Thursday, May 19, 2005

The journey...

Time for today’s installment of random randomness…actually it will probably make more send then the last couple of days since I am actually able to form a logical sequence of ideas for the first time in about a week! In any event away we go!

I will start of with some drum corps stuff today. I remember back in 2001 and also in 2002 when I said the best thing for this corps would be to finally lose. The corps had an unbelievable streak that went from the 2nd regular season show of 1999 all the way to the last regular season show of 2003. 50-something in a row, I can’t remember the exact number, including 3 full seasons undefeated. Many members of the corps never knew what it was like to lose, they didn’t know what 2nd place or 3rd place felt like, let alone not even making finals.

People quite simply got complacent. They felt like the deserved to win each and every time they stepped on the field, like it was some sort of prophecy or some sort of god given right that they were the best ever. The swagger of being great turned into the air of cockiness and that was just never a good thing for the organization. Finally one day it (the streak) ended. The character we showed in losing was unbelievable. Everyone could see something in us that they thought was never there. Oh my god, the Brigs are human after all. Coming in 2nd was a very humbling experience for some folks, though I think it was just the medicine we as a corps needed. Suddenly things came around in performance, a little more desire in practice and overall more energy.

2004 was more of the same, just a whole lot less people. Everyone wants to be with a winner, and many folks believed that after the 2003 season the Brigs were done. Financial problems certainly didn’t help. Neither did rumors about us folding. Even on our way to the first show our corps director received a frantic call, “Are you guys still coming because I heard that you aren’t fielding this year.” Yes we are coming and yes we have a very pleasant surprise for you. Our “dirty laundry” was aired out by former members of our organization as well as members of other organizations that we compete with. Last year we did quite well with what we had but we just didn’t have the package to win the championship. Performance yes, package no, though I still think the scores were lopsided in certain areas and not in others, but that is another story for another time!

So now 2005 is here. We are still having financial problems. We are by all accounts (at least by our peers in other organizations) having difficulty this year. And according to some we will never make the field because we simply don’t have cash. What people secretly don’t know is this group of people this year has the “it” factor. You can’t accurately describe “it” you can’t explain what “it” is. “It” is simply a state of being and a feeling that the group has as a whole. Something the group lacked even during the championship years. “It” was replaced by complacency and expectations. “It” was forgotten about by people that have had their hands on “it” before. “It” has long since been rediscovered and consumes us all every minute we are together.

This journey we are on this year is different. We are simply in this now for the “Love of the Game” and not for accolades and awards. Everyone is there for one thing and that is to be recognized as the best. The best EVER, how many people can say they were the best EVER at anything? No one that I know of. The best EVER is simply a journey with no end result. The best EVER could easily be defined with a number or a rating. The best EVER could be associated with past standards. The best EVER will end up with all of those things, but that is not what being the best EVER is all about. It’s about how we got there together despite the thousand obstacles that got in the way, despite the enormous amount of personal sacrifice by each individual, despite all of the things that were beyond our control, despite lack of money or support.

This is what it all about folks, the journey and not the result. To measure what you did by results is ultimately setting yourself up for a tremendous letdown. What are YOU focusing on…your results or your character. Never define yourself though personal achievements because there is always someone that is better. In fact personal achievements mean nothing to anyone out there except yourself…try a little experiment those of you tat have great accolades…go up to some random person today and ask them…”Do you know how great I am because of _______?” Wait until you get the answer. You’ll find that no one really cares about your achievements. It’s the experience, the journey towards this ultimate goal of best EVER that is important.

Will we ever get there? History and human nature say no. Everything you read in this world also points to no. Stay focused on the path and enjoy the ride, this truly defines who you are.


Anonymous said...


I felt a little revolt in my gut for the early part of the post where you said we didn't have enough desire or were complacent in at least some of the Championship years or where you said we lacked "it" in those years. I've heard you say we didn't have the work ethic in some of those years until, well, now! Some of your comments attribute our attitudes with what I think may have been "your" attitudes at the time. That's OK! We are all guilty of being ego-centric on occasion. Our work ethic especially last year was one of the great things about last year even though we didn't win the championship. That was what made 2nd place able to be tolerated. That and what Wayne said after the finals performance last year.

