Getting Old…

A lot has happened in the month-and-a-half since my last post here. It can all be summed up in three words, however: I’m Getting Old!

While generally speaking, 21 is not an age that most would consider old, there have been a few things that have happened over the past 6 or so weeks that have made me much more aware of the fact that I’m “growing up” and soon will be in the “real world.” Allow me to list a few:

  1. Turning 21 – Yes, the biggest sign of my aging hit me on the 21st of July, when I celebrated my 21st birthday. While the evening was a blast, and a lot of fun to share with great friends, one of them said it best when he noted, “it’s all downhill from here!” 21 is really the last age at which there is any “reward” for a birthday (for those of you out of country-if there are any-I am now allowed to consume alcohol), so my friend made a great point when he pointed out that from here on out, there really isn’t anything to look forward to on a birthday except the knowledge that you’ve lived another year.
  2. Staffing a Band Camp – I have now participated in 7 band camps (plus one drum major camp) as a member of a marching band. In early August, however, I had the opportunity to work as a staff member for a band camp for the first time, helping a friend who recently graduated from UMiami with her second band camp as a teacher. This was a really eye-opening experience, and helped me develop my marching band teaching skills immensely. On top of that, it was downright fun!
  3. UM Band Camp – I began my third year as a member of the Band of the Hour this August, with band camp here in Miami. This year, I hold two leadership positions in the band; I am the Band Captain, as well as a Section Leader for the trumpet section. It’s hard to believe that I am starting my third year with the band, and even harder to believe that I only have one year left after this one.
  4. Junior-Level Classes – Since the first day I arrived on campus in 2007, I heard horror stories of the insane course load of Junior year in the Music Education program. I heard stories of people averaging 3 hours of sleep for the whole year, having to skip meals to finish projects, and having no sense of social life. While the semester has just started, it seems as though these stories may have been slight exaggerations. What really struck me, however, was the realization that all the projects I have heard the “older” Music Ed majors complain about for the past two years, the projects that classified someone as “old” once they had to do them, are now being found on my syllabi. Now, I’m the old person, who will probably be complaining about the massive load of projects an assignments come November.

All of these events, of course have been positive ones in my life, but when you put them all together, they are also a stark reminder that pretty soon, I’ll be graduating and starting a new stage of my life. Scary, huh?

In other news, the first football game of the season is just over a week away, as the Band of the Hour and the University of Miami family will travel up to Tallahassee this weekend to watch the ‘Canes take on rival Florida State in a prime-time game on ESPN on Labor Day. Keep an eye out for me on ESPN, and stay tuned for updates on this blog, and on my Twitter page!

Emerald Bowl Recap: Part 2-The Game

Miami UNow that you’ve heard my vent about the hospitality (or lack thereof) that the University of Miami received in the Emerald Bowl, it’s time for another recap: the game itself. This middle episode of my 3-post series of Emerald Bowl recaps will discuss the game itself, my thoughts about the team and some players, and my thoughts about the future of ‘Canes football. Let’s get started, shall we?

The game started slow for the ‘Canes, and extremely fast for Cal halfback Jahvid Best, who put two touchdowns on the board for the Golden Bears in the first quarter with runs of 1 and 42 yards. Miami struggled to produce much of anything on offense, going 3-and-out in their first four drives. Finally, in a drive that toook up the last two minutes of the first quarter and the first two minutes of the second, true-freshman quarterback Jacory Harris engineered an impressive 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Laron Byrd. At halftime, Cal led 14-7, although the ‘Canes were lucky to still be within one score.

Harris, who with the exception of the TD drive struggled in the first half, came to life after halftime. After 3-and-outs from both teams began the half, Harris drove the ‘Canes downfield again and tied the game up with a 7-yard pass to Thearon Collier. Best, though, wasn’t to be denied, as he came back for Cal and had a few big runs to drive the Golden Bears inside the Miami 5 yard line. The UM defense held, though, producing a goal-line stand that forced Cal into a field goal, making the score 17-14.

The ‘Canes and Harris put together another solid drive, making it into the Cal red zone with a chance to take the lead if they could get into the end zone. The California defense stepped up, though, just as Miami did, and forced the ‘Canes into a game-tying FG. The game got interesting when Cal drove down the field on the legs of Shane Vereen, setting up a 34-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Bears the lead. The field goal was wide, though, and the ‘Canes took over with a chance to drive down the field and take the lead. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t meant to be, as on the third play of the drive, linebacker Zach Follett made his way into the backfield, sacking Harris and forcing a fumble that set up a Nate Longshore TD pass for Cal, making the score 24-17.

