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Strike up the Marching Band

October 12, 2012 - Michael Palmer
A viral video of the Ohio State Marching Band halftime show illustrates a bone of contention I have with the OVER analysis of high school and college football. In the past the cameras would briefly pan across the bands at halftime, no longer. A crew of non-stop babblicious sportscasters are waiting in holding patterns all across the nation and in a sports center where all the data from Troy vs. Furman is discussed at great length with video highlights.

I want an option.

How about along with the Red Zone channel options for viewers, some marketing genius should initiate the all new Halftime Channel. Where fans who tire of watching lopsided match ups and games from far off campus gridiron locations I could care less about could instead be ENTERTAINED by talented musicians.

I have the option each week to ascend the steps to the press box and enjoy the free buffet provided by the local boosters for sports writers and coaching staffs, but I must confess I enjoy staying on the sidelines for the halftime shows.

While the football players are sweating in two-a-days, these young musicians, twirlers, flags and dancers are in band camp. They work hard each week polishing formations, music and learning new shows. So they have put in the work and deserve to get a modicum of respect as an integral part of the majesty of King Football.

Some of the local bands are disappearing, the numbers are dwindling. A few are still growing and doing quite well.

I was talking with Rich “Hoot” Gibson about this and he noted that the Friday Night Lights page of the Saturday Sports section has to be the most popular page in our paper. Hoot stated that the Times Leader is arguably the best sports coverage in the valley and is the only newspaper he knows of that takes the time and effort to highlight the army of support players that make the pageantry of local high school football possible.

I am not sure just who came up with the concept of Friday Night Lights, but they need to be cited for their intelligence, foresight and originality. It is my job each week to take some of the photos and put together the back page for FNL. It is a lot of work, but it is a labor of love.

It is the only time of the year that the hundreds of behind the scenes and secondary players in the spectacle of Friday football get their just dues.

While it is impossible to get everyone, we make an effort to spread it around and cover the bulk of the support players. Especially the marching bands. If they don't make the paper they are for sure on our CU photo pages online.

If you agree and like the coverage of halftime, e mail our management and let them know you appreciate the Friday Night Lights. Also e mail your favorite sports stations and see if we can get the Halftime Channel up and running for the 2013 collegiate season, perhaps as app?


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