For members of the Jaguars Marching Band, the pride of Falls Church High School, things could not have gone worse.
First it rained on their parade, depriving them of the chance to march in Washington in celebration of the Redskins' Super Bowl victory.
Then, as the 140 students stood in the Feb. 2 downpour, waiting for the signal to march down Constitution Avenue -- a signal they never got -- the rain destroyed their uniforms.
The yellow plumes atop their hats were the first to go, wilting in the pouring rain. Some of the young musicans tried to stash the plumes in their pockets, only to discover that yellow dye was leaking onto their green coats.
Later the band discovered that the all-wool uniforms, especially the sleeves, had shrunk.
"The whole uniforms are just ruined," said Anne Coldiron, who instructs the band's rifle and flag team. "They look just horrible."
"We were real excited about the parade and the kids worked real hard to learn their stuff. If it had not been for the three-hour monsoon and if the police had been able to control the crowd, it would have been a really great thing," said Coldiron. "But we were soaked to the bone, soaked from head to toe. Kids were sick. We all felt sore, tired, cold and miserable, sick and achy. It's a real shame."
The school is casting about for $30,000 for new uniforms. Fairfax County Supervisor Thomas M. Davis, whose district includes the school, says county authorities are looking for money to lend the band. "It's a little unclear where this could come from," he said yesterday. "We've never done this before."
Davis said if it turns out that no public funds are available, he and Supervisor James M. Scott will probably organize some sort of fundraising event.
"They're really known for their marching band. This is really important to them," said Davis. "I'm just trying to drum up a little support."