MediaStrike Banner

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fiedler on the Roof?

(admittedly, someone quicker and more clever than I uttered that title line first)

So Jeff Fiedler, former director of the Cavaliers (of DCI, not the NBA) is now going to be the CEO of Santa Clara Vanguard.

If there wasn't just an audible gasp, either you already heard the news of you have no clue what/who I'm talking about.

To my fellow corps fans, it needs no explanation. To those who aren't, an explanation may be impossible, but I'm going to try:

Bear Bryant, legendary Hall of Fame coach of the University of Alabama, is virtually synonymous with Crimson Tide football. While he had a few other coaching stops along the way, Bryant both played at Bama and coached there for the bulk of his notable career up until his retirement in 1982. Imagine that, following the 1982 Liberty Bowl, Bryant announced his retirement. Imagine then that, summer of 1983 (I know he had passed on at this point, but bear with me) Bryant announced that he was taking the position of athletic director of the University of Georgia.

My disclaimer here is that I am neither trying to put Fiedler on a pedestal nor knock him off of one with the Bear Bryant comparison--time will make that distinction. But there are quite a few similarities between his situation and the hypothetical example above. Jeff Fiedler spent his marching career in the Cavaliers organization, beginning in their cadet ranks. Fiedler would eventually return to serve as the corps director, putting forth a storied program that would win six world championships and finish in the top 3 five additional times during his 17 year tenure. At the end of the 2007 corps season, Fiedler announced his retirement from the Green Machine. Months later, it was announced that he would be in the central office of a corps that, while not necessarily a rival, is certainly a strong competitor.

What prompted this move? It's anyone's guess. I've seen various speculations and conspiracy theories on message boards, and admittedly thought up a few of my own. I'll leave those be, but considerably less speculative is this prediction: Fiedler + Vanguard will be a force to be reckoned with.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Someone, please, break it down for me.

Speak slowly. Use small words, and repeat yourself if need be.

Somehow, someway, can you PLEASE make me understand…


Or more specifically, how, in the past three weeks of being 3-5, 4-5, and now 5-5, has this team been ranked 15, 10, and now 6, repsectively?

And don’t look to the coaches to set things straight. The coaches poll has viewed them even more favorably.

Understand that this is not a personal vendetta (although I am a little bitter that they just leapfrogged my alma mater). I’ve got nothing against Hopkins. But forget Notre Dame football or Duke basketball, THIS is the biggest case of ratings inflation I’ve ever seen.

What has caused this? True enough, the Blue Jays are the defending national champion. They’ve got the #1 schedule in the nation. But herein lies the rub. When scheduling the nation’s best, an additional charge is put before you: To win. And yet five times – against Hofstra, Syracuse, UVA, Carolina, and Duke (all ranked, granted) – the Jays failed to accomplish that task. Hopkins does have some quality wins too—over Princeton, Maryland, Navy, and my own UMBC Retrievers. I can’t say, at this stage of the game (and only in this last week) I’d object to them being ranked. but #6, to me, is ridiculous.

With nearly a week passing since the above rant, we'll see in this coming Monday's rankings what the future shall hold for the Jays. They are now a 6-5 after a mid-week win over the Towson Tigers. Still, the poll has shown us for other teams that even a win against a lesser team (which at this point, the Tigers are) can lead to a drop in rankings. Still, I'll see how the polls turn out before taking the risk of applying Earth logic to Hopkins.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Indianapolis Bloomington Bound

