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Monday, June 27, 2011

DCI ShowDay

It is with this post that I'm officially adding the "harebrained schemes" tag. I'm sure if the folks at DCI ever give these the time of day, they're thinking "not this guy again..."
It's drum corps season! This year's competition got underway this past weekend down in Texas with shows in the Ft. Worth area and the Austin area, both featuring all of the top eight corps in what I've decided to refer to as the Daytona 500 of the drum corps season. I got to see the second of these competitions in on the big screen during the DCI Tour Premiere, which was shown in movie theaters across the country including, for the first time in a while, one right here in Greensboro.
The theater event was a corollary to something that has been going on for the past several years. With the advent of the Fan Network a few years ago, DCI is in the habit of providing live and near-live content to its fans throughout the country. While there's still nothing like a live event, the fact that I have a 42" TV and a formidable sound system--and every day more and more of America can say the same or better--watching drum corps at home is becoming a better experience. Much as HDTV helped televised lacrosse and hockey, where the ball/puck was once hard to follow, home theater systems make drum corps easier to enjoy at home. And with the ability to see multiple live shows without leaving your living room, a DCI season is likely to feel more like a season than just the one or more shows one may attend each summer.

Now here's where I go a bit rogue. Since there are live broadcasts on Fan Network anyway, why not a weekly show? During college football season College Gameday is a weekly ritual. ESPN liked the idea so much they expanded it to college basketball. Why not do a similar program for DCI? I will add the caveat here that I have on my other harebrained schemes that I'm not forced to operate within the constraints of finances, logistics, or indeed, reality tha DCI is; I'll add the additional disclaimer that I don't know how closely guarded the Gameday copyright is, so I don't know how close such a program could conceivably get. Still, can you imagine tuning into Fan Network each Saturday for a show on location at the spot of one of that evening's competitions? Score recaps, corps or fan interviews, lot warmups, the breakdown from a few corps-knowledgeable talking heads? Not only would it give folks at home something to look forward to, but it would add to the live show experience as well. Just for kicks and grins, imagine this schedule for this summer:

June 18: The season opener from Ft. Worth, TX
June 25: DCI West from Stanford, CA
July 2: Beanpot Invitational from Lynn, MA
July 9: Drums Along the Rockies from Denver, CO
July 16: DCI Minnesota from Minneapolis, MN
July 23: DCI Southwestern Championship from San Antonio, TX
July 30: DCI Southeastern Championship from Atlanta, GA
August 6: DCI Eastern Classic from Allentown, PA
August 13 DCI World Championship Finals from Indianapolis, IN

Wouldn't that make for quite the season? I know I'd be watching.

On the off chance that someone with some power reads this, I’m not proprietary. If I put it online, it’s because I’d love to see it. Steal away!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Late Pass Post

I try and stay pretty well abreast of the goings on in sports and marching/athletic music, and I'd like to think I do a pretty good job. Still every now and again there are things, even things to which I think I'm pretty well connected, that slip through the cracks. Here are two such things that I noticed just recently.

-The Baltimore Ravens had a new fight song this past season! And by new I mean old. That is, the most recently adopted fight song by the Ravens rewrites the lyrics to the old Baltimore Colts fight song. Fitting, of course, since they do share a band. Come to think of it, in the 30 for 30 documentary The Band That Wouldn't Die, I remember John Ziemann toying with potential Ravens-themed lyrics, but I just assumed that was older footage, since at that point I believed the Ravens had this fight song.

-The University of Massachusetts is moving to FBS starting with the 2012 football season. I remember having heard rumblings that it was being considered, but it wasn't until this week's College Football Podcast where Ivan Maisel was speaking about it as though it were fact that I knew that it happened. This of course does several things: It brings the grand total of FBS programs in New England to three; it creates a hole in the CAA, potentially leading to some eastern FBS/basketball conference realignment, and it provides new opportunities for the Sudler Trophy winning UMass Minuteman Marching Band, among them bowl game possibilities and new band colleagues/rivals in an already strong marching conference (I'm looking forward to the potential of them and the Marching 110 facing off).

Monday, June 20, 2011

We Are the Champions

Fans of Boston sports teams are loving life right now. With the Bruins' Stanley Cup-winning Game 7 victory this past week, they can proudly boast championships in each of the four major sports since 2005.

Tis the season for me to have a one-track, drum-corps-centric mind--it's opening weekend, if you somehow missed it--and so when figuring out if that short a time frame was the shortest of any city (it is) I threw another variable into the mix: Which cities/metro areas can claim a championship in each of the four major sports AND a DCI World Championship?

It makes sense to start looking at the most restrictive of the championships; only eight different corps have taken home World Class gold. Of those, Star of Indiana, the Madison Scouts, and Phantom Regiment aren't in metro areas with each of the four major sports. Both Santa Clara Vanguard and the Blue Devils call the San Francisco Bay Area home; however, that area's lone hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, has never hoisted the Stanley Cup. This leaves three corps, fittingly in the three largest metro areas in the country.

The Los Angeles metro area lays claim to all five championships, but put quite a bit a time between them all. The Anaheim Kingsmen got the ball rolling by picking up the first DCI World Championship in 1972; the Anaheim Ducks closed the loops with the 2007 Stanley Cup. In the interim, there would be eight championships for the Lakers, the Dodgers and Angels would each win, and the Raiders would bring home the one trophy they brought to LA.

Chicago trimmed that time a bit, simply splitting the difference between the Bears' 1985 Super Bowl Shuffle and the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup championship. The White Sox won in 2005, the Phil Jackson-helmed, Michael Jordan-led Bulls would win six, and the Cavaliers would bring seven back to nearby Rosemont.

The Big Apple, not surprisingly, lays claim to the shortest time with all five championships. The Knicks won in 1973, and by the Giants' Super Bowl XXI win in early 1987, the Amazin' Mets would net one in 1986, the Yankees would win in 1977 and 1978, the Islanders would dominate Stanley Cup competition between 1980 and 1983, and the Garfield Cadets would do the same with in DCI between 1983 and 1985.

Boston Crusaders? You're on the clock. with no other Boston championships, BAC needs to take it all in DCI by the end of the 2018 season to keep Boston at the forefront.

Speaking of the Crusaders, they are one of two corps that I think have a legitimate beef with being left out of the Tour of Champions this summer. If you'll recall, there were seven original gunmen on the grassy knoll corps who penned the proposal that led, at least in part, to the current Tour of Champions. The eighth, the Blue Stars, earned their spot based at least on their finish this past season and likely on their finish the past couple of seasons. That said, the Boston Crusaders have just as many Top 8 finishes in the past decade as the Blue Stars do; for that matter, the Crusaders have been a perennial finalist, while the Blue Stars just made the jump from Open Class a half decade ago. The Blue Stars were simply in the right place at the right time, a criticism UCF fans have often had of USF, who was invited to the Big East while the Knights remained in a non-AQ conference. That the Boston Crusaders recruit heavily from the central Florida region is a coincidence not lost on me.

The other corps who could be chagrined at their absence from the Tour of Champions? The only other corps to have been a champion in the DCI era, the Madison Scouts. If ever they were to raise this issue, however, one would need look no further than Relampago to justify their exclusion.
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