Posts Tagged ‘University of Alabam’

Alabama’s Really is a Million Dollar Band

January 3, 2010
The Crimson Tide is certainly a million dollar football team – the coach probably makes that much – but, it’s the band that gets the moniker. The University of Alabama marching band has been called the Million Dollar Band since 1922.
If W.C. “Champ” Pickens, the alumnus given credit for naming the band,  learned what it cost to transport it today, he’d probably really be impressed.  The band’s website tells us that the name “Million Dollar Band” was bestowed on the organization in 1922 by Pickens. He was impressed that the band raised enough money to travel from Tuscaloosa to Atlanta to play at the Georgia Tech vs.  Alabama game. The band wasn’t really big then, so it probably only cost a couple of thousand dollars for the ride.

Will Gibson, percussionist, University of Alabama Million Dollar Band

Will Gibson, son of Karen and my late nephew Jack Gibson, played drums in the Million Dollar Band up until this year.  I asked him if he had any idea of what it would cost to fly today’s band to Pasadena, California for the National Championship game Thursday.  He said he really didn’t know, but if we assume  that the round-trip ticket is $300 per band member , we could figure that the cost would be more than $100,000.  That’s just air transportation cost. You have to add the cost of ground transportation,  food and hotel rooms and, well, when you consider that a number of trips are made,  and the other expenses involved with fielding a band that large, you can see that the phrase “Million Dollar Band” is  now loaded with real meaning.
I have a special stake in the game and the band’s performance.  One connection,of course, is Will, who is, by the way, like his father,  a great percussionist.  He  played with the band for a lot of games, including a  few bowl games, but decided to give it up this year so he could devote his time to his studies.  Will’s mom Karen got her masters in English at Alabama,  and his father was the lead instructor of the band’s percussion section before Will was born, and he ended up getting his PhD at Alabama.  So, yes, I want Alabama to beat Texas and become  national champions.
I am probably going to be miffed at ABC because  it probably will not show the bands very much.  None of the networks give much air time to the college football bands, though I have seen a little improvement lately.   Maybe enough emails will get their attention.  Just click on this ESPN LINK  and, in the comment box, tell them you would like to be able to see the Alabama and Texas bands  during the broadcast of the national championship game.  Forward this to your friends and ask them to do the same thing.  It takes numbers to impress these folks.
(This post has been updated with more information in the post that now precedes it.)

Passionate Blogging

December 4, 2008

  Maybe I’ve been doing this blogging thing the wrong way. Instead of trying to post a well-written think piece, I should simply give vent to my passions and not worry about details like literary excellence. That’s what I took from Arianna Huffington when she was interviewed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. She was on the show to plug her book on how to blog. It’s titled The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.

  She said the key to successful blogging is to write about your passions, and to not worry about a blog post being a finished product.  In other words, don’t spend a lot of time trying polish your posts.

  I don’t spend a lot of time doing that, but I do try to make the post readable and get the grammar as correct as possible. I take a few liberties and sometimes use sentence fragments because that’s the way I speak and just about everyone else speaks. I remember one of my English Literature professors saying that before you can get away with breaking the rules, you have know them. She said, “When you are writing for me, you have to convince me that you know the rules. Don’t break them.” I don’t claim to know the rules flawlessly, but I’m not being graded by her any more so I’ll break the ones I do know when I feel like it.

 Arianna said that when you blog you should write about your passions. Once I figure what they are now, maybe I’ll concentrate on them. They have changed over time. Once I was very passionate about being an actor.  I acted in a few plays for Theater Atlanta when I was working at WSB Radio, and I appeared in a number of Columbus Little Theater productions before CLT morphed into the Springer Opera House, and then a few more productions there. I decided that the pay for all that work wasn’t adequate.  All the local actors did it for “the love of it,” but the Springer started bringing in outsiders who did it for the money. Once a dollar value was put on playing a lead in a play, I decided, no pay, no play.

I definately had a passion for being a radio announcer, which I satisfied by doing it, and when television came to Georgia, I decided I had a passion for that and did it for more than forty years. I got paid for that so I knew I was valuable. But, that passion has been satisfied and I don’t have it any more. I could still do it because…well, I know how.  If I came up with a specific topic I wanted to do a documentary on, I could become passionate about it.

I am passionate about my family, my children and grandchildren, and I have occasionally written about them, but I don’t want to invade their privacy so I keep that to a minimum.

I still love music, good theater, music, literature, art, and my interest in football has been rekindled. I am enjoying the Falcons this year. Maybe it’s because they are winning a few games. Also, I have been watching Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama and Auburn games.  Alabama is awesome. “Awesome” is a much over-used word, but, in this case, it really is an accurate adjective. I was glad they beat Auburn because losing six in a row in that classic rivalry made me feel sorry for them. The same with Georgia Tech and Georgia. Tech had lost seven in a row. That’s too much so I was glad they pulled off that three-point win.   

And, yes, I am passionate about politics, and I do occasionally write about that.

Maybe I’ll make Arianna happy and buy her book, or maybe I’ll check it out at the library and save the money, or maybe I’ll ignore it. It will just depend on my passion about it.