Yesterday, due in part to my job and in part to having a friend in Athletics, I was courtside for the UNCG women's basketball game. I haven't been that close to the court in a seat that cushy since... well, since I was sitting on the drum throne in my pep band days.

A significant portion of my educational/musical career was spent at basketball games, specifically as a member of the Down and Dirty Dawg Pep Band at UMBC, my undergraduate alma mater. We had what, in my albeit biased opinion, was the best pep band in the Northeastern Conference and following my graduation went on to become the best damn pep band in America East, and I was and still am proud to have served as a drummer and student director.

Fast forward nearly five years, and here I ws in a similar location. As a drummer, I was always seated right on floor level as opposed to in the stands like my wind-playing brethren, and here I was again, all too close to being beaned with a basketball or run over by a referee. This time I was but a mere spectator, enjoying the game and, of course, the pep band.

UNCG's got a hot little ensemble which I think is perfect for the arena. At about 20 members, they are well suited to rock Fleming Gym, an intimate arena of better than 1,800 seats, and rock it they did. Not that I'd ever been one to hide my band-dorktitude, but if I were inclined to, me conducting along to everything they played would have been a dead giveaway.

I credit my involvement in band with my current sports fan status. A note to band folk, pep, marching, and otherwise: It's true the music brought you there, but take some time to appreciate the sport as well. It's good times. And while you're at it, learn a little something about the sport. Not only is it worthwhile, but it helps with cheering on your team or deriding the opponent. You can certainly stick with the staples such as "DEFENSE! *clap clap*" and "Let's go [team name] *clap clap clap-clap clap*". But, my fellow band dorks, I implore you, stick to the basics or learn something functional; do not yell "GET THE BALL!!" incessantly at the defense, as an example.

And now, in related news: Many know Tony Kornheiser as one of the dueling duo on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. Tony's an alumnus of Harpur College, now known as SUNY Binghamton, an America East conferencemate of UMBC. This past weekend, when the Bearcats visited the Dawg House, TK, who currently works in Washington DC, made the trip up, and in the process visited with the Down and Dirty Dawg Band. Photo courtesy of Greg Johnson a friend of mine and fellow DDDB alum:

Allow me also to point out my contribution to the picture: That custom bass drum head on the drumset is an alumni gift from yours truly.