Last weekend found us traveling further south to Orlando where my niece Lauren was scheduled to perform with the Boston Crusaders, a nationally competitive Drum and Bugle Corp. We met up with my brother David, and his oldest daughter Catie at a beautiful resort on International Drive, and after a quick visit to the train museum that was just down the road, we headed over to the field where practice for the evening performance was taking place. We watched as the members ran through their last minute drills, and then had some dinner and a short visit with Lauren and Arlene, my sister-in-law who is traveling with the corp as chaperon & team crew this summer also. Our group then made it's way over to a park in the historic area of downtown Orlando to kill some time before the evening performance at the Citrus Bowl.
We arrived at the Citrus Bowl with plenty of time to spare before the evening event, found our seats and waited for the teams to start. My niece Catie had traveled with the Crusaders the previous two years, and was our official "event coordinator" filling us in on all the rules and what we should expect to see. This was all new to us, but let me tell you, this is BIG on the east coast, and the south especially. The first team took to the field, and then.........................the rain started. This was not ordinary Florida rain, you know, the kind that comes rolling in every afternoon about three and last for a half an hour or so.....this was FLORIDA rain. The kind that starts like gang busters, and just does not quit. When the lightening and thunder started to take on the same rhythm of the drum corp that had preceded it, they asked us to leave the stands. My brother had smartly purchased rain ponchos for us on the way into the stadium, and while they were handy, they certainly were not going to make us "lightening proof" also. We carefully made our way down the now wet rusty stairs. Yes, RUSTY, the Citrus Bowl is an old stadium, built in the 40's we found out while waiting in the tunnel. Amazing how you can make fast friends with people when you are standing in the tunnel of the stadium waiting for the rain to end. David, Catie, Travis and Cash had made their way down the stairs ahead of Sara and I, so she ventured off to find them, and I tucked under an eave to wait out the rain. And wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. In the mean time I listened in on conversations that predicted "the event won't go on, to much rain on the field", "the judges are back in the bus, they have left the building" (this one had me laughing inside, the reference to - Elvis has left the building", to "they will perform "standstill". This is what eventually did happen. The rain ended, or at least abated down to a light drizzle, the announcer came on and said that the judges, who we watched inspect the field, had decided that the teams could perform "standstill", which meant that we would hear the bands, but that no one would be moving, marching or otherwise performing. What this amounted for to us was a huge disappointment as it meant that we would not see Lauren performing after all. We made our way back up the rusty stairs, found some seats that were actually under a nice covering, hoping that the people that actually had reserved those seats had gone home, to watch the bands perform. And then the rain came again.......................we sat this one out though, no lightening with this round, and the covering was sufficient if not scary, as the we watched a waterfall of rain fall through the rust areas just 6 feet to our left.
What we did have: an Adventure! Cash was a trooper, sitting wrapped up in his little poncho, watching the event take place down on the field. We stayed until the Boston Crusaders played, and then ventured back down the stairs to head for the hotel. Another adventure in itself as we traveled down International Avenue at close to midnight, and it seemed like S. Virginia Street on cruise night during Hot August Nights!!! It was crowded, bumper to bumper traffic for miles, the sidewalks filled with tourists out in the cool of the evening to experience all that the "City that Disney built" has to offer.
I am attaching the link for the Boston Crusaders, so that you can see this amazing team. While it wasn't the evening we had planned on, it was a great time none the less. Anytime I am surrounded by family it is wonderful evening. We spent the hours late into the night visiting and talking, stretched out in the connecting hotel rooms waiting for a late night pizza delivery. The next morning it was out to the pool for the kids, and David and I had some more time together to just sit and talk before he headed back to Miami.
Oh, and when I mentioned to Robert on the phone where we had been the night before, he reminded me "you have been to that stadium before, don't you remember". Yep, the fall of 1981, we had won the lottery (which is how they used to sell big event tickets ) and we went to see, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Van Halen, the real Van Halen, not Van Hager, and THE ROLLING STONES! and that time, it hadn't rained. Till later, Susan