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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Changing of the Crown

A little insight into the psyche of myself and probably many others out there. When I have something I know I'm going to write about, I get it spinning in my head far before I ever put fingers to keyboard. With this one in particular, I found myself thinking in swears every time it came to mind. I give fair warning this won't be my best work, but I'll at least keep it PG.

Carolina Crown has new uniforms. I hate them.

The new uniforms became common knowledge this past weekend as Crown presented its preview show at Gardner-Webb University. I became aware via the forums on Drum Corps Planet, linked above (both out of respect for the posters whose pictures I'd be stealing and desire to keep my distance from those uniforms). You may say hate is a strong word. It is, and I may soften on that stance, but my visceral first reaction was somewhere in the realm of "Dear God No!"

One of my problems is simply a agree-to-disagree difference of opinion. The red-on-purple of the pants has never been a color combination of which I've been fond. The Red Hat Ladies make it work, but that's about where it stops. There are other elements - the hat style, the 3/4 length sleeves, the asymmetrical collar - that I consider different simply for different's sake, and I tend to be a traditionalist, but again, that's just a difference in design aesthetic. I'd probably find this uniform unattractive on anyone, but your mileage may vary.

My primary issue, though, is what seems to be the uprooting of a major brand element for the corps. Crown isn't the first corps ever to change uniforms - in fact, this isn't even the first time they have undergone a drastic change themselves - but their recent brand has been that of the Cream Team. One small silver lining I see in this uniform is that it reintroduces the purple that they got away from, but by and large, the new uniform shares no colors and few design elements from previous iterations. It's essentially a complete reboot, and while that isn't always a bad thing, it is a significant change.

Another issue I have with the change is that it seems to be a cop out. Crown has risen as high as a second place finish, and need only the slightest change to bring home the gold. Because dark colors hide inconsistencies in leg movements better than light colors, might this be a trick to look cleaner and pick up those extra tenths of a point? I have no clue if that's their motivation and don't want to cast aspersions, but if that was part of the thought process, I will remind them that both Phantom Regiment and The Cadets have gotten it done in light pants.

True enough, this isn't the Cavaliers ditching the trademark green - that would be DCI's equivalent of the Yankees changing their pinstripes. Carolina Crown is a much younger corps, and perhaps at 25, they're having their quarter-life crisis. A fitting analogy would be Tampa Bay's rebrand from the Devil Rays to the Rays, and the color changes that game with it. Still, while I didn't love that one either (for a Bay area denizen, the old Rays style paired nicely with USF Bulls gear) I didn't have quite the design disconnect that I've got with this one.

I'm a Carolina Crown fan, and I'm not doing anything silly like denouncing my fandom over this. In fact, in the grand scheme of drum corps, this wouldn't be the first time Crown has made me like - or at least tolerate - something I wasn't thrilled about, voiceovers and electronics being among them. We'll see as the season wears on how I feel about the uniforms, but I doubt anything will change the fact that I'd rather see them in cream.

Here's another insight into my writing psyche: Sometimes I start out intending to say one thing, and through the process of writing, convince myself of something different. Perhaps I don't hate Crown's new uniforms.

But I damn sure don't like them.


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