Discover more from Based in Lafayette, Indiana
The rest of the story: ‘Hey, man, I’m just here to play music’
Meet Ian Ostermann, Purdue band member who provided the iconic line of the Music City Bowl. Plus, Democrats line up Campbell’s replacement. Bill watch at Statehouse.
Ian Ostermann caught wind around the third quarter of Purdue’s win Thursday over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl that something was up.
Someone from Tennessee’s Pride of the Southland Marching Band stopped by to say hello to a friend in Purdue’s All-American Marching Band and asked Ostermann if he’d seen the video.
“She mentioned, ‘Are you OK?’” Ostermann said. “‘That guy posted the video. You’re going viral.’”
Ostermann, of course, knew what she was talking about.
Early in the first quarter, with Purdue down 14-0 and looking shaky, a Tennessee fan propped a cellphone camera in the fifth-year band member’s face. Ostermann at first thought the guy was a bit rowdy and just wanted to take a selfie with the band. Until the f-bombs and taunts started rolling. He proceeded to berate him and the Boilermakers – how the Volunteers “were going to beat the (f-ing) brakes off y’all.”
Ostermann had been positioned on the end of a row of fellow mellophone players in Purdue’s band. He said he remembered saying something, trying to defuse the situation. Exactly what, he said he wasn’t sure. No one in the Purdue band was supposed to carry a phone during the game; no one could check their social media feeds. So, he said he got back into the game.
It wasn’t until Purdue won the bowl game, 48-45, on a walk-off, overtime field goal and he was back at the band’s bus outside Nissan Stadium, turning in uniforms and instruments before heading home, that he heard his own voice. Over and over, in 13-second intervals.
And he finally realized what he’d said in the midst of the first-quarter hazing.
“Hey, man, I’m just here to play music.”
It was a calm, poised and instant Purdue classic.
“It was really weird, almost out of a movie, hearing my voice coming from everywhere,” Ostermann said. “I was really kind of relieved. I was pretty uncomfortable at the time, and it just came out. I’m glad that the right thing came out. I had a lot of people telling me, ‘If I was in that situation, I would have said ...’”
By Friday, his response – deleted by the Vols fan but not before the video clip was picked up, preserved and shared widely as a bit of instant karma after Purdue’s wild win – was on T-shirts to raise money for band scholarships. Friends were asking him where they could send theirs to get his autograph. And comments filled Instagram, Twitter and the rest of social media.
(Though, by Sunday, the original video started to disappear, as accounts made their feeds private.)
“It’s really too much,” he said.
Ostermann initially didn’t intend to be with the All-American Marching Band this season, having spent four years playing as an undergrad and getting his turn to bang Purdue’s “World’s Largest Drum,” a perk reserved for fourth-year seniors. But his senior season wasn’t much of a season, at all. Purdue’s home games were limited to hundreds, rather than tens of thousands, of fans due to pandemic protocols. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in spring 2021. When he returned for a master’s, he figured, “Why not?,” on a fifth year in the band, too. It paid off with an 8-4 season by the Boilers, big crowds at Ross-Ade Stadium, a trip to Nashville for a bowl game and another chance to hit the big drum, this time at the 50-yard line on a real game day. The Music City Bowl was going to be his swan song with the band.
And there’s that viral moment.
Ostermann said that when he heard what he’d said, he had a pang that it came off flip about the football team.
“‘I’m just here to play music’ makes it sound like that’s all we cared about,” Ostermann said. “Everybody in the band, we’re the biggest fans of the football team.”
He said the guy in the video reached out to him privately on Instagram to apologize. Ostermann said that as strange as it was to see his own face everywhere, he was concerned about what the Vols fan was going through, as people across the Big Ten and SEC heaped abuse on him.
And he’s relieved that what popped out of his mouth, unplanned and unrehearsed – “Hey, man, I’m just here to play music” – turned out to be the right thing in the moment.
“I guess I’m just kind of glad that it ended up being such a positive PR thing for the band and the university,” Ostermann said. “I didn’t wind up embarrassing myself or anyone else. T-shirt proceeds are going for scholarships. It feels like, after five years, I stumbled my way into some real good coming from a pretty weird and scary experience.”
NEXT UP FOR LAFAYETTE CITY COUNCIL
Eileen Hession Weiss, Lafayette’s former city clerk, was the lone person to file to replace Ron Campbell on the Lafayette City Council, Jacque Chosnek, Tippecanoe County Democratic Party chair, said this weekend. Democratic precinct committee members in the Lafayette City Council’s District 2 are scheduled for a caucus Tuesday evening to make the selection formal.
Campbell, a Democrat, stepped down from the seat in December, after serving a record 50 years on the city council. He had two years left on this term.
Hession Weiss served three terms as city clerk in the 1980s and early-‘90s with Democratic Mayor Jim Riehle. She was the Democratic candidate for mayor in 1999, losing to then-Mayor Dave Heath.
