And The Band Plays On… (In Defense of Our Marching Warriors)

Last year my school acquired the services of a local DJ to perform at the all of the home football games; a sacrilegious move in my eyes. No disrespect to all of the spin masters out there, but when it comes to college football, the marching band goes hand in hand with the barbecue grills at the tailgate and the cheerleaders on the sidelines. There’s just something about the triumphant  blares of the brass, the precision of the drum line, the impossible agility of the majorettes (Will she drop it? WILL SHE DROP IT??? She’s totally going to drop it. SHE DIDN’T DROP IT!!!) and the pageantry of the color guard that signifies tradition.

band 1

I had a cup of coffee with my high school band, but in that year and a half, I can attest that being a functional part of a marching band is no simple task. While many people struggle to play an instrument sitting down, these mobile minstrels not only play, but do so while performing elaborate choreography. While the film American Pie portrays band camp as two weeks of adolescent sexual exploration, those who have actually gone through it would probably describe those 14 summer days as being closer to musical boot camp.

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The movie Drumline only scratches the surface of what marching bands mean to historically black colleges and universities. At many HBCUs, the marching band’s halftime routine is more anticipated than the game itself. To see the level of talent, showmanship and excitement these bands bring to the table, do yourself a favor and check out any of the footage from the Honda Battle of the Bands competition that’s on Youtube; it is truly stunning.

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 Also, it would be a crime to pen an article on college marching bands without mentioning the self proclaimed “Best Damn Band in the Land”at Ohio State University.  Through their choreography, this 192 member collective have formed moving cars (complete with a smokey exhaust pipe), bucking bulls, flying spaceships and even a moonwalking Michael Jackson during their halftime exhibitions. Once again, if you truly want to be amazed, look them up on Youtube.

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Last season, our rich friends invited us to their good seats on the 50 yard line, five rows up. Late in the third, the team called a time out and the band rose to their feet. With the sun majestically reflecting off the horn section, the trumpets launched into a familiar cadence. It was the opening bars of Kanye’s “All of the Lights”. The hair on my arms stood straight up; my body covered in goosebumps. I thought to myself, “This is going to be so awesome when the beat drops and the drumline comes in!”Well that beat never dropped as the DJ started up the “Humpty Dance”and played right over the band.

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In the name of two a day practices while wearing full uniforms in 90 degree summer heat, I beg of you, LET THE BAND PLAY!


Rashard Mendenhall: A Renaissance Man in Pads


            Many people have joked that the NFL stands for “Not For Long” rather than the National Football League. The average length of a professional football career is brief, and players are becoming increasingly aware of it. Take Rashard Mendenhall, a healthy 26 year-old running back that recently announced his retirement from football. Mendenhall’s retirement came in the form of a lengthy essay published in the Huffington Post, and many fans were surprised to read why he decided to leave the game so early.

As it turns out, despite the opportunity to earn several more millions of dollars as a professional athlete, Mendenhall would rather quit while he’s ahead to go explore other aspects of life. In his essay, he expresses deep interest in dance, art, and literature. He voices a desire to go out and simply live his life without the constant public spotlight. Fans may have previously realized that Mendenhall was humble and soft spoken, but they likely never knew just how much of a Renaissance man he really is.

I don’t contend that Rashard Mendenhall deserves any special praise for the choice he made. It was a personal decision and he didn’t do anything spectacular for anyone else. However, I argue that he deserves a great deal of respect for the way he handled his business. In a well-written piece directed at his fans, he revealed his integrity and sophistication like no other athlete has recently done. By reaching out to his fan base in this particular manner, Mendenhall showed us that football players are people too. And some of them have hidden desires and interests that we would never expect.

Read his essay here:

Social Media for College Athletics 101

Facebook is not only used to stalk people you went to high school with and to keep in touch with current friends while in college.  Collegiate athletes have been using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to promote their games, to grow their fan base, and to communicate well throughout their team.

Aside from Division I basketball and football teams, college sports do not get too much recognition.  It is a sad sight when you and your team are all pumped up for a big game against a rival and you look at your stands and see only a few parents and maybe someone’s boyfriend.

To rectify this situation, getting the word out about your team on Facebook is one of the best steps to take.  Between 80 and 90 percent of college students are not only on Facebook, but also are daily active users.  Creating a Facebook event a week or so before that rival game and having everyone on the team invite their friends is a great way to sell those tickets.

Creating a Facebook page for your team is another great way to gain support.  Having a team member create the page and invite their friends, then have other teammates “suggest friends” to their friends could be a great way to keep fans involved.  Posting statuses bi-weekly or even daily about recent games would remind college students of the game on their Facebook News Feeds, which is a place they are known to look when using Facebook.

Twitter is another great promotional tool.  Having teammates tweet a link to the school’s athletic website is a great way to start, along with tweeting game information.

Within a team, creating a Facebook group is a step closer to great communication, and one step away from those pestering group text messages.  Ensuring that everyone has and uses Facebook is obviously essential before doing so.  Also creating the group based off of the roster is a must to guarantee no one is forgotten.

Finally, posting highlights on YouTube shows college students why they should go to your game.  Getting a parent or the school even to video tape a game and having a film student edit it into a highlight reel could then be posted to YouTube and posted on the team’s Facebook page, tweeted, and posted by teammates.

Good luck this upcoming season and best of luck packing those stands!


I’m reading Chemistry: Principles and Reactions

2011 NFL Draft

Alright sports fans, get your game faces on and prepare for the NFL Draft! The first round of the Draft will take place on Thursday April 28th. The second and third rounds will take place on April 29th and the final four through seven rounds will be held on Saturday April 30th.

Hundreds of players are hoping to be picked to join the National Football League. They have been participating in practices and training sessions giving NFL coaches a chance to check out their prospective players.

This year’s top five picks are Cam Netwon (Auburn), Marcell Dareus (Alabama), Von Miller (Texas A&M), A.J. Green (Georgia), and Blaine Gabbert (Missouri). Experts have the picks in different order but can all agree on these players being in the top five.

The Draft oder has already been established. The Carolina Panthers have the first pick followed by the Denver Broncos. Third pick belongs to the Buffalo Bills. Fourth pick goes to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Arizona Cardinals found out the top five with the 5th pick in the draft.

Just because the specialists have voiced their opinions via ESPN and the Internet doesn’t mean they are correct. The picks could go any way! The final verdict will be determined on Draft Day!

Tune in to the NFL Network to watch the 2011 NFL Draft Live! You can also watch the Draft in realtime at

Which players do you think will be chosen first? Will there be any surprises? Are the projections correct? Who do you want your team to draft? Let us know!

With love,
Kat VonD

I’m reading Marketing: An Introduction