made one thing that’s going to turn into custom for us.

joanna lopez

So it taught me lots, not nearly music and band, nearly life. And Olague’s been actually good about that. He’s given me lots of life classes and yeah.

annie brown

What do you suppose he taught you?

joanna lopez

He taught me about self — self-worth. Is that the way you say it?

annie brown

Yeah.

joanna lopez

Yeah. [MUSIC]

annie brown

I’ve thought lots about this model of Joanna that Jimmy described who, after not making her audition, re-imagined a task for herself and carved out a complete new area on the band. Within the conversations I’ve been having along with her this yr, I didn’t actually acknowledge that particular person.

band taking part in
annie brown

Band wasn’t simply the one time Joanna went to highschool. It was one of many solely issues she left the home for, one of many solely issues she bought dressed for, one of many solely issues she appeared ahead to.

band taking part in
annie brown

And it wasn’t clear that these 4 video games would be capable to carry all the load of years previous.

jimmy olague

That first row, guys.

Get your fingers up. I want to listen to the drum.

annie brown

It was the top of September, only a week earlier than their first recreation of the season. They usually had solely been working towards for a few weeks.

band taking part in
speaker

Yeah, that baritone continues to be late for a few of you.

annie brown

However this didn’t sound like an award-winning band.

jimmy olague

I can’t imagine you could’t hear and play in time, buddy. I don’t perceive.

annie brown

The freshmen had no thought what they have been doing, the trumpets have been dragging, the drum line was speeding.

drum line
joanna lopez

I’m very nervous, yeah. I feel we’re all stressing.

drum line
annie brown

Certainly, that complete week main as much as the primary recreation Jimmy appears very burdened.

jimmy olague

You recognize why you missed it? Since you have been out of step. I informed you. I don’t know learn how to let you know how — that it’s worthwhile to get this realized.

I’m yelling at him as a result of I do know that they’re not giving me their all, that they’re not attempting their finest, that they’re simply going by way of the motions. That’s what I’m specializing in. In the event that they carry out nicely, it’s going to make them really feel higher. And once we’re collectively, we solely have a sure period of time to get it there. And once they begin not giving us their finest, that’s after I get actually irritable.

band taking part in
jimmy olague

One word on the finish.

annie brown

However the drum line nonetheless wasn’t prepared. So a particular follow was known as only for the drum line the night time earlier than the primary recreation.

joanna lopez

What’s this music known as? The one we’re taking part in?

speaker

Oh, “Lose My Breath?”

joanna lopez

“Lose My Breath.”

jimmy olague

Who made this music common?

speaker

You?

jimmy olague

No. That is from an precise music. Ever heard of a feminine singer named Beyonce?

OK, she was in a gaggle earlier than she was Beyonce. What was the title of that group?

college students

Future’s Baby.

jimmy olague

Joanna, say it louder.

joanna lopez

Future’s Baby. There you go, Future’s Baby, OK?

annie brown

This can be a follow contained in the band corridor.

There are a bit over 20 college students within the room clustered into their sections, their backpacks lining the entrance wall behind Jimmy. The youngsters are instructed to put on their masks whereas taking part in, however some overlook to. Some pull them off to drink water and overlook to place them again on. Jimmy throws his off briefly at one level in a match of frustration with it.

jimmy olague

I hate these frickin’ masks.

annie brown

However as they begin to follow, the youngsters fall into their rhythm collectively.

band taking part in
annie brown

They giggle, they flirt, they speak incessantly till the very second they’ve to begin taking part in.

band taking part in
jimmy olague

It’s like you could have music in entrance of you, however you’re not studying it. Do you could have it the wrong way up, or what? Did you flip it inside out? You’re not that good.

annie brown

And because the night time goes on —

drum line
annie brown

— they get higher.

drum line
annie brown

Simply yards away from the place these college students are working towards, the lights are off within the classroom of Naomi Fuentes, the school prep instructor we’ve been following, whose first few weeks of faculty have consisted of a small handful of scholars sitting quietly in entrance of her, with others signing in remotely from their bedrooms or their jobs.

