Marching Music

This I Believe: a lesson in good sportsmanship
August 17, 2007, 2:29 am
Filed under: Drum & Bugle Corps

I’ve just returned from an amazing summer, performing across the nation with the Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps.  This being my last summer of eligibility (at the ripe old age of 21), I really tried to push my limits physically, emotionally, etc.  The passion that the other 134 marching members and myself put forth on that field was absolutely amazing!  I could not have asked for more.  Thank you to all who made my 2007 age-out season so spectacular!

Now I would like to share something with you.  Our 2007 production was entitled “This I Believe,” after the NPR radio show of the same name.  It was a controversial choice, using voice-overs to convey the show concepts and reaching top speeds of 214 beats per minute at the end.  I will include a link to a youtube video of the show so that you can get the idea. 

Ultimately, according to the opinions of 8 people on the final night, the corps was awarded second place in the world.  That’s nothing to scoff at.  The real story, however, came about 2 nights before in the quarterfinals competition.  As the corps entered the field, we quickly realized that there were no hash marks between the 40 yard lines.  Now, when you’re moving around at one step spacing and speeds upward of 200 beats per minute for a good portion of your show (or even if you’re just trying to get 135 people not to run into each other), you need field markings.  As a result of this, our director (George Hopkins) pulled us off of the field and had the hashes re-marked.  As we left the field, the crowed booed very loudly and rudely.  Snide remarks went on for the rest of the championship competition week. 

I guess that I wasn’t really surprised by the crowd’s reaction.  I can understand that they were probably confused.  Maybe they thought that we were refusing to perform at all.  I was, however, taken aback by the fact that people would be so rude as to boo a group of young adult artists/performers such as ourselves.  I mean, when you take a step back and examine the situation, we are not professionals.  We do not get paid for our art/athletics like your favorite pro football team.  Basically, we are a bunch of kids, paying to perform for you.  Would you boo your local college musical?  What’s the difference?

On a more positive, less whiny note, the booing from the first night motivated us to push ourselves to new levels of intensity in the two days of rehearsal that followed.  Thank you, rude people, for making us stronger.

Please remember that good sportsmanship is a choice, and that everyone whose competition you observe deserves your respect. 

This, I believe.

watch the show at:


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Nobody in that audience was booing the Cadets. Everyone respects and admires the members of the Cadets. They were booing Hopkins and his perceived holier-than-thou attitude. I wasn’t there, but I was watching the live cinecast; the reaction in the theater was the same as it seems it was at the Rose Bowl.

Comment by Jack

thanks, jack! it is fair to say that many people think of hopkins as “holier than thou,” but if you saw the show, the corps really did need those hash marks. that’s not to say that the other corps didn’t…hopkins was simply the only one with the guts to call DCI out on it. it was probably a good thing. you can bet good money that DCI won’t make that mistake again.

it doesn’t matter who you’re booing. you’re booing and there are performers on the field. that is not fair to the corps that you claim to respect.

Comment by alison hulihan

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