HEADING INTO THE START OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION
The Indiana General Assembly is scheduled to start its 2022 session Tuesday, the initial burst dedicated to a debate over vaccine mandates that senators and representatives couldn’t get lined up in a special, one-day session last month.
Locally, keep an eye on bills aimed at township matters. Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, signaled over the summer that he was lining up a bill that could allow recalls of what he called “rogue” trustees, after a year of feuds in Wabash Township and Fairfield Township. Rep. Chris Campbell, D-West Lafayette, said to expect a bill filed in the first week of the session aimed at giving township boards more control over finances, so trustees can’t ignore budgets.
There will be more on those here, for sure.
Here are a few things, both oddities and real contenders, to watch as the session starts.
Senate Bill 75, cold beer sales: Here’s one last shot for state Sen. Phil Boots to legalize cold beer sales at Indiana grocery stores and convenience stores. Boots, a Crawfordsville Republican, plans to retire at the end of 2022 after four terms in the state Senate. (And any reconsidering would require a move; Republicans drew his home out of his Indiana Senate District 23 during the redistricting process last fall.) Boots’ work outside the legislature includes running Boots Brothers Oil Co. since 1975, operating gasoline and convenience stores in a business started by his father and uncle. A bio of Boots I contributed to The Indiana Citizen in 2021 included the following passage that seemed ready to go for another year on this campaign:
“As Hoosier traditions go, there are few as steady as state Sen. Phil Boots’ effort to once and for all eliminate restrictions on cold beer sales. In 2018, Indiana retailers won the right to sell beer, wine and liquor on Sundays. That came after years of debate and failed efforts of those looking to buy cases of beer or bottles of liquor on Sunday afternoons. It also came after big-box retailers who wanted Sunday sales and liquor store owners who fought against them agreed to support a Sunday sales bill – as long as it didn’t include an expansion of retail cold beer sales beyond package liquor stores and some restaurants and bars. Convenience store owners barked about it. But the General Assembly didn’t budge on cold beer. Boots has filed several bills trying to rectify that. All have failed, including one that didn’t get a hearing in 2021.”
Like I said, one shot for Sen. Boots in 2022.
Senate Bill 81, cursive writing: If DraftKings or Caesar’s get around to taking prop bets on the Indiana General Assembly, you know I’ll always have the cursive writing requirement in any parlay I play. There’s no better sure bet. This year, included. Sen. Jean Leising is keeping her streak alive in 2022, filing a bill for the 11th consecutive year that would require Indiana elementary schools to teach cursive writing. Indiana law now says a school corporation “may include cursive writing” in the curriculum. The Republican from Oldenburg is nothing if not persistent. And hats off to Libby Cierzniak on this one …
Senate Bill 124, turn signals: Sen. Aaron Freeman, an Indianapolis Republican, is behind a bill that would get rid of driving penalties for failing to signal a lane change or a turn. In a statement to WRTV in Indianapolis, Freeman said Indiana Code includes two requirements for turn signal use. One essentially says a turn signal should be used for “reasonable safety” when changing lanes or turning. The other requires a distance of “not less than the last 200 feet traveled before turning or changing lanes” or 300 feet if in a speed zone of 50 mph or more. Freeman told the TV station that if the first definition was enough, it might be easier to eliminate the one with specific distances, so there aren’t two definitions of what’s reasonable on the road.
Assorted bills, school curriculum and teaching about race in American history: No surprise, given the debates in front of school boards across the country, but the General Assembly has several bills – including House Bill 1040 and Senate Bill 167 – that wade into potential restrictions on what Indiana schools can teach about race, white privilege, racism and socialism, as well as who can opt out of mask requirements. (The bills are sprawling, for sure.) The Indianapolis Star’s Arika Herron had an early overview late last week that outlines what’s coming. Here’s a link to that.
House Bill 1042 and Senate Bill 144, school board politics: School board elections have been nonpartisan campaigns in Indiana, meaning they don’t run as Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians or affiliated with any political party. In Rep. Jeff Thompson’s House bill, candidates would have to list their primary voting history for the two most recent primaries, unless they didn’t vote in those primaries – in which case, “that fact must also be stated.” In a Senate version – with sponsors including Sen. Brian Buchanan, who represents parts of Lafayette and Tippecanoe County – school board candidates could request running a major political party affiliation on the general election ballot. The Senate bill also would require all members of a school board to be elected, “eliminating the appointment of members of the governing body.” (The bill does not include a similar stipulation for other governing bodies, including the legislature. In those cases, elected precinct committee members choose replacements – which is how Buchanan first came to the Senate, caucused by Republicans in District 7 when Brandt Hershman retired. School boards do it differently, choosing replacements when members step down.)
FOR MORE: And there are a ton more … check the filings and track bills at in.gov/legislative.
Thanks for signing up and making the fledgling season of the Based in Lafayette reporting project work. Not a subscriber, but thinking about it? The New Year is a good excuse to jump aboard. I’ll do my best to make it worthwhile.