This is where my griping begins. The ‘Canes took posession with 2:41 on the clock and one time-out, which is ample time to drive for a touchdown. Instead, in the two-and-a-half minutes that ensued, Miami put on about the worst display of clock-management I have ever seen, and ended up wasting roughly :45 seconds of game time getting to the line of scrimmage, only to have Harris throw and incomplete pass, and then for the ‘Canes to burn their final timeout, once the clcok was stopped. They gained barely half the hards they needed to make it to the end zone, and flew home with a 24-17 loss.

With the exception of the clock management, though, I was not as disappointed with the game as most were. I thought Harris looked good, and as the game continued his passes became more precise and he didn’t seem as timid. The defense did the best they could to combat the explosive running of Jahvid Best, and if it weren’t for the awful playcalling by (now former) offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, the ‘Canes could have won this game. I’m looking forward to the future, though, as Harris will now have the starting job with redshirt freshman Robert Marve‘s impending departure. With both offensive and defensive coordinators gone, coach Randy Shannon looks to be committed to turning this program back into one of the elite college football programs in the country. I look forward to seeing what he can do with it!

Emerald Bowl Recap: Part 1-Hospitality

And thus will begin the first of (what will hopefully be) a trifecta of posts recapping the University of Miami “Band of the Hour” and our recent trip to San Francisco, Califonia to play in the Emerald Bowl against the University of California-Berkley (a.k.a. “Cal”). It was an extremely busy and eventful weekend, both good and bad, and I thought the best way to break down all the events of the trip would be to separate my recap into three sections: the hospitality that UM and the “Band of the Hour” experienced while in San Francisco, a recap of the game, and a commentary on my personal experience on the trip. This is the first of those three sections: a recap on the hospiatlity that we experienced.

As a preface, this will most likely be the most bitter of all the sections, as, despite the loss in the game, I was the least impressed with the welcome that we received from the Emerald Bowl organization.

I’ll start with the good, though. I was very pleased with the welcome that everyone from Miami receieved from the San Francisco residents. Everyone we met walking the streets of San Francisco (more on this in later posts) that was not wearing Cal colors (and even some that were!) were very friendly, welcoming us to their city and asking if we were enjoying our trip. The owners of restaurants and shops were polite and friendly, and the city as a whole was extremely beautiful.

Unfortunately, the Emerald Bowl organization did not show us the same amount of enthusiasm. At our first pep rally, Gary Cavalli, the Executive Director of the Emerald Bowl said something to the effect of, “It has been our dream for the seven years we have had the Emerald Bowl to have the University of California play in our game.” Miami’s only claim to fame, according to Cavalli, was that we were a “prestigious program with lots of history.” There was no mention of any specific deesire by the Emerald Bowl organization to have Miami as a part of their game.

The organization of the actual game was not much better. Seating-wise, the “Band of the Hour” also found itself at a disadvantage. The seating chart for the game was as follows:

Emerald Bowl Seating Chart

Click the image for a larger version. The Cal band had seats along the right end zone, in section 137. The “Band of the Hour?” Why we were up the “third base line,” one section back, in section 121. Half the band was underneath the overhang from the upper deck. Since we were so far away from the field, the ESPN crews didn’t have a very good opportunity to reach the band, and we got almost no TV time, as compared to the Cal band, who was on quite a few times.

The game was destined to be a frustration from the beginning, by the fact that Cal was exactly 12 miles from their campus and Miami was 3,117 miles from campus. It was frustrating, though, how what was supposed to be a neutral site that had bias from the fans turned into a neutral site that had bias from the organization, as well.

Stay tuned for my next post, a recap on the game itself!

Monday Night Football

In an effort to have something to do tonight, I’m going to be live-blogging the Monday Night Football matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers! I’ll be doing my live-blogging using Twitter, and you can follow my updates by checking out my Twitter page. I’ll also be using the Twitter hashtags #mnf (Monday Night Football) and #bears, so you can search for all Twitter updates from all users by searching those tags (click the links on each hashtag to open up the search 🙂

If you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow me @Zweibz7, and do your own live-blogging! I’d love to have some fun conversations with you about the game!

Go Bears!!