The Giant Purple Cyclops

I met Tim Froman when I was a freshman in high school. He was a behemoth who always wore a smile on his face, a camera over his shoulder and a purple jacket embroidered with the name of our high school marching band. Tim was marching drill before I popped out of the womb, so we never shared the field in the temporal sense of things, but we were both Marching Giants, both part of a Tradition of Excellence that our directors instilled in us. I don't know how it is with other marching bands, but if you were part of the Ben Davis High School program, you came in a musician, but you were sculpted, driven and pushed to bleed purple. The band was expected to be everything to you. For me it was. I loved it dearly and gladly put my body through hell. (I'm still paying for that shit.) It was the same way for Tim.

Tim was a lifer. He graduated long before I ever stepped foot on the field. But he stuck around. He loved it that much. Being a Marching Giant was in his veins, heart and mind. He sometimes helped teach marching basics, but mostly Tim was the videographer and unofficial historian of the band program. He filmed some rehearsals, every football game and every contest we marched providing valuable footage that helped the band get better. He traveled out of state with the band filming parades. He worked websites. He helped load and unload trucks. Tim was a constant presence during my time at BD and remains a fixture even if now it will be in memory.

Tim died of a heart attack Saturday, February 10, 2013.

It's odd. I didn't know Tim very well. He was that guy behind the camera that my dad was friends with. That I talked to sometimes. That I was friends with on Facebook. He got me, though. He would send me fun drumline videos or post Thor/Loki memes on my page. The last thing he posted to me was two weeks ago. That pic over there. Tim, while definitely on the periphery of my life, was one of my biggest supporters.

That's how he was.

Maybe that's why news of his death hit me as hard as it did. (I was at a Da Vinci exhibit at the Science Center and sat with tears streaming down my face while looking at the Last Supper.) Tim and I didn't know one another well by any means. We didn't march together (which has its own form of war-bond). But we were part of the same legacy. The same purple blood flows through our veins and that same passion calls to both of us. We were family. We understood one another, too, in a strange way. That geekdom that speaks to itself, that passion for music and motion, a desire to honor history and keep it for others.Tim loved music--everything from Wagner to Rush, Jesus did he love Rush!--and in recent years had developed a passion for cycling. He was a collective memory for many people. He kept records, videos, memories, pictures and his own thoughts for other people. If you were a Ben Davis Marching Giant, Tim loved you because you were family.

When I was in high school, I knew Tim because he was just as present on the field as the 50 yard line. Not nearly as prominent, mind you, but there's not a single memory I have of band that I can't freeze frame and find him in the shot. He's on the periphery, sure, but that's so he could get the best view and take it all in. He had the back of all 300 of us in my day and has had the back of every Marching Giant before and since. Even if you didn't see him or notice him, he was there. And he will continue to be. A scholarship has been opened in his name to help students who will be going in to Music Education.

Tim Froman was an amazing human being. I'm thankful to have known him, for all of his years of support. I'm glad to have been family in our odd sort of way.

Aloha oe, Tim.