What’s occurring right here, that is what she’s been lacking.

drum line
jimmy olague

Right now went so a lot better. We have been in a position to cease and truly clear now. OK, let’s work on this part as a result of it’s not sounding excellent but. So we bought to spend time to scrub sure sections of versus. All proper, go to the following transfer. Go to the following transfer. And it’s gotten lots higher. Thanks to your time. Choose all the pieces up. Don’t depart something right here. Sure, sir. [INAUDIBLE] tomorrow morning.

annie brown

Again at residence that night time after follow, Joanna continues to be buzzing.

annie brown

How do you are feeling about the truth that tomorrow is the primary recreation?

joanna lopez

I’m excited. I’m prepared for it. I don’t need the night time to finish.

annie brown

As excited as she is for the sport, she appears nearly equally enthusiastic about this very explicit factor that’s going to occur on the recreation.

joanna lopez

There’s this one custom that we’ve. We truly cover gummy worms, bitter gummy worms, in our hats.

annie brown

It’s a convention the place the drum line hides bitter gummy worms of their costumes. After which, proper earlier than their huge halftime present, they every put a gummy worm of their mouths, solely they’re not allowed to chew it the entire time they’re taking part in.

joanna lopez

We needed to undergo the entire present with out consuming it. [LAUGHS] And so after the present, it’s all soggy and form of simply in these small items.

annie brown

It’s important to be there, I assume.

joanna lopez

And so I’m very excited for that half. [LAUGHS]

annie brown

These are the form of particulars we heard from so many children once they described what they’d been lacking about college this yr. That they had nearly nothing to do with precise college. One lady bought a brand new haircut and picked out an outfit for the primary day of faculty solely to understand that none of her girlfriends have been there to see her. One senior informed us that what she actually had been wanting ahead to senior yr was going off campus for lunch. And when that was canceled attributable to Covid, she determined simply to remain residence. The issues that preserve children enthusiastic about college, and as soon as they’re there studying, have been so sorely absent this yr. However as a result of the band was nonetheless on, it nonetheless supplied a bit of that.

annie brown

OK, good luck.

joanna lopez

Thanks.

annie brown

We will’t wait to listen to it.

joanna lopez

Bye.

annie brown

The following day, Joanna bought some information.

archived recording

Ratliff Stadium in Odessa will likely be empty tonight. In case you have been headed out for Odessa Excessive’s recreation, we’ve some unhealthy information. The sport in opposition to Lubbock Monterey is canceled, and that’s after a Bronchos soccer participant examined optimistic for Covid-19.

annie brown

Recreation certainly one of 4 canceled attributable to Covid.

joanna lopez

No truly, individuals may name me dramatic. However I form of did tear up, primarily as a result of I thought of — we already don’t have a lot of a marching season, our competitions. I used to be simply considering of how a lot has been taken away from us. After which yet one more factor. I used to be very excited, so —

annie brown

I’m so sorry about that, Joanna.

joanna lopez

Yeah, I used to be unhappy as a result of we truly purchased the gummy worms for later within the recreation. And so we had already purchased all the pieces, so —

annie brown

When Joanna heard the information that the primary soccer recreation had been canceled, and with it, their first efficiency, she was driving residence from an interview for a brand new job at Greatest Purchase.

joanna lopez

Properly, on the smoothie store, I might receives a commission $8.50. And so Greatest Purchase, they begin you off at $15 an hour. So if I get good hours, I might make fairly good paychecks.

annie brown

Her household’s monetary state of affairs had improved. However not by a lot.

joanna lopez

My dad, he was attempting to get his unemployment. However he had lots of bother with it.

annie brown

And when he did settle right into a job, it paid a bit greater than half of what he’d been making within the oil fields. So Joanna hoped that she’d be capable to handle a job at Greatest Purchase higher with college than she had on the smoothie place. Nevertheless it wasn’t that her grades had improved.

joanna lopez

Properly, my grades aren’t wanting good proper now. My mother bought within the mail immediately. And I bought in bother.

