Letter to the Editor


I was at the Mineola/West Rusk game on Friday night and was blown away with the behavior of the Mineola fans during the West Rusk HS marching band halftime performance.  

I have been to a lot of football games…I mean a lot. My dad was a high school band director in Texas for 30 years.  My entire childhood in the fall was spent traveling to wherever the next Friday Night Lights adventure took us. I’m currently in my 18th year of being a band director and it’s safe to say that I’ve spent almost every Friday night during football season, throughout my career,  watching high school bands perform during halftime.  

Never have I seen the majority of people at a football game treat a visiting band the way I saw the Mineola community react at the end of the West Rusk Raider Band performance. I saw Mineola fans applauding and standing for the visiting band. I saw a community of people react appropriately to the time and effort that the West Rusk students had put into their performance. I saw genuine appreciation for a show that had just finished on the field. I was in awe.

Here are the Mineola fans, a community waiting patiently to see “The Sound of the Swarm” – the only band program in the state to be both the reigning UIL State Marching Champion and State Honor Band – perform and yet they take the time to cheer on the visiting band  I’ve seen home crowds sit on their hands and “Boooo!” the visiting band performance and then give standing ovations to their own band – shame on them. Not in Mineola – not against West Rusk. The Raider Band performed a precision military drill in a style that could not be more different than the Mineola HS band style and yet those students in the West Ruck band knew they were appreciated and that the fans enjoyed their performance. 

We need more of this in our society. We need to be the kind of communities that  rally around the hard work that all the football players, band members and cheerleaders are doing regardless of which sideline they are standing on. The lessons that our students can learn from seeing our family, friends and fans enjoy the competition while respecting and applauding everyone are lifelong lessons that can shape our communities for generations to come.

Kudos to you, Mineola. I’m a fan of you.   

Jeremy M. Strickland
Director of Bands
Tyler Junior College