Kristin Kray
This week's column can be easily related to a popular children's show. I know you have all heard about it -- and if you haven't, then you need to get out of that cave of yours. The show is "Dora the Explorer." Have you noticed how much stuff she manages to pack into that dang backpack of hers?

Now you're probably wondering how some children's show is supposed to relate to the drum corps activity. Well, the answer is pretty plain and simple. The majority of corps members bring a backpack with them while on tour. Each person's belongings in the backpack vary. But many contain a few similar items.

The horn line and drum line must have a music folder with them. Those darned mid-season music changes are just a pain in the butt! But if you have the music handy, it takes a lot of stress off your part. A dot book with extra pencils is a must. Major drill and visual changes seem to happen regularly throughout the season. By keeping pencils handy, you will help things go along quicker. Oh, a piece of advice: Make sure you buy an extra dot book and write all your sets in it. You never know if you're going to lose a dot book, or erase it so heavily that you can't read it any longer. Meanwhile, it just might melt away from the sweat and rain. Each person's bag varies. I know people that have carried their CDs and CD player in their bags and have listened to music on their way out to the practice field. Others carry a folder full of letters, pictures or other things that remind them of home.

By the end of the summer, it's amazing how much stuff has managed to get into that backpack. You go home and start to unpack. As you pull out different items, you somehow manage to remember where they came from: Where you picked up that random golf ball, or what wall you "borrowed" that sign from. It's the little items like that that remind you of the lighter side of practices and the lighter side of what drum corps can be like.