Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Scottish Pipe Band Championship 2014

Saturday was a somewhat mixed day. The morning was gloriously sunny, but in the afternoon it started raining hard; so hard, in fact, that the march-past was cancelled, meaning we all got to leave that bit earlier than expected.

My day started at 6am, with me dragging myself out of bed and off to the shower. The return to work has been pretty brutal, and last week was thus a particularly tough one. I could really have done with a chance to rest. Oh well.

The journey to the competition was reasonably pleasant and was quite quick. Indeed, we had made sure to leave lots of extra time in case of Commonwealth Games traffic, only to find that there wasn't any noticable increase. Thus, we got there with some hours to spare.

The preparation for the competition actually went reasonably well. We took to the field, played out selection, and came off. All seemed good; indeed, it was our best performance of the season, and by a long long way.

There then followed several hours of waiting, which wasn't good but which was improved by having a good book to read. Eventually we got the result.

And we came last. Out of fourteen bands playing, we came fourteenth from both piping judges, fourteenth for ensemble, and eleventh in drumming. Which was a massive kick in the teeth - we'd genuinely thought we were in with a chance of sneaking away with a prize, and certainly didn't think we were that far off the running, so to come last...

The journey home was a rather subdued thing, during which I almost fell asleep a couple of times. I finally got home just before 8pm, which was a good bit earlier than expected. And then I went to bed.

So that's it. There's one final major championship of the season, the World Championships in Glasgow in three weeks time. However, due to the number of bands involved we will need to qualify for the final, and there's little chance of that, never mind of winning a prize. Which means we'll be ending the season without a single championship point to our name. And after several years of that, we're likely to be demoted back down to Grade 4B - which might not be a bad thing from a player satisfaction point of view (better to win in a lower grade than be thrashed in the higher), it took a lot of effort to get moved up, and the thought of facing that again isn't fun.

But I really don't understand what happened. It would be disappointing to have come last due to a bad performance, but at least that would make sense. But I was sure that wasn't the case here. As I said, it was our best of the season by miles, so to still come last... That practically requires everyone else to have been brilliant.

It's just frustrating.

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