Like many drum corps fans, I am disappointed that 2008's World Championships have moved from Indianapolis to Bloomington. As you know if you read this blog, I went all in with the belief that this World Championships would be the inaugural event at Lucas Oil Stadium, and this excited me for several reasons: As a traveler, I looked forward to a trip to Indianapolis where I've never been. As a sports fan, I was excited about being in the inaugural event in a brand new stadium. As a one-time Baltimore resident, I was looking forward to thumbing my nose at the Colts' new place. And, of course, as a drum corps fan, I was looking forward to a World championship showing that would become the new standard bearer for years to come. While I'd still love to be in Lucas Oil, I have come not only to accept, but to appreciate the fact that we will be in Bloomington, largely as a higher ed employee and dork, as it is home to Indiana University and the Inidiana Memorial Union, the largest student union in the world. All that said, however, I wanted to share some of my initial, off-the-cuff, unfiltered thoughts about the change, which I had posted to my LiveJournal:
April 7, 2008, 12:11am
So I knew upon booking it it was a possibility, but odds seemed in my favor. The 2008 Drum Corps International World Championships, originally scheduled to be the inaugural event in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, will be held in Memorial Stadium on IU's campus in Bloomington due to Lucas Oil not being done in time. BOO. Obviously, I'm still going (the tickets are already puchased) but I'm none to pleased on this recent development. There were myriad benefits to being in Indy: First event in a brand new stadium, giving a big ol' two-middle-fingers to the Indianapolis Runaways in their new digs, the variety of things to do Indy (vs. the Hoosier state's finest cornfields and rock quarries in Bloomington), NFL stadium amenities, including chairback seats (vs. the metal chap-your-ass dealies in Memorial Stadium) and the likely lift for the activity that would have resulted in the news from it beign the first event in Lucas Oil. It'll be back there in future years, sure, but it won't have the same impact as if it had been the first event there. In short: BOO.Though I suppose on the bright side, hotels are likely to be cheaper in Bloomington, I can probably talk to some Hoosier heads for key tailgating, the Marching Hundred are likely to make an appearance, and I can scope out IU's campus. Mere consolations, however. I'm still holding out hope that there's plenty of time for them to say "just kidding!"
April 9, 2008, 6:07pm
OK, as more facts come to light on the moving of the DCI world championships, I get a little more annoyed. See here: points:-Lucas Oil Stadium has, and has always had, a target date of August 15 for completion. World Championships are, and have always been, scheduled for August 7-9. So basically the entire intent to have them in Lucas Oil was based on the hope that they'd be done early. I like hope as much as the next guy, but not in event planning. Especially when a significant amount of your marketing plan is built on the premise that you hope will come through. DCI's been loud and proud about how they'd be in Lucas Oil and would be the first event there. Granted, they've always had the backup plan in place that they had to enact, but still, it seems to me so much was built on a false premise.-This just seems wack to me: "'The city has been very supportive of helping us execute Plan B,' he said.Bob Schultz, spokesman for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, said Bloomington officials have committed to the expense for visitor transportation to and from Memorial Stadium. Indianapolis officials also could provide some help, if there needs to be some bolstering, Schultz said." Wow, really? You got played for a fool, Bloomington. Basically, here's what I see took place. First off, Bloomington came through in the clutch, like that nice guy girls call cuz their boyfriend's an asshole. Then Bloomington agrees for transportation from there to Indy? So basically, Bloomington is footing the bill for folks to stay, play, dine, and spend their entertainment dollars pumping up Indy's economy, coming only Bloomington for the events themselves? Yeah, Bloom, you got played. Especially considering that about 35,000 are expected to attend world championships. Let's be REAL conservative and say only 1,000 of them take them up on their offer. You're looking at 20+ buses making the trip from Indy to B-town and back (and mind you, it's 50 miles, about an hour's drive) at least once (and they'd be foolish to just do one pick-up and drop off each way) for 3 days. That's gotta be expensive, and again, Bloomington would be footing the fill to take people away from them. That sounds like an abusive relationship. Forget that, I'm not using. What's more, because DCI is now headquartered in Indianapolis and presumably in bed with the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, they're not going to big-up the CVB in Bloomington or anything and they'll keep pushing this alternative. I, for one, will be staying in Bloomington, and tailgating at drum corps like I go to IU. DCI fans: The truth is out there!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Instruments down? HA!

Band--it's not just for football anymore.

Once upon a time, the only time you'd catch a band at an athletic contest was the marching band at football games. For a decent amount of time, that has expanded to pep bands at (typically men's) basketball games. More recently, women's hoops has also become a priority--smaller bands pull double duty while larger bands divide their resources so as to cover the busy winter sports season.

Nowadays, what was once a Fall activity is becoming more year round than ever. In the college ranks, in addition to those mentioned above, bands in some form are increasingly making appearances in college hockey (several were present at the Frozen Four a few weeks ago) and lacrosse, and in the past few weekends, several bands have cranked back up some semblance of their Fall form for spring games. So nowadays, when you show up in summer to report for band camp, don't be surprised if they've got you until the following band camps!
discussion by