However —

annie brown

What do you imply she bought within the mail immediately? What did she get?

joanna lopez

Certainly one of my lecturers despatched out my grades. So he form of informed on me. However that’s OK. [LAUGHS]

annie brown

Joanna informed us that her plan had initially been to go to a four-year school and research psychology. The plan was at all times a little bit of a dream. She wasn’t nice at college. And cash had been tight earlier than. However these issues had by no means been extra true than they have been this yr. And now, she was discovering it troublesome to even think about.

joanna lopez

I really feel like I haven’t realized something in class. And I really feel like it will be exhausting for me to enter one thing that I don’t actually have an thought what’s occurring. And so I form of simply wish to have a straightforward path and research cosmetology. That’s at all times been my plan B. So I really feel like that’s form of turning into my plan A.

annie brown

Over the previous couple of months, we’ve checked in with Joanna’s steering counselor and the school counselor liable for seniors. They usually each agreed that social isolation, monetary stress and a scarcity of motivation have left many seniors struggling to hold on and unsure about their futures. The faculty counselor estimated that solely about half as many college students have utilized to varsity this yr as in earlier years.

joanna lopez

Properly, I assume I form of began wanting on the actuality of how exhausting it’s to get into good schools and the way costly it’s. That’s one other factor. I do know I wouldn’t be capable to pay for my school all on my own. And I would wish assist from my mother and father. And I don’t wish to ask that from them as a result of they’re already struggling sufficient.

annie brown

Final yr, do you suppose that you’d have thought possibly they might assist me?

joanna lopez

Sure, I did suppose that. [LAUGHS]

annie brown

It was at all times asking lots of marching band to make up for therefore most of the stresses of this yr, particularly a marching season whose ambitions had been shrunk down to simply 4 video games and now, three.

After which, simply 4 days after that first recreation was canceled, Jimmy gave us some extra information. One thing had simply occurred at an early morning follow.

annie brown

Hey, we’re all right here.

jimmy olague

Good morning, women.

annie brown

Inform us what occurred.

jimmy olague

Properly, we have been including some totally different choreography to the present simply to spice it up and so forth. And we’re rehearsing proper now. Actually, I’m sitting within the truck them undergo totally different units with music and so forth. And so yeah, I imply we have been in the course of rehearsal. I don’t know if I can hear the band taking part in in entrance of me.

annie brown

No, we are able to’t hear.

jimmy olague

OK.

annie brown

Are you able to maintain up your cellphone?

jimmy olague

Yeah, I’ll roll down the window a bit bit.

annie brown

That they had been in the course of engaged on one thing when a college police automotive drove into their car parking zone follow area.

jimmy olague

So after I flip round, I see that it’s the ECISD police. And she or he shortly grabs my consideration and waves me to her automotive. So I mentioned, sure ma’am. And she or he says, the nurse is attempting to get ahold of you guys. Y’all have to name the nurse. I’m like, OK, so shortly, mentally, you’re like, all proper. I feel I do know what that is about. And then you definately’re like, rattling it.

annie brown

And what he feared was appropriate.

jimmy olague

We had a pupil who examined optimistic for Covid within the band and was in rehearsal final week.

annie brown

At this level, there had been a few dozen optimistic circumstances among the many college students and workers on the college. However so far as Jimmy knew, this was the primary optimistic check on the band, a band of 160 children.

jimmy olague

After which she requested me questions. Do you suppose this particular person has been in shut quarters or shut in spacing? And I mentioned, no. Our drill author wrote six ft or extra for every child so each time we transfer, they’re maintaining a protected distance.

annie brown

Do the youngsters know something about what simply occurred?

jimmy olague

No, they don’t know something.

annie brown

And so what occurs subsequent?

jimmy olague

Now, we launch them. If they will college on campus immediately, then they go to the principle constructing, to the band corridor, put up their stuff, and prepare for his or her second interval class. And in the event that they’re going residence, then they wait for his or her mother and father or whoever’s selecting them as much as take them residence. A few of these children drive on their very own. Now, you’re simply crossing your fingers hoping that it’s simply this one particular person and never a gaggle within the band.

