Drum Corps International
Free day: The ABCs of drum corps fans

Free day: The ABCs of drum corps fans

by Drum Corps International

By Marco Buscaglia Free day is a new DCI.org column that will run every other Monday. Drum corps fans come in all shapes and sizes. They're big, small, loud or quiet. And each person brings a unique presence to the stadium when attending shows. In fact, it takes all kinds of people to make a crowd. So in the spirit of the alphabet, here's a breakdown of the 26 types of drum corps fans. Truth be told, I consider myself to be a blend of 14 or so types listed below. And OK, I couldn't find a place for the rainbow-wig-wearing John 3:16 guy either. A -- The Age-out: More specifically, the recent age-out. She is often seen wiping tears from her eyes during her corps' warm-up, and secretly hoping that they score just a bit lower at finals than they did the previous year. Tries to get into local shows for free by borrowing staff pass, hitting up director for tickets or making sad eyes at gate. B -- The Band parent: Not quite sure where he fits in yet. Skeptical of drum corps parents who won't wear photos of their children on their shirts. Desperate to help, his heart aches when he watches others bring pit equipment on and off the field. C -- The Cook: Spends most of tour making food for 160 or so famished individuals. Too tired to enjoy the performances, she thinks the Crossmen are actually 135 marching strips of bacon. D -- The Die-hard: Hasn't missed a national championship since 1967. Spent honeymoon at "Key to the Sea." Wants ashes scattered at Warhawk Stadium in Whitewater, Wis. Shaves Spirit triangle into his head for finals hype. Owns corps-related vanity license plates, limited edition high-cam videos and enough Troopers apparel to clothe Plainfield, Ill. E -- The Enthusiast: The bread and butter of drum corps. Buys the souvies, travels to DCI finals each year and claps for everyone. He appreciates the new while holding onto the old and occasionally yells, "NOW THAT'S DRUM CORPS!" as he leaps out of his seat when Phantom Regiment hits closing chord. F -- The Fanatic: Can't understand why DCI isn't on ABC, or at least HBO. Wants drum corps to be Olympic sport. Still waiting for made-for-TV movie about 1975 Muchachos. Likes to tell others that he's "'Hard Corps' to the bone!" Wants to copyright "Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Blue Devils" CD. Has DCI office on speed dial. G -- The Groupie: Has way too much insight into one corps. Whether she knows the name of every Cadet snare drummer since 1973 or can tell you the home address of each person in the Glassmen pit, she is thisclose to receiving a restraining order after unannounced visit to Don Warren's station wagon. H -- The Husband: Dragged to shows with his wife, he usually sits in stands checking e-mail on his PDA. He knows enough to voice his appreciation for the Cadets, although he wishes their guard would wear something "a little bit tighter." I -- The Internet instigator: An expert on the activity, despite not having seen a show since the 1982 season. Still, that doesn't stop him from proclaiming the death of modern drum corps and slamming all those involved. More than 20,000 ignore his warnings and purchase tickets for DCI finals anyway. J -- The Joker: For the past 18 seasons, he has been making the obvious joke each time a corps takes the field. Likes to yell during performances, than sits with "Aren't I clever" grin on his face, immune to the blank stares from those around him. His personal favorites include yelling "GO SHIRLEY!" during performances by the Scouts and Cavaliers; yelling "GO JIMBO!" during performances by the Bandettes and yelling his own name and the names of his buddies during every other corps. K -- The Know-it-all: This fan never marched on a football field in his life, but he's sure that the Santa Clara Vanguard gets way too much credit for "some weak arranging," the Capitol Regiment are "getting hosed" and that the Cavaliers "shouldn't get rewarded for writing their drill first, then the music." He is loud much more often than correct, which is never. Purchases old judge's tapes on E-bay to use as sources for his dissertation. L -- The Loudmouth: His goal in life? "To make the CDs, man!" Heard yelling throughout corps performances, especially during ballads and backfield playing. Is convinced that "YEEEEOOOWWWWW!" impresses the Carolina Crown guard. M -- Mid-life crisis man: Age-out who finds "the corps" again after some sort of mid-life crisis, which is usually a divorce, plunge in 401(k) value or rapid hair loss. Follows corps from city to city, occasionally scaring members in the parking lot afterward with tales of debt-ridden, weight-gaining life in the "real world." N -- The Nose picker: You know who you are. Usually seated alone. If possible, keep fan in line of vision at all times. Do not sit in front of him under any circumstances. O -- The Old-timer: Says things like, "Why do they need all them instruments at the front of the field," "Three valves? When did they go to two?" and "Back when I marched ..." Still waiting for someone to "knock my socks off" with stirring rendition of "Tea for Two." P -- The Phone abuser: The fact that his cell phone rings during the show is annoying, but not as maddening as his insistence to talk on it after receiving a call during the ballad. Thrills nearby fans with scintillating conversation like, "I'm watching a drum corps show. Drum corps -- it's kind of like band. What are you doing?" Q -- The Quiet one: Offers polite fingertip clapping after each performance. Wishes drum lines would "keep it down." R -- The Runner: Usually a good fan, but steady diet of Mountain Dew and pork rinds on trip from Hamburg, N.Y. to Allentown, Pa., have him leaving his seat more often than he had planned. S: The Sleeper: Related to the Runner, this fan is too tired from the drive to the show to enjoy any of the corps. Distinction of sleeping through 1975, 1988 and 1995 Madison Scouts. Often the object of tossed popcorn from band kids who are sitting a few rows back. T -- The Talker: Has plenty to say during each corps' performance, most of which is irrelevant. Often heard yelling in friend's ear during sudden volume shifts or abrupt endings, saying things like, "Did you catch 'Meet the Press' last week?" U -- The Unemployed: Attends 25-30 shows each year. Asks various corps directors if he can "crash at the school" if he helps line the field in the morning. Hasn't worked since 1991. V -- The Victim: Each performance is a personal slap in the face to this fan. Whether it's "Don't they know I hate Gershwin?" or "They're using sabers just to bug me", this fan is absolutely confident that programming directors make it a point to annoy her during at least one point of the show.

W -- The Wife:(Related to the Husband): The wife attends shows to enjoy the snappy banter between her husband and his friends later in the parking lot -- at least that's what her husband thinks. She would read Glamour, Working Woman or Popular Mechanics during the show if she knew she could get away with it -- and sometimes does. X -- The Xenophobe: If it's not his corps, it's just not good. Saves applause for one corps, scowls at the others. Would love to strap on brass knuckles and call out Boston Crusaders in the parking lot. Z -- The Zealot: Usually an alumnus of a corps, he's the organization's most valuable volunteer -- just ask him. Often seen at corps' home show wearing ID badge while bossing around other volunteers and harassing fellow alumni to buy some shirts. Sometimes found stalking judges in parking lot. Marco Buscaglia can be reached at marcobuscaglia@hotmail.com .

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