Drum Corps International
Judging can be hazardous to your health

Judging can be hazardous to your health

by Drum Corps International

What's more dangerous, hockey or drum corps?Talk to Mark Petrash and you might get a surprising answer. Toward the end of the Seattle Cascades program this past Saturday night in Indianapolis, brass judge Mark Petrash headed off the sidelines and was whacked in the nose by a 10-foot-long "flex pole" being wielded by a guard member. Petrash thought the guard member was using a 6-foot pole, and therefore thought he was out of reach. "I wasn't even paying attention to her," Petrash said.Petrash's glasses flew off and he began bleeding profusely. "It was like a faucet turned on," Petrash said, although "it didn't really hurt."The wound probably needed stitches, but Petrash, who plays amateur hockey once a week near his home in Portola Hills, Calif., kept on judging, after bandaging the wound and making sure that he didn't bleed on his tape recorder. The show was delayed briefly while Petrash tended to his proboscis."It's pretty dangerous being out there!" Petrash said.When he's not out on the ice or on the field, Petrash is the music director at Serrano Intermediate School in Lake Forest, Calif. He's been a judge since 1991, and has judged more than 100 drum corps contests. Prior to becoming a judge, he marched four years in Cavalier Cadets, one year with the Velvet Knights and three years with the Cavaliers. He and wife, Cheryl (who never marched), have a German Shepherd/Australian Kelpie-mix dog named Jackson.Petrash is back home healing this week. He's applying the herb arnica to his wounded schnozz – that's the same stuff he uses for hockey injuries. As for the similarities between hockey and drum corps, Petrash cites the relative intelligence of those involved with both activities. "Hockey is an intelligent sport – and drum corps is an intelligent activity," Petrash said.

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