By Amanda Herrera
Being from El Centro and going to Yuma every day for school, I slowly found out more and more about what this town is known for by peers, advertisements and self-observation. I've come to realize that the most talked about restaurant is Mr. G's, and the most complained about people are the snowbirds.
Knowing Yuma better than I expected made me curious about my own home town. So I asked my co-workers, friends and family what they thought El Centro was known for.
Of course I wasn't surprised hear that everyone thought El Centro was known for the biggest football game of the year, most traditional event in the Imperial Valley, the Bell Game (football game between Central Union High School and Brawley Union High School). But what did surprise me was that many of these people said they look forward to the Great Spartan Band's Halftime performance at the Bell Game more than anything.
Being an alumna of not only Central Union High School (Central) but also the Great Spartan Band made me very proud. I was convinced to pay a visit to my old band teacher and meet this years' drum line.
Walking into the newly remodeled band room brought back memories, nostalgia and pride. Seeing this year's drum line only made me want to go back on my bass drum and show them how it was back in my years.
Me: As an alumna, I know how it feels to be in your shoes. Do you think being in the drum line is for everyone?
Alexsandra Herrera (bass drum): No, it's so hard. Summer band is terrible, but it's worth it.
Me: I know why it's terrible. But why is it worth it?
Reyes Ortiz (quad player): I was afraid to even look at you my sophomore year! I was afraid to even move!
Luis Venegas (snare drum): Through summer band I learned things were strict. I learned a lot. All the conditioning and the discipline teaches you respect. Sometimes I felt like I went just to condition and I hated it, but now I know why.
Me: Do you think that the cliche"band geeks" is true?
Briana Gastelum (bass drum): Yeah, but like cool geeks.
Georgie Castro: We're totally band geeks. In class we will sing cadences to each other and just talk about band! But we rock it.
Briana Gastelum: Yeah, we're band geeks, and it's true. But the looks are exaggerated in movies. We own it.
David Barajas: Central revolves around the band. Everyone just loves us.
Me: Do you guys really do think you are the best band in the valley?
Juan Garcia (bass drum): Yes, I think we are, but we can do better. We don't all give it our 100 percent effort.
Me: Was band what you all expected?
Gus (snare drum): I came in with a grumpy attitude. I didn't want to be here. As the shows progressed I warmed up, and now and we are family. There's a lot of youth this year. And it's not just about the drum line, but about helping others lend a helping hand.
Brianna Gastelum: I came here not knowing what to expect. I thought maybe the same as Junior High. (Everyone laughs).
Christmas (cymbals): Before playing cymbals, I played the flute and I liked it, but it wasn't for me. I wanted to be in the drum line. So I tried out and made it. It's so much better. I love it! Too much drama with the flutes, and here we might get on each other's nerves but were family.
Me: When I was in the drum line in high school, I know the other drum lines and bands in the valley were jealous. Why do you think that?
Albert (bass drum): I don't know. We don't do anything. We try to be as friendly as possible, but they just talk trash about us.
Me: You guys are the best in the Valley. Don't compare yourselves to any other high school bands but yourself. You guys are a family, and as a family you owe it to yourselves to give it all you've got, 100 percent all the time.