High school sports and marching bands are starting back up this week across North Alabama, and they're dealing with the hottest weather we've seen all summer.
Huntsville High School's marching band is making sure they're keeping its members safe during their camp this week.
Huntsville High School's marching band camp in heat
The school's marching band substitutes their instruments for water bottles when they're working on their formations in the mornings. A first-time drum major, Jillian Boles, said it's one of the many ways they've been keeping the band members safe when they're out in the hot weather.
"We’ve been really safe with the heat," said Boles. "We’ve all got at least half-gallon water bottles, I’ve got my sunglasses, we’re wearing our outdoor appropriate clothing, so it’s hot but we’re pushing through.”
Huntsville High School's marching band practices without instruments in the mornings. Then, they head inside to practice playing the instruments in the afternoon.
Boles said it's a great time to cool off before they go back outside to put all the pieces together.
“It’s really nice to get that little bit to regroup, we’re inside, and then we’re ready to go back outside at 6," she said.
Band members are also required to carry around a half-gallon water bottle when they're practicing out in the heat.
“If they have a water bottle in their hands at all times, they’re going to be drinking it, and we continue to press that," said the school's Band Director Stuart Tankesley. "Drink, drink, drink as much as you can."
Tankesley said their safety precautions are working, as well as their efforts in educating the band members.
“We talk a lot about how what you eat the night before, what you drink the night before, is going to affect your performance the next day, and even beyond that. We talk about heat-related illnesses, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and those symptoms. Our kids are very well-versed and understand those things and it leads us to success.”
Both Boles and Zacc Lindon said there's no doubt that it's hot practicing outside, but the work is worth it in the end, especially when they're having fun.
“If you come out here with the mindset that you’re going to have fun, you’re playing your instrument, you’re with your friends, you’re doing what you love, you’re going to have a great time no matter what, no matter the conditions, it’s heat outside or it’s storming or anything like that," said Lindon, a drum major for the band.
The school has first aid tents around campus in case anyone suffers a heat-related illness.