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Sunday, June 24, 2018


 HBCU Battles of the Bands may be slim pickin's this coming school year.

Back in January, we learned that due to a scheduling conflict with Atlanta hosting the Super Bowl, Honda Battle of the Bands would not take place in 2019. While disappointing, those of us in the Southeast (and especially those of us in North Carolina) new we'd still have Queen City Battle of the Bands.

But wait...

This spring, we learned that the "Queen City" Battle of the Bands was moving to Houston. This was one of the sites I thought was likely to assume the Honda mantle before that event was canceled, and its placement in a major stadium in the heart of SWAC country made sense, if not convenience for some (read: myself).

But wait...

This week, we learned that the event in Houston, now the National Battle of the Bands, had changed its date.

To 2019.

To recap, we lost functionally three battles for the 2018-19 school year in relatively short order. The pickings are slim for battle in the coming year, to the consternation of bandheads everywhere.

Crankfest in New Orleans will likely see its third year. Savannah State took the opportunity to publicize the return of Marsh Madness, which debuted in 2017. And the National Collegiate Marching Band Championship Bowl, which postponed its opening from last year, is scheduled to debut in Columbia SC just after Thanksgiving. Will any of these competitions step up and fill the void? Will a new challenger emerge? Or are we headed to a light year?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Part is Greater

Last month, the NFL chose to reignite the National Anthem controversy that dominated headlines last season. The owners decided on a policy: Players on the field must stand and "show respect" to the flag, but they also had the option to remain in the locker room, as they did prior to 2009. It's an example of a compromise that leaves no one happy: Proponents of the Anthem protests see the move as silencing, while those who feel the flag (and by erroneous extension, our military) is being disrespected - including the president - find it abhorrent that remaining in the locker room is even a choice. Amidst it all, I could see myself returning to my 2017 season state, and not messing with the NFL anymore.

But then there's the Philadelphia Eagles. Lauded last year as the wokest team in the league, the World Champions doubled down by all but refusing the obligatory White House invite. To hear the White House tell it, they were disinvited, but it seems fewer than a dozen would have been in attendance anyway. The spin was that the team disagreed with "their president" and his stance on the Anthem protests, but regardless of how the president tried to couch it, not a single Eagle took a knee all season. In the days that followed, quite a few Eagles were outspoken - or in the case of Malcolm Jenkins, quite the opposite - on the cause for the protests and the change that those who partook sought to effect. In doing such, the Eagles garnered widespread support, even from backers of rival teams.

So where does that leave me? Frankly, I'm ready to throw the whole league out. But the thing is, their one redeeming quality - the Philadelphia Eagles - is the reason I tune in in the first place. Is there a way to be an Eagles fan without supporting the NFL? If not and Super Bowl LII is the last game I ever watch, there are far worse ways to go out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What More Can I Say

In the interest of full disclosure, I've sat down on a few occasions with the intent of writing something about the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct that led to numerous changes on DCI; among them, a change in the leadership of the Cadets, including George Hopkins, the alleged perpetrator, and the Board of Directors; clarifying statements and positive action from other corps; and sweeping updates from the DCI Board of Directors regarding ethics and participant safety.

There's not much I have to say that's not already covered in the original piece, its followup, or the most poignant response. The several allegations against Hopkins were first reported by Tricia L. Nadolny of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Links to the aftermath are included within. On the heels of the initial report, The guys at Drunk Corps International delivered a podcast that was appropriate parts information and seething rage.
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