Marching band deserves respect as equally valid sport

Clarinet players perform in a woodwind feature at the marching band’s parent show on Friday, Sept. 11. Photo by Ann Driggs.

Story by Annalise Bassett.

During my sophomore year, I ordered my letterman jacket. The green and white jacket was adorned with an FC patch on the front and several competition patches on the back. However, because I’m not in a traditional sport, I was not eligible for the Highlander mascot patch, nor was I eligible for the sport discount.

Last year, the Bagpiper published a guest column about cheerleading and how it has widely been disrespected as a sport. While I do not disagree with the statement, and I am sure cheerleaders deal with a lot of stigma around whether or not they are athletes, I would have to argue that even cheerleaders get more respect as athletes than marching band kids do.

Some may disagree with the opinion that marching band is a sport or that we are athletes. Sure, it is not a traditional sport, but we work just as hard as anyone in one. We run laps, do a body warm-up to stretch, and practice the basics of marching over and over again. In the end, we create a show in which we march, play music, and perform body moves, all of which is memorized. In a normal year, when competitions had not been canceled, we would compete against other bands at invitationals, Indiana State School Music Association [ISSMA] state level competitions, and Bands of America [BOA] national competitions. 

The definition of a sport has always been explained as an activity in which people exercise their bodies and compete against others either in a team or individual format. Since marching band does all of this, why is it not considered a sport?

Student athletes at FC have the opportunity to get something called a Flex PE credit after they have participated in one or two seasons, depending on the length of one, of their sport. Marching band is included in that group; we are allowed to apply one of our seasons to one of the required semesters of PE. If we receive this credit, the school is acknowledging that we do the work of any other sport.

Color guard, given it is a part of marching band, is also eligible for the Flex PE credit. However, the winter guard is not. According to athletic director Jeff Cerqueira, this is because the winter guard does not have the long band camp that marching band and color guard have. The Dazzlers have two long seasons, one in the fall and one in the winter, so they receive this credit while winter guard does not. 

While there sometimes seems to be a very clear-cut difference between sports and arts, there are several activities that I would argue are on both sides of that line. The Dazzlers, cheerleading, marching band, and guard all fall right in the middle of this. All four perform routines or shows that they are required to memorize and rehearse, but they all also have athletic practices in which they work out and get exercise. For some reason, however, marching band and guard are not considered as athletic as cheerleading.

Even on staff for the newspaper, we classify marching band in the A&E [Arts and Entertainment] section, instead of the Sports section. I would agree that band is, in fact, A&E, but there is a fine line between A&E and Sports where the Dazzlers, the cheerleaders, marching band, and guard all lie. The Dazzlers and the cheerleaders are both classified in the Sports section even though they also perform, because they were asked which section they want to be part of. Again, marching band and guard are definitely A&E, but there is something to that that makes me wonder why we jump to automatically classify marching band and guard as arts.

From this, an even bigger issue arises. The color guard and winter guard are not seen as sports at all, even though they do just as much work as band kids do. The argument here is often that guard kids are just dancers, but they do so much more. Guard kids spin flags and rifles, do complicated choreography, and do flips in the air. Sure, they dance, but the Dazzlers also dance. They are still considered a sport, so color guard should be one, too.

To be fully honest, I have never been to a cheer or Dazzlers practice, but I know that they do a lot of work to get to the level of skill they are each at. This is why I do not just blindly disregard them as athletes. All I ask is that people do the same for marching band and color guard. 

Before people jump to conclusions about marching band, think about how challenging it is for marching band kids to memorize and play music, march correctly to our spots on the field, and remember what our body movements are. Marching band is not some easy activity; it is a difficult sport.

Boys’ tennis wraps fall season, prepares for postseason

Senior Gabe Cora hits the ball back to his opponent during Senior Night on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. Photo by Brock Kennedy.

Story by Zoe Nowling.

The tennis courts at FC have been seeing a lot of action the past few months, but all of that is close to wrapping up.

The boys’ tennis season not only looks different because of the pandemic, but also because the varsity lineup has been revamped with fresh new players. The team has big expectations, not just for the regular season, but far beyond that into the postseason.

“Our team this year is fairly new. I mean, even though our varsity lineup contains both juniors and seniors and a sophomore, we have one returning player from the varsity lineup last year,” said head boys’ tennis coach Nick Roby.

The team is hoping to finish strong this season by reflecting on all they have accomplished thus far in the regular season and how much they have improved.

”My favorite part was playing in the Fishers Invite Tournament. We played well there,” said senior Cole Anderton.

