Monday, February 8, 2016


I don't know what the English the Australians the Germans your country's athletic supporters do during halftime at football rugby soccer cricket futbol your favorite sporting event -- indeed, I