annie brown

So that you don’t know who precisely this band member who has examined optimistic has been involved with, however —

jimmy olague

No.

annie brown

— nonetheless children are going to class? I’m simply questioning with that in thoughts, why not simply inform the entire band, do distant college for the following two weeks?

jimmy olague

For the following two weeks? Yeah, nicely, I imply, that’s the factor. In the event that they do distant college, then they wouldn’t be capable to come to rehearsal as nicely. So I perceive your query.

annie brown

Yeah.

jimmy olague

However the nurse has or will contact these children being uncovered. They’ll go forward and them residence or no matter and do what they have to be doing.

annie brown

Proper. Thanks, Jimmy. Good luck.

jimmy olague

You’re very welcome. Thanks. All proper, women. Y’all have an amazing day.

annie brown

All proper.

jimmy olague

OK.

annie brown

Bye-bye.

jimmy olague

All proper.

annie brown

Bye.

annie brown

We reached out to the nurses who mentioned that they’d adopted their protocol, the protocol that they’d been skilled on. What we didn’t know once we talked to Jimmy was that that coaching consisted of a three-hour on-line course on contact tracing, and that there have been simply two nurses liable for contact tracing for round 4,000 college students and 300 workers at Odessa Excessive College. However following that protocol, on this case, the nurses decided that nobody else on the band had been uncovered. Practices may proceed. And the long run video games have been nonetheless on.

speaker

Welcome, Bronchos! [CHEERING]

annie brown

Which is how, lastly, three weeks later, on a crisp October Friday, the Odessa Excessive Bronchos marching band had their first recreation day.

speaker

[INAUDIBLE] of the yr. Let’s go! [CHEERING]

Now, let’s hear from our Broncho band. Right here we go. [CHEERING]

annie brown

Within the morning, there was a pep rally the place the band performed the combat music to a largely empty viewers.

The visitors of honor, the soccer group, sat on the sphere in chairs spaced six ft aside —

speaker

(SINGING) Oh say, are you able to see —

annie brown

— whereas somebody sang the nationwide anthem.

The showgirls danced their routine, and the soccer coach gave some ultimate notes of pleading encouragement.

speaker

Good morning. We simply ask that you just present up tonight, you be loud, costume heat. Let’s go kick some bulldog butt. [CHEERING]

annie brown

And with that, the pep rally was over, and the scholars went about their regular Covid college day. Because the afternoon rolled round, band members signed out of their Google Lecture rooms, placed on their uniforms, and piled into buses to drive to Ratliff Stadium for the sport. This was the identical stadium Friday Night Lights was filmed in, the place that night time, the Odessa Excessive Bronchos would play the Midland Bulldogs.

The sport had began by the point the band arrived. They usually made their manner into the stadium and took their spot within the stands on the 20-yard line.

They set themselves as much as play songs to cheer on the soccer group as they performed.

Everybody was excited when Odessa Excessive made the primary landing of the night time —

announcer

Bronchos 6, Bulldogs 0.

annie brown

A 20-yard run into the top zone by the quarterback.

announcer

[INAUDIBLE] finish zone for the Bulldogs landing.

annie brown

However the Bulldogs caught up shortly. And by the top of the primary half —

speaker

Properly, we’re dropping. [LAUGHS]

annie brown

It wasn’t wanting good.

announcer

Bulldogs, 14. Bronchos, six.

annie brown

After which it was time for what the band had been getting ready for — their very first marching efficiency at halftime.

speaker

Go the gummy worms, bro.

annie brown

However first, as custom known as for —

speaker

Don’t chew it. Don’t chew it. Simply [INAUDIBLE]. Hold it in your mouth the complete recreation.

annie brown

They every bought a gummy worm to carry of their mouth —

speaker

There’s actually no objective, however I don’t know. It’s enjoyable. [LAUGHS]

annie brown

— then took to the sphere.

announcer

Women and gents. the Ector County Unbiased College District and Odessa Excessive College are proud to current the award-winning Odessa Excessive College Broncho Marching Band.

annie brown

Jimmy is on the 45-yard line, going through the band, watching as they get into place.

jimmy olague

They begin shifting their first motion. And we have been like, OK, all people keep in mind to maneuver. No person stood nonetheless, so thank God. To date so good.

