Two weekends ago, an event of monumental proportion took place in downtown Indianapolis. And the day after, there was a football game. Still, less than 24 hours after the Drum Corps International Annual Meeting, (known as the "Janual" by drum corps glitterati who are too hip for the room) the talk in Indianapolis centered on what the shows would look like when the DCI corps came back to Lucas Oil Stadium in August.
As any fan might be, I was psyched to be a part of all the drum corps action and in the middle of January no less. As I randomly confronted people in the hotel elevators, pointedly asking about the latest rules proposals, "Age change: Yes, no, or indifferent?" by far the most common response I received was, "Uh, I don't know. I'm here for the football game." Less common, but still statistically worthy of note was, "If you leave me alone, I won't call the police."
Many of us have drum corps on our minds year-round, and for me, being at the "Janual" was way more exciting than thinking about the Indianapolis Colts playing the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game a couple blocks over from the downtown Westin. I realized how hopelessly corps-addled and corps-specific my brain was when I had a slice of pizza Saturday night next to a couple guys wearing Jets swag. I had already figured out the Jets were playing on Sunday because the Westin was "Jets Central," hosting pep rallies and the team itself. Consequently, I think there were more Jets sweatshirts than at the Cadets' souvenir booth during one of their "West Side Story" years.
I asked the two men how Eli Manning had done this year, and if he would be competing against his brother, Peyton. (I knew about Peyton because he hosted "Saturday Night Live," and I knew about Eli because I turned on the last couple of minutes of his Super Bowl game against the New England Patriots, mainly because I was channel surfing looking for the Meryl Streep marathon.)
The men leered at me with the same look I probably give someone who says they wouldn't know Cadets Director George Hopkins from President George (either one) Bush. Then one said, "Eli's with the Giants. The Jets are the other football team that plays at the Meadowlands." To which I excitedly proclaimed, "The Cadets have a show at the Meadowlands. Have you ever seen George Hopkins walking around, looking for a bathroom mirror so he could comb his hair?"
Before we let the Jets slip away to the trash heap of historical footnotes, it should be noted on January 24 of this year, ProSportsDaily.com ran the following: "[Jets Coach Rex] Ryan is certain success is coming, so certain that his players cannot help but believe it, too. He beats his chest, and the players beat theirs, and soon enough, the Jets locker room sounds like a drum corps."
It was not specified, however, if the locker room sounded more like a G-bugle line or a B-flat line.
Now we're just days away from Super Bowl Sunday when the Colts (the one from Indianapolis, not Dubuque) will take on the New Orleans Saints.
The Colts have had a banner year on the gridiron, boasting a 14-2 regular season record, winning seven of those on their home turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. And with Drum Corps International now located in Indianapolis, frankly, I think it's nice that DCI has allowed the Colts to use our field during our off-season. As a result, some of our drum corps mystique is certainly going with the team to the Super Bowl down in Miami.
As a quick side note, I'm predicting the Colts (the drum corps), will also have a banner year in 2010 thanks to the success of their namesake NFL team. And to tell you the truth, World Championship glory may not be far away for the corps, perhaps as soon as 2011 which will be just prior to the Super Bowl taking place at Lucas Oil Stadium the following February.
Back to the success of the Colts (the football team) this year; I'll say it has something (oh come on, let's say EVERYTHING) to do with them playing on the Lucas Oil Stadium field after the corps of Marching Music's Major League properly broke in the turf this past August.
By my theory, the team didn't make it past the AFC Wild Card playoff game in 2009 because we didn't leave any karma on the field after all our corps performed in Lucas Oil Stad…oh, wait…we didn't perform in Lucas Oil Stadium the summer before. We went to Bloomington instead for reasons I've forgotten and apparently the winds of karma weren't blowing from the south that week.) So the aura left behind by the souls of the corps members and the soles of their shoes in 2008 was apparently not enough to guide the feet of the Colts' players across the goal lines in the playoffs.
Moral: Don't mess with drum corps.
You may remember the Colts last played in the Super Bowl in 2006 against the Chicago Bears and won. That was the same year DCI announced they would be moving the organization and the World Championships to Indianapolis. Was it simply a coincidence that DCI moved to the Circle City from the Chicago suburbs? I think not!
Also, keep in mind that the Colts' first Super Bowl victory was in 1971 when the team still resided in Baltimore. 1971 was also the year of the Combine, which was the precursor to the formation of Drum Corps International. In a meeting held a few blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium (We'll consider this the beginning of the Indianapolis Vortex of drum corps.), corps directors like Don Warren of the Cavaliers and the late, great Jim Jones of the Troopers helped put DCI on the map.
Delving a little deeper, 12 years after the Colts first won the Super Bowl at Orange Bowl Stadium in Miami, the DCI World Championships were hosted in the same venue. Twelve, of course, is also the number of Finalist corps at the DCI World Championships. Somewhere in this jumble is the supposition that Warren and Jones had something to do with the Colts football team moving to Indy, but I still have some research to do on that conjecture.
So, where does that leave us for Sunday's Super Bowl matchup? With the NFL/DCI stars so succinctly aligned, I believe we're looking at a narrow Colts win over the Saints to the tune of 94.4 to 94.0. I do expect the Saints to get a fairly high color guard score if they find the end zone for a touchdown celebration dance, which could keep them in the running, but it's going to be difficult for them to match the General Effect of Peyton Manning's passing attack. This all hinging, however, on the possibility of either team boycotting the game after they find out that The Who will be using electronics during their halftime performance.
As for me, I'll be sitting back and ranking the commercials.
Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than a quarter century and serves as a staff writer for various Drum Corps International print and Web projects. Boo has written for numerous other publications and has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating.
As an accomplished composer, Boo holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition. He resides in Chesterton, Ind.