Posts Tagged With: Southern

Dude, It’s The Marching Band!

‘Sup folk…

Last week my church had the honor of hosting the funeral of a young man, Robert Champion, that unfortunately lost his life due to reasons that the educational institution he attended, Florida A&M University, or the organization he was a member of, the famed Marching 100, have yet to uncover. From the jump people have speculated the possibilities of what befell the student but the most frequent allegation that has come out of the mouth of people is hazing. Usually associated with fraternities, sororities and the like, hazing takes place on just about every campus in these United States in one form or another. Maybe this is done to harden the underlings, to give a 21 year old the chance to let an unsuspecting 19 year old know who’s boss, or just a device to make one co-ed feel more powerful than another co-ed; I won’t claim to know about any of it but I will say this:

Dude, you’re in the f*ckin’ band.

The marching band used to be the place that all the kids not capable of the appropriate violence that it took to play football went when looking for a fall activity. They would go to band camp with their clarinets, trumpets, tubas and retainers and practice their routines to perform at halftime during the football season. And when they were done with that they would play the fight song and the drum line would rock out with some cadences in the stands and then the game would end and they would sway back and forth with their mates as the school alma mater played. Then they would march out of the stadium to the band room, put their instruments away, and then go to wherever marching band members congregated after the game. That’s the marching band I knew but when I mention these memories people are quick to shoo my memories away because “Skrap went to a racially balanced high school with a corps style band” or “Skrap went to a predominantly white college so he won’t understand how we do it.”

What’s not to understand though? It’s the marching band right?

I’m not going to front like I can even try to comprehend this madness, I won’t, I need my brain cells and don’t want to kill the number necessary to compute why there is any sort of violence, whether internal or versus another band, in a daggone marching band. I have friends and acquaintances that have marched in the Marching 100, The Human Jukebox (Southern University), the Marching Storm (Prairie View A&M), they are all reasonable human beings for the most part. I’ve asked a couple of them in the last few days since the Robert Champion incident what they experienced, the last reply I got was, “Man, come on now.” Typically when a man tells you, “Man, come on now” he either wants to: a)Change the subject, or b)Deflect the question because he would have to tell you an answer that incriminates. Even so, since when is the marching band the home for underground organizations? For hazing? For any activity other than keeping your formations tight and your sound clear? Since when does the fight happen at halftime and not during the actual football game? (I’m looking at you Southern vs. Prairie View and any other intra-school band fight that helped inspire the movie Drumline)

This is the f*ckin’ Marching Band, dude.

And on the off chance that there is hazing, and I’m just gonna go ahead and say for the sake of this piece that it exists in the freakin’ marching band of all places, what does it accomplish? Honestly? Does anything hazing entails (deprivation, threats, physical abuse, etc) actually make a person a better band member? If I, say, take a portion of a section member’s travel money will that make her notes cleaner while she’s high stepping her way across the field? If the trumpets decide to gang up on the young freshman that joins the band will that make him a more effective crowd pleaser when the dance section of the show fires off? What does it prove? What does it accomplish? Honestly…what? The question is rhetorical so don’t bother trying to answer, if you did I’m pretty sure I’d tune you out simply for trying to justify the madness.

Because it’s the f*ckin’ marching band, dude.

Now I don’t want to try any of you band types because obviously things have changed dramatically and I certainly don’t want any of these new fangled band members that “I just wouldn’t understand” to go and pop the trunk on me; last thing I want is for someone to roll up on me wielding a trombone and run up on me looking to use it as a weapon. I just wonder what’s happening to not only the bands, but the institutions that are supposed to be preparing the young people in their care to be responsible citizens. I know, I know…it happens everywhere, it’s not just us, and the White schools do it too. You’re exactly right, they do, but you also know that those institutions aren’t looked at in the same way as the FAMU’s and the Southern’s and the (name your HBCU here); not fair but that’s the way it is. But fair or not, Black or not, White or not isn’t the issue. The issue is silliness and stupidity gone too far, you can play a stirring rendition of “We Fall Down, But We Get Up” and have all the candlelight vigils you want, but illogical behavior, in one form or another be it hazing or otherwise, caused the loss of a life…in a f*ckin’ marching band, and that’s something that I won’t understand.

And I’m sure the family of young Mr. Champion won’t either.

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Categories: Attempts at Seriousness, So Incredibly Random, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Horrific Resolution (of Sorts)

I saw Terrell Owens before Terrell Owens was Terrell Owens. And he was an ass just like the Terrell Owens you know now.

It was 1995 or so. I was an undergrad in my usual seat in the oft-rude student section at Paulson Stadium on the campus of Georgia Southern University (go Eagles) and, as we did just about every year, we were kicking the football tails of the UT-Chattanooga Mocs up and down the field. The student section at Georgia Southern is right behind the visiting teams bench which is a horrible idea for several million reasons; I’ll just say that we devised more than a few ways to tell an opposing player that he [inhaled deeply].

I can’t remember exactly what the score was in the game but the good guys in blue were up by about 3 or 4 touchdowns late in the 4th quarter when a loudmouthed brash wide receiver caught a touchdown pass and carried on like his team was about to hoist a trophy. Obviously when he got back to the sidelines the crew in the student section was ready to remind him that he needed to take a look at the scoreboard, and once again tell him that he and his team still [inhaled deeply]. And we did, over and over. But this wide receiver guy didn’t get upset; he looked up at the scoreboard, gave a dismissive wave and flashed what is now a nationally known smile and said, “I don’t care about that or y’all…I’m going pro!” Of course we didn’t believe him, he played football at Chattanooga and the last thing that you expected to come out of that place was a good football player. We shouted at him, called him a bum (and some other things), chanted the score and basically did things that broke down most other visiting players. This guy though just mouthed the words “I’m going pro” towards us then waved and casually had a seat where he waited for the rest of the time to run down on the blowout in progress. Every time I see that guy while I’m watching football on Sundays I can’t help but think back to that Saturday when he played on that god-awful Chattanooga team brimming with a confidence that comes only when you know you’re damned good at what you do and flat-out put us on notice that regardless of what we thought of him, he was going to be the next big thing. And despite what you think of the guy…he’s been a pretty good professional football player.

I really don’t do resolutions when the calendar turns over to a new year; I consider it twice as bad to break a promise to yourself, especially when the 15 pounds you swore you would lose have turned to the 25 you now have to lose after finding creative ways to put the gym off over and over again. But as I thought about life in 2011 I thought to myself, “It wouldn’t be so bad to be like Terrell Owens”. That thought alone should be enough for me to lose my dinner but in the grand scheme of things what’s there to hate about a guy that did something, did it well, got nationwide recognition for it, got well paid to do it, and will be considered one of the very best at it when he has finally burned his last bridge…I mean, caught his last pass.

We’ve all got something inside us to do. We were all downloaded with talents, skills, attributes and abilities that define us and make us what we are. Against all odds and despite the naysayers and “opposing student sections” in our lives we should all focus so heavily on what we are here to accomplish until we can only see the end goal. Doesn’t matter the current score, the current circumstance, or the bad team around you, just know that despite all that you’re still going to finish on top. So all of you, for 2011, strive to be like Terrell Owens, not the crazy T.O. that alienates everyone who ever liked him and submarines just about every relationship he’s ever had on a football field, be like the good T.O. that knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re going to be the very best you that you can be this year.

Now, as an exercise find a mirror, look yourself in the eye and say the following words with enough volume that it reverberates around your domicile:


~thanks for reading 🙂

Categories: Attempts at Seriousness, Humor, So Incredibly Random, Sports, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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