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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Don't like the rules? Change 'em.

As we approach DCI's winter meetings, it's that time of year again when corps can suggest changes in the rules to be voted on. As is usually the case, The Cadets' George Hopkins has a lot of thoughts on the matter. It was his suggestion, and of course, the other directors' blessing that brought us amplification, electronic instruments, and water. This year, he's behind five of eight proposals. The folks at DCI are releasing them a couple at a time, so as they come through, I'll share them and give my thoughts.

Proposal 1: Change in Age Limits
This proposal is to shift the age-out age by six months, so that instead of excluding those who turn 22 by June 1, anyone who is still 22 by December 31 of their marching year would be allowed to march. This isn't one about which I feel particularly strongly, but I think it makes some sense; either you can march at 22 or you can't. It will lead to another year of eligibility for those born in the back half of the year. Hopkins proposed this a few years ago and it got shot down, but this isn't the first time he's brought something back to the table. It's interesting to look at this in contract to other age rules in sports and activities, which often dictate how young one has to be to begin.

Proposal 2: Sound engineer in press box
I'll admit, asking me about electronics proposals is a little bit about asking me who the Dallas Cowboys should draft. If you first take into account the fact that I'm not so keen on electronics to begin with, you can understand my hesitation with this proposal. That said, I begrudgingly understand that amplification and electronics are here to stay, and unlike the Cowboys, I want what's best for the corps involved, and of course us the audience, so I think I'd give this one a pass. Currently, sound is controlled by an engineer on field level, while another staff member may go into the audience or elsewhere in the stadium to get a feel for how the sound plays out. This would essentially make the second sound engineer the offensive coordinator, calling his or her plays from the booth via radio to effect the action on the field. If it's ultimately going to lead to better sounding corps, I'm willing to accept it.
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