Just a quick note: Over the coming weeks/months, I'm going to be doing some playing with my online presence. Rest assured, this blog isn't going anywhere, but I actually dropped the piece I'm about to share here over on Tumblr first. I figured I'd bring it over here to give it some burn.

Of Fan and Band Behavior —or— This I Believe (no Cadets)

Having attended a couple of high(er)-profile games in the last week, I was reminded of a few rules of fandom and band-dom that I personally hold to be self-evident. Many of these only come into play when you have a critical mass of both teams’ fanbases and bands present, but I personally hold them to be tenets of good sportsmanship, bandsmanship, and fair play.

  • There are two (or more) songs each school holds dear: The fight song and the alma mater. The fight song, of course, is the team’s battle cry, and because your team is doing battle with the team across the field, you owe it no respect. But the alma mater is the anthem of that particular school, its students, alumni, and supporters. It should be respected. I usually at least remove my hat even for the other team’s alma mater, though I recognize that’s not commonplace. At the very least, ignore but don’t disrupt. Starting chants, cheering, or playing over a school’s alma mater is supremely disrespectful.
  • When YOUR fight song plays, sing along, clapa along, cheer along… at least acknowledge its presence.
  • When the near-sole battle being attended is the game itself (in other words, this excludes battle of the bands situations), and the game takes place at a neutral site or in a tournament situation, the band of the team that wins has earned the right to sound the final note. Typically, both bands will play the fight song as time expires. What occurs after that is between the two bands, but the winning band’s alma mater should be the last thing you hear.
  • As the opposing team takes the field, feel free to boo the hell out of them. As the opposing band takes the field, either ignore them or clap politely. Contrary to the beliefs of some, marching band is not a sport, and their success will not impede your own band’s, so show some respect. Again, battles of the bands are excluded, and if the band does something verbally, musically, or visually to disrespect your team or band, all bets are off. They started it.
  • The drum major should direct nearly all of both the field and stands performances. If your head coach isn’t taking snaps, your director shouldn’t be playing field commander.
  • Unless you are playing to ants, there is no reason your bell-front instrument should ever be at less than 90°. Get your horn up!
  • If I can see your band’s plumes but can never see your cymbals, something is wrong. If you have two shiny pieces of metal strapped to your hands, nothing you do should ever be boring (I expect I’ll write an entire cymbal manifesto soon enough)
  • When tailgating with fans of other teams, good natured ribbing is ok, but don’t be that guy. The tailgate lot should be a good time had by all. And above all else…
  • …Don’t be a douchebag.

That’s it for now, though I may add to this later. I saw many of these either upheld or violated over the past week or more, so I felt compelled to put this out there.