"As we reached the top of the ridge, we came in sight of our goal for the first time and paused in silent astonishment. A gasp arose from every throat at the spectacle of awesome majesty that was spread before our unbelieving gaze. Our Sherpas huddled together, speaking in low tones and casting frightened glances at the mighty scene... for a moment we feared they would abandon us and our mad quest. How had we the audacity to think we could challenge this great force which had thrown back so many would-be conquerors before us?
But on the heels of that moment of awed silence, came a fire of renewed determination burning in every heart... for conquer it we would, or die trying."
Who Are The Show Assistants? (And what are they doing?)
The Show Assistants, or SAs, are one of the most elite commando units in the modern world. Specializing in counter-terrorism operations and armed with the most up-to-date military technology, they are always on alert, ready at a moment's notice to strike, with surgical precision, anywhere in— wait, that's the SAS, not the SAs
Oh rats, my notes are all messed up. Give me a minute.
Okay, ready now.
The Show Assistants are an elite division of the Rice University Marching Owl Band. They are the secret weapon in the MOB's arsenal and a key element of the MOB's distinctive style. And we may be glad that they are, because due to a chain of circumstances far too elaborate to go into here, if there were no Show Assistants the MOB today would be a small accounting firm in Dayton, OH. Also, we're pretty sure the state of Florida would be a territory of Brazil, although this conclusion is only certain if we got the math right.
The Show Assistants are the people who, in MOB halftime shows, build props, wear costumes, and run around on the field like chickens with their heads cut off.
Being a Show Assistant is the most fun you can have while dressed as a bunch of grapes, but it is no easy job. To be ready for any halftime emergency, Show Assistants must maintain a rigorous training regime.
But a Show Assistant's life isn't all about the next halftime show.
Outside of the bandhall and the stadium, Show Assistants can be found at the forefront of the latest research, in areas as diverse as:
So these, then, are the Show Assistants, the daring and resourceful group that dares to ask, "Would this be better if we launched rubber chickens the length of the field?"
The Goodnight's History of the Show Assistants
The origins of the Show Assistants reach far back into prehistory when, during the last Ice Age, early musicians gathered themselves into primitive hunter-gatherer bands and marched across the Bering land bridge in a migration known as "the long halftime."
While these first bands were a great improvement over what came before (i.e., nothing) they still suffered many disadvantages, such as the fact that their instruments were carved out of flint and driftwood, and that no one had actually invented music yet.
Even so, they were worth having around because their instruments made great tools for clubbing dangerous predators over the head. But there was no denying that their halftime shows were terribly dull, and no one quite knew why.
Then one day, an especially brilliant cave-musician said, "Hey, I've got an idea! Instead of hitting saber-tooth tigers with our granite sousaphones, let's use duct tape to attach Christmas trees to ourselves!"
And everyone else in the tribe said, "Uh, what?"
Thus the first Show Assistant was born.
As civilization rose, the Show Assistants were there.
In the classical period of ancient Greece, Show Assistants made astounding new advances in architecture, while Show Assistant philosophers pushed the boundaries of pure mathematics.
During the Medieval period, SA knights roamed the lands battling fire-breathing armadillos.
And in dark dungeons, Show Assistant alchemists constantly sought the mysterious secret of transmuting base adhesives into Duct Tape.
In the excitement and turmoil of the Renaissance, the Show Assistants flourished as never before.
SA advances in the use of discarded choir robes allowed people, for the first time, to dress all Renaissance-y. Their pioneering work on PVC pipes and butcher paper ushered in a new era of shipbuilding, contributing to the great Age of Exploration that culminated when the Show Assistants constructed Christopher Columbus' famed fleet, the Ninja, the Pinto, and the less successful Yugo.
It would be in the New World where Show Assistants would finally reach their ultimate pinnacle of development.
Once in the Americas, the Show Assistants remained at the forefront of the Colonial and Pioneer eras.
Their fundamental invention, the Box on Wheels, made possible everything from the Conestoga wagon to the automobile to the space shuttle.
The famous and ill-fated Titanic was made from no fewer than three boxes on wheels, illustrating the versatility of this profound Show Assistant invention.
Meanwhile the Show Assistants themselves moved westward and southward across the continent. Destiny awaited on a small, tree-lined campus in the middle of a swampy city on the Texas Gulf Coast, where the pioneering SAs encountered an equally innovative group of musicians, descendants of the great migratory bands of ages past, where it had all begun.
Together, they were the Marching Owl Band, and as the MOB they brought halftime to its ultimate expression. Today, Show Assistants and musicians are united as one, without dissension or division—