The drum line begins sounding good. OK, they’re collectively. And the band’s sounding actually good. They’re taking part in good and loud. After which the soloists begin developing and begin taking part in. They usually’re getting an excellent crowd response after every soloist. So I’m like, OK. They’re doing it. They’re doing what we’ve been engaged on.

Seeing the drum line transfer to their formations after which line up in the course of the sphere. And I’m like, OK, they’re about to maneuver up ahead, which implies right here comes the drum break. In order that’s after I get excited as a result of that’s my child proper there.

So the snare drums do their little factor and play. After which the bass drums do their factor and play. And whereas that’s occurring, the cymbals are again there doing twirls and visuals and so forth.

Once you’re down there in entrance of it, proper there within the center, and it’s simply hitting your face, you’re like, oh that is — life is sweet proper now on Friday night time in Odessa, Texas.

was lots of good issues, man. I’m pleased with you. Good job. It’s nice to play for individuals [INAUDIBLE]

annie brown

As they left the sphere and headed again to their seats, Jimmy was there to fulfill them.

jimmy olague

They usually did nice, did nice. For the primary one, it’s actually neat. That they had an amazing response, man. That’s what we’ve been ready for, for them. In order that they really feel good.

annie brown

From there, the remainder of the sport went as they typically do.

announcer

And cease. They only scored. Control the [INAUDIBLE]

annie brown

The opposite group scored time and again.

speaker

It seems to be like we’re going to lose this one.

annie brown

The Bronchos misplaced.

speaker

It’s the spirit that counts. That’s all that issues.

announcer

[INAUDIBLE] tonight’s recreation. On behalf the town of Odessa —

annie brown

And for one transient second, life at Odessa Excessive College felt regular.

Subsequent time on Odessa, behind that sense of normalcy, the college nurses who’ve been liable for contact tracing are feeling very overwhelmed and discover themselves going through the biggest quarantine of the semester, which simply occurred to be on the band.

Odessa was produced and reported by Sindhu Gnanasambandan, Soraya Shockley and me, Annie Brown with assist from Mitch Borden and Diana Nguyen. Edited by Liz O. Bayliin and Lisa Tobin. Engineering by Brad Fisher. Reality-checking by Ben Phelan. Unique composition by Dan Powell and Marion Lozano. Particular because of Larissa Anderson, Alix Spiegel, Cliff Levy, Dana Goldstein, Kate Taylor, Clifford Krauss, Apoorva Mandavilli, Ken Belson, Laura Kim, Nora Keller and Lauren Jackson.

michael barbaro

Right here’s what else you want know immediately.

archived recording (president joe biden)

Good night, my fellow Individuals. Tonight, I’d like to speak to you about the place we’re as we mark one yr since all the pieces stopped due to this pandemic.

michael barbaro

Throughout a televised tackle to the nation, President Joe Biden directed governors to make all adults eligible to obtain the coronavirus vaccine by Might 1.

archived recording (president joe biden)

Let me be clear. That doesn’t imply everybody goes to have that shot instantly. Nevertheless it means you’ll be capable to get in line starting Might 1. Each grownup will likely be eligible to get their shot.

michael barbaro

Within the speech, delivered shortly after Biden signed the Stimulus Invoice into legislation, the president mentioned that life in america may return to a type of normalcy by the 4th of July.

archived recording (president joe biden)

After this lengthy, exhausting yr, that may make this Independence Day one thing really particular, the place we not solely mark our independence as a nation however we start to our independence from this virus.

michael barbaro

That’s it for The Each day. I’m Michael Barbaro. See you on Monday.

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