I want to first off start by saying that I started this column three or four times. I typically try and pick one topic and make a coherent column of what I think is pure genius. However, this time there is no such luck, as I have a few things I would like to share. First, hockey season was officially cancelled yesterday -- like any hockey fan actually thought there was a glimmer of hope -- but the official notice destroyed any hope we had.

Becky Novac
Now, my question is, what would happen if all of a sudden a DCI season would be cancelled? In all honesty, the upheaval would be compared to the Los Angeles riots. Besides performers, staff and fans that are directly associated with the activity, a multitude of others would join the riot. Band directors from across the country would no longer return to students who have improved their embouchure and tone quality 250 percent in such a short amount of time. Parents would no longer have the break that they would never admit is nice and quiet. I think we would do what the major league hockey players did and go play for the minors, but it's not the same. Then again, we're not complaining about salary caps and contracts. Can you put a price on marching? I'm talking an actual price; not the sacrifice or intangible prices we put on ourselves everyday something hurts or becomes bruised. OK, tour fees are tangible, but I often forgot about them until I opened my credit card bill in August. The contract I sign does mention the aspects of physical appearance and uniform etiquette, but nowhere does it give a clause as to what would happen if DCI disappeared. DCI is an evolutionary organization with enough supporters that would save the summers for us performers, even if they never were a member. Almost every drum corps has been in some financial trouble and there is always that one person that saves the day. For the Bluecoats, we know who these people are, and when they come to practice, you sense the needs for perfection -- even if it's only June -- and even if you only had one show and it was a rain-out. I don't think anyone can save the NHL right now. Moving on to my next topic. I had double alumni experiences this week, both of which make me proud. I met up with an old college professor over the weekend. I never had Wayne Hilinski as an actual professor, but we worked closely together at the newspaper, since he was on the board of directors. In fact, he was the business manager back in the day when he attended Penn State. I was the business manager when I was a senior as well. Whenever Wayne is in the city, he tries to get all the alumni together for a happy hour drink on him. He likes to stay in touch. I have no idea how many Penn State advertising alumni there are in the city, but from the massive e-mail that went out, I would guess a lot. It was great to see Wayne and talk "shop." He knows so many people in the city, he just keeps telling us who to contact for what. Wayne is a one-stop networking catalog. Wayne was extremely happy to see us recent graduates. I think we made his week. What made my week was receiving my first string of Bluecoat alumni event planning committee e-mails. I attended my first alumni meeting back in November; in fact, it was the first formal meeting of the newly formed Bluecoats alumni association. Kelli Stickney, a favorite alum of mine, was deemed the chair of the events planning committee, and if Kelli was planning the parties, I wanted to try and help her. Besides, the other committees didn't seem that appealing. I got my other female alumni to sign up as well. I'm not sure what help Erin, Jenn J. and I can do with our busy schedules, but we'll try to help. My corps director tried to persuade me to work the souvie van for a week -- I graciously declined, citing a lack of vacation time. No doubt, though, I'm proud of both alumni associations that I am apart of. Penn State's alumni association has already proven to be the best, and the Bluecoats alumni association is well on its way there. Lastly, I would like to touch base on what some deem a horrible holiday -- Valentine's Day. I LOVE Valentine's Day. I even love it when I don't have a Valentine. Sure, I loathe at the couples who are together, happy holding hands, and eating at a nice restaurant, but at the same time I'm happy for them. It's a mysterious event that happens when you love something or someone else. You want others to feel the same way, or at least I do (without getting sappy about my relationship because no one wants to hear that). I love the drum corps activity, and anyone who has gone through just one summer knows how amazing it is. Why would you wish the same feelings upon someone else? Which brings me back to a point that I have made several times. We are the lucky ones, the ones who have gone through a summer containing every emotion possible, including passion and love. I know Valentine's Day is different, but I still don't think there's any reason to hate it. I apologize for the hodgepodge of topics but at least I didn't have to start writing again. 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. Past columns by Becky Novac: Dates Everyone needs goals Adapting Turning pro Wondering about the "kids" Resolutions It's the little things A Rock star Remembering the passion Banquet weekend Missing out Unknown suitcase adventures The Even years