This season has been far different from what the team expected. Because of the current circumstances and having last year’s season stripped away, there have been many successes and setbacks. 

“The season has had its ups and downs for the team, but overall I’m pretty happy with how I’ve done and with how the team has done,” said senior Gabe Cora.

As the regular season comes to a close, the team has one goal on their mind—the postseason, more specifically, regionals, where the team finished last season.

“I want to see us win regionals and go even further into the postseason playing our best,” said Cora. 

With all these goals in mind, the team is putting their best effort to get the results they want to see as they headed into and won the conference finals against Columbus East on Sept. 21, and they won the first round of sectionals on Oct. 1.

 “We have been working on a positive mentality and intensity to win the tough matches,” said Anderton.

The coaches know the potential their team has, and as this crucial time nears, they are putting hope in their players to get the job done.

“The start of my expectations is continuing our sectional winning streak and [getting] through sectionals and [preparing] our guys for regionals,” said Roby.

As the season starts to shift gears, facing rivals like Jeffersonville and New Albany will help the team prepare for the next level.

“If we are capable of getting them to play their best tennis, I feel like we can compete with anyone,” said Roby.

This belief is making Roby’s new varsity line up work harder during practice and matches in order to play at the level they want and to develop stamina on the court.

“We’re just trying to stay on them to have a positive attitude in every practice and every match; just keep their intensity level up,” said Roby.

With positive mindsets and the willingness to work, the team hopes to go far and make their dreams come true. Even though the hardest part of the season is ahead, they are being realistic in realizing what they can and cannot win without making improvements.

Roby said, “We’re not all perfect. Once you step out onto the court to the match, you’re not going to hit every shot. You have to be willing to miss some shots and forget about them, know that you’re going to make shots and miss shots. It’s the way sports is.”

Students, teachers offer study habit advice

Art by Scarlett Hatton.

Story by Hallie Funk and Josie Hardesty.

Math teacher Melissa Neal sits in her classroom as students walk in and head straight to their seats. Many come in alone and pull out their phone to distract themselves from the awkward silence of the room or maybe out of pure habit. The bell rings, and there is no need to tell the class to be quiet. It is already silent. 

“Classrooms are so quiet, with few people in them. It’s definitely unusual,” said Neal.

With masks, social distancing, and virtual learning, this school year has looked like no other. As school resumes, students and teachers slowly adjust to the new schedule. Homework is given, assignments get turned in, tests are taken, and grades are entered. The grades that students receive are normally influenced by how much effort they put into studying and completing their work. When students are involved in extracurricular activities, have a job, and still want time to live their life, how do they manage to study for seven different classes?

Some students’ ideal studying time is sitting quietly with their notes and iPad in front of them. Others study better in a group at a coffee shop or in their room listening to music.

Senior Collin Patrick, a fully virtual student, has enjoyed working from home. 

“I’m able to keep my environment simpler. I have really bad ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder], so being someplace like school introduces a lot of distractions that can make me zone out,” said Patrick.

 He believes that the extra time at home has benefited his study habits.

“I’ve had more time to actually study. Because of distance and clubs last year, I would get home really late,” said Patrick. 

Being at home has also allowed him to create new habits for himself. 

“I’ve been able to sit down after school and do practice worksheets and self checks, which have really helped me,” said Patrick.

Although being fully virtual has helped Patrick’s study skills, some students tend to work better in an in-person school environment. 

“The hybrid schedule isn’t the best way for me to learn, but I feel like I am more disciplined and have better goals for myself this year,” said junior Jenna Nolot. “Junior year is supposedly the hardest, so studying and trying to stay on top of things in my classes is important.” 

Good study skills are often underrated. Time spent studying can improve experiences while at school, offer a better sense of self-confidence, and improve grades overall. The extra time spent between the pages of a textbook can increase students’ knowledge and self-assurance to score higher grades.

Since every student has a different method of studying, people often wonderwhat the best way is. Good study skills can improve people’s ability to learn and retain knowledge. A common misconception is that people who easily understand subjects in school do not need to study. People often tend to believe that the more work they get done, the more information they know, which is also false. 

“Too often people imagine that long hours of studying are the best path to being a model, straight-A student. Yet research shows that highly successful students actually spend less time studying than their peers do—they just study more effectively,” said author and computer science professor Cal Newport, who teaches at Georgetown University. 

Some students enjoy studying with a group, rather than by themselves.

“I like to study with my friends who share classes with me, because sometimes they come up with different ways of memorizing and learning things, so I learn from them, too,” said freshman Macie Comingore.

The act of studying can take discipline if the person is not emotionally and physically motivated. Teachers have tried to provide ways to prepare for exams. Before the pandemic, Neal hosted study sessions at local coffee shops. Neal recommends that students make the most of her flipped classroom technique, in which students work on assignments in class rather than at home so they have the opportunity to ask questions if needed. 

“If the video is a long one, break it up into pieces. I know it takes a lot more self discipline. Reward yourself after getting one of your subjects done and make a goal for yourself,” said Neal.

Teachers are there to help with any problems students may have. Some teachers advise students to study in intervals, structure and organize the materials they are studying, and study out loud.

Neal also encourages students to reach out to their teacher during class and ask questions. “I know it’s a big step and it’s totally out of your comfort zone, but I can almost guarantee that whatever question you ask me, somebody else needs to hear the answer too.”

Hozier produces “Sweet Sounds” in newest album

Art by Scarlett Hatton.

Story by Sydney Landrum.

Last fall, I found myself stretching in my dance class when my instructor asked for suggestions for the next song we wanted to stretch to. One girl in my class suggested the song “Movement” by Hozier. Recognizing the name from his infamous song “Take Me To Church” from the album Hozier, I became intrigued to listen to this song from one of his newer albums. While our class was stretching to the song, I noticed how upbeat the instrumentals were and how the lyrics still seemed to be soothing. I went home that afternoon and listened to the entirety of the album.

The album Wasteland, Baby! came out in 2019 and consists of 14 songs. Hozier’s sound is a blues/ indie rock style. Throughout the album, he expresses sentiments of longing and love for a partner and powerful lyrics in each song. From the upbeat rhythms of “Almost (Sweet Music)” to the more laid back tones of “As it Was,” this album draws in lovers of soulful, slow music, as well as those who prefer a more upbeat and pop sound. Hozier draws listeners from a wide array of genres. This album is music to the soul for many of his fans.

Starting off the album is an upbeat sound with meaningful lyrics. The track “Nina Cried Power (featuring Mavis Staples)” creates a bone chilling sound. According to Billboard.com, an interview done with Hozier explained the meaning behind the lyrics of this hit. In this interview, Hozier explains that the song is a “testament to his love of rock and roll, a celebration of its gospel and R&B roots…” Within the lyrics, Hozier sings about singers Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, James Brown and Mavis Staples because of the legacy they have left on gospel and R&B music. Their names are sung one by one followed by the phrase “cried power” to insist that their music cried power over all. This song has to be one of my favorites from the album due to the strong meaning behind the lyrics.

Another one of my favorite songs from this album is entitled “No Plan.” This song incorporates a slower beginning that speeds up into a full rock instrumental background. The guitar part bounces back and forth multiple times throughout the song which adds more interest and detail. One of my favorite lyrics from the track goes, “My heart is thrilled by the still of your hand.” Hozier describes how there is “no plan” in what he wants with his love, and that he wants to be spontaneous. The chorus is followed by a bridge where Hozier shows off a mighty belt and is being backed by an almost choral sound. Background vocals appear in many songs on the album and add a sense of fullness to the songs. 

One other upbeat song that I adore from this album is “To Moise Making (Sing).” Towards the middle of this song the style switches to more of a gospel sound, which adds depth to the music. The chorus is repetitive, which makes it easy to learn and fun to sing along to. One of my favorite lines is “Remember when you would sing just for the joy of it.” I love the sense of reminiscence that is sung about within the song. This song is also an example of a use of background vocals to help add interest. Since the style in particular has more of a gospel feel, the background vocals have a more choral sound.

Throughout this album, Hozier combines a mixture of different genres and adds in special touches like background vocals that set his music apart from others. Each song has a unique set of lyrics that tell a story or have some sort of significance. With the raspiness and soulful power behind Hozier’s voice, this is a strong album. Some songs definitely stick out more than others — like “Movement” or “No Plan” — while other songs are a bit more bland and basic, but still have that Hozier finish. This album caters to a couple of different styles and genres, which widens the variety of listeners viewing this album. 

Hozier hit the nail on the head with this one. He stuck to what he knows how to sing best, and he delivered just that to his audience in this album.

Standout Tracks: “Movement,” “No Plan”

Rating: 8.5/10

Tracklist:

  1. Nina Cried Power (feat. Mavis Staples)
  2. Almost (Sweet Music)
  3. Movement
  4. No Plan
  5. Nobody
  6. To Noise Making (Sing)
  7. As It Was
  8. Shrike
  9. Talk
  10. Be
  11. Dinner & Diatribes
  12. Would That I
  13. Sunlight
  14. Wasteland, Baby!

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