Anyway, I found myself agreeing with many things you said by the end of your writing. I consider you a great asset to our corps. That being said, I have to say that the God given right or prophecy comment was a little much in that we did some God given hard work to earn it. Also, I don't remember anyone expressing that thought of prophecy.

<< *becka* >> said...

well said shawn.


Shawn C. said...


Who are you? I have no problem with your opinion or your view of me. One thing I have never done is let up at pracitce ever during the season, I can not and I simply will not.

The 2001 and 2002 in my opinion had so much more room to grow, we did enough to win by a good margin, but never got where we were really capable of going despite what the score or the spread said. Both corps were on fire early in the season and both corps managed to win depite the intensity being turned down for most of the season (speaking from july to mid august)

The same thing happened in 2003 just to a different degree. Part of it was bringing down the overall intensity at rehearsals and to make the show and the corps more accessable to the fans and such. This was a good idea and needed to happen. Our level of performance was very good (especially at prelims) it just wasn't rewarded.

Last year was something entirely unique to all of us. To bear going through that tough of a winter was unbelievable. The desire of the membership that was there helped to make that corps what it is. The intensity was there for a while, you can ask the instructional staff as well, but after that 1st show it went into a serious lull.

I think it went there because of things beyond our control. Shows being cacelled and rained out, this is something you can't control, and you do lose your competitive edge when you are not competeing. We manage to pull out of a pretty serious dowfall toward the end of August and the results were pretty damn good. The performance at finals had moments in it that were simply unbelievable.

And that is what I am going for this year. To increase those moments. Those moments only come at the will of the membership. Pete touched on that last weekend.

That being said...I have never given up and I will never give up in practice. To me it sounds like the people around you never gave up, but I know the people around me surely did at times. My will isn't strong enough to control theirs, and that leaves me with a very deflated feeling. That is when my ego shines through. This year no july-mid august lull, and then go see what kind of performance we can deliver in finals...nothing short of phenomenal...that I'll guarantee.

Christine said...

People were complacent. People didn't want to work as hard. Hell people weren't showing up half the time!!!
Anonymous, i don't know in what bubble you marched Brigs during the championships years, but we weren't in the same bubble, that's for sure!
I was complacent too, i mean after 4 years of NEVER losing ANY show. You can't help but say: this is way too easy. Winning became boring as hell. Why work?
I was focusing of doing my job the best I can because i hate knowing i could of done better. But not everybody did that. It's a fact. Some individuals agreed to suck because we were so far ahead of the game. It's an attitude hard to control so it's nobody's fault really. And because te majority worked their ass off anyway it didn't show that much.

Just my 2 cents... or my .001 cent Canadian ;-)

Rick Roberts said...

one thing that I would like to point out here. One word -


2003 - EASY ASS SCHEDULE, untill August
2004 - a little more difficult schedule. The DCA Powers that be are finally getting it. The BIG BIYS so to speak, need to see each other more times during the season. Of course, only a few short years ago, this was a little more difficault to acheive, but over the past few years now, there is a solid consistentcy as to which corps are in the top 5.

my point: in 01 and 02 we didnt HAVE to work all that hard, especially through the months of July, competitively speaking. If we had seen the other "big boys" with more frequency, things might have been a little different, and I would even venture that your "complacency" comment would be a moot point at best.

One other note:
2002 - I felt that attendance wise, this was by far the BEST year in my time with Brigs. I don't think we were ever missing more than like 4-5 horn players on any given weekend. As a result, we had one of the best hornlines the Brigs have ever had. Period. My challenge to any one reading this:
What can WE, the 2005 edition of the Brigadiers, do to ensure that:
a. the elusive 10 remaining horns are AT practice?
b. that we have 60 horns at any given practice, at any given time?
how about it!