Last night, I watched one of my favorite summer shows, "Dancing with the Stars." For those of you that have never watched the show on Wednesday nights, basically celebrities are paired with ballroom dancers and perform one dance live. Each week the judges' score is combined with the viewer votes from the prior week and the lowest scoring couple is eliminated. The show is doing very well for a summer premiere.
I knew I would love the show, but I wasn't sure how America would take to ballroom dancing. I always watch the international ballroom dancing competitions on TV, but I doubt that most of the show's viewing audience ever sat and watched the jive, waltz, quick step, and rumba. Finally, ballroom dancing, or "DanceSport" as it is sometimes called, is getting household recognition. My friends think I'm crazy for watching "Dancing with the Stars," but then they remember that I watch a lot of "weird" TV. When I was younger, I watched lumberjacking competitions on ESPN for no reason besides the fact that I thought wood climbing and chopping was cool. I remember one incident where my brother tried to change the channel while I was trying to enjoy a lumberjacking event. I screamed with fury. My dad told my brother to change it back because, "One day your sister might want to be a lumberjack." I watch the collegiate and high school cheerleading and dance championships on ESPN as well. I could never do any of the things that those teams accomplish. I think I watch with a small ounce of envy. I grew up going to the racetrack almost every weekend since I was 4 years old. No, not NASCAR, but quarter-mile drag racing. My father began drag racing when he was younger and passed it along to my brother and I would be the faithful assistant. My dad always said if he won the lottery that he would send me to drag racing school. For my 12th birthday my dad rented a junior dragster for me to race. It didn't go faster than 40 mph, but I managed to get the fastest time ever for the dragster. The three of us watch a lot of drag racing on TV and from time to time I still watch it by myself. I watch a lot of other "weird" television programs, but the above are probably the most obscure. Like "Dancing with the Stars" is giving national exposure to a once-niche activity, ESPN2 is giving the same opportunity to DCI. I am so excited that finally everyone on the field is getting the national exposure they deserve. I look at this opportunity for DCI to get household recognition, because somewhere out there someone has never heard of drum corps. I started playing the flute in 4th grade. I knew what I wanted to play from watching symphonies on PBS as a child, but to help us decide, the band director showed us each instrument and demonstrated the sound each one produces. Most girls picked the "pretty instruments" and the boys all wanted to play trumpet or drums. From elementary school on, it becomes a struggle for band directors to find quality low brass instrumentalists. Hopefully, after watching the national DCI broadcast, some child will want to play the tuba when he gets to 4th grade. Nothing but great things can happen for this activity after the broadcast. That superstar feeling that I talked about in a column a while back is almost coming to fruition. After this summer, everyone on the field can say I was on ESPN2 once. Becky Novac currently lives in Hoboken, N.J., and works for Universal McCann in New York City as an assistant media planner. She is 22 years old and a recent graduate from Penn State University where she majored in journalism and psychology. Becky marched with the Bluecoats in 2000, 2002 and 2004 as a member of the color guard.