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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Carrying More than Pads

So I am, admittedly, a few days late, but I wanted to weigh in regardless. Recently, in sports news, a bit of a big deal was made that Dez Bryant, a rookie for the Dallas Cowboys, refused to carry veteran Roy Williams' pads following practice. Rookies carrying veterans' pads is a bit of a tradition, you see, and Bryant refusing to perform the service struck a nerve with some.

While mostly benign, making a rookie carry your pads is, by definition hazing. Cowboys' coach Wade Phillips told the team that they were there to play football, and that the new guys didn't have to engage in any of the ritual "initiation" if they didn't want to. Bryant took him up on that.

Now I have a graduate degree in student affairs, and it is currently my career, so I have to give credit to the coach for being proactive in renouncing (refudiating?) any sort of rookie hazing up front. And while it's easy to point out that carrying pads is relatively harmless in the grand scheme of things, it's admirable that a stand has been taken.

Flashback to my high school days in marching band. When we were coming off the field, rookies carried my pads. The difference, of course, is that my pads had drums attached. They did it because they wanted to (I know, that's what all hazers claim); carrying my tris or quads back to the band room was mutually beneficial. It gave my back a rest and it gave a freshman or sophomore who was probably playing cymbals a chance to play around for a bit on tenors. This was how they got a glimpse into their future with the organization.

So yes, Dez Bryant was perfectly within his rights to refuse to carry Roy Williams' pads. But in doing so, he may have missed a chance to connect, relate, and perhaps peek into his future with the Dallas Cowboys.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Going Multimedia

For years now, I've wanted to create a USF football highlights video, but I just haven't had the talent, the software, or the patience to recognize what I did have. Now that I've done such, behold! I chose to use Brian Setzer's Malagueña for two reasons: One is that Malagueña is forever a USF song to me, perhaps because HOT played it my first year at USF. The other is that in this particular version, there are parts that approximate The Bull, which I'm sure all USF faithful can appreciate. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sports in the Courts

The conversations and debates have taken place for who knows how long: Is cheerleading a sport? Recently, one Connecticut court answered the question with a "no".

Now to be clear, the purpose the court was even defining a sport in this instance was so as to come to a decision as to whether Quinnipiac (an old NEC foe) was violating Title IX or not. This determination hinged on whether or not the scholarships for the all women's varsity competitive cheer team counted towards the total number scholarships. Several factors, including lack of recognition as an NCAA sport, lack of off-campus recruiting, differences in campus resources, and lack of a singular governing body went into the ruling that varsity cheerleading, at least in this instance, was not a sport.

The debate over what is a sport enters into many arenas; cheerleading is among those often questioned, as are commonly accepted sports such as NASCAR and golf. And, of course, marching band/drum corps often get thrown into the mix as well.

I'm sure I've said it here before, but despite being the band nerd I am, I do not believe marching band or drum corps to be sports. True enough, they are physically demanding, athletic endeavors (if you're doing it right), but that doesn't make either a sport. I feel similarly about cheerleading.

But what of it? I'm a sports fan. I enjoy sports. But I also believe there's no golden star foisted upon anything that is considered a sport. There are things I don't consider sports (drum corps) which I'd be a whole lot more apt to watch than things I do (baseball). So if you seek the "sport" moniker for legitimacy, search elsewhere.

All that said, I still want regular marching coverage on ESPN. Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sports. Nation.

I mentioned absence-due-to-marriage in the last post; this most recent hiatus is due to the honeymoon. If this is your primary source of sports and marching news, well, I'm simultaneously flattered and concerned, but rest assured I'm back.

I won't bore you with all of the details of my honeymoon--that's for another time and place--but there are quite a few bits of it that were sports- or marching-related, and thus are appropriate for this blog. The honeymoon was an Alaskan cruise and a cross-country drive. Here's the parts that were appropriate for consumption here:

  • We visited several corps hometowns: We left from Seattle (Cascades [roughly]), spent a night in Casper (Troopers), drove through LaCrosse (Blue Stars), visited Madison (Scouts), spent the night in Rockford (Phantom), drove through Rosemont (Cavaliers) and visited Canton (Bluecoats).
  • I spend a good deal of the trip in my new Crown hat, which has quickly become one of my favorites. Sadly, I didn't catch any comments in any of the corps cities about it.
  • The World Cup was in full swing during the trip; they showed some matches on the big screen on the ship.
  • I actually got some leisure reading in, and what do I read about? College football, of course. I finished It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium, and started in on Dixieland Delight. The latter inspires me to take a trip like that of my own. 
  • Our rental car has XM satellite radio, which gave us, among others, ESPN Radio. I actually, somewhat accidentally, caught the Lebron decision broadcast live.
  • I poked around Camp Randall Stadium while in Madison. One of the highlights was a rock decorated for the 1999 Rose Bowl, which Wisconsin won. Yours truly marched in the parade.
  • In Chicago, we took the tour of Wrigley Field. With my tour of Fenway back in February, I've visited the two oldest parks this year.
  • We did the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend. There is a portion of a field in the back; I marched on it a bit and was pleased that I still retain a decent 8-to-5 all these years later. We also rolled through Notre Dame and saw the stadium and Touchdown Jesus.
  • On to Canton for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Marched on the field at Fawcett Stadium as well (such a dork). 
So there you have it--after a whirlwind tour of a good deal of the US, I'm back. The trip both satiated and stimulated the travel bug, so who knows where I'll be next. Back to your regularly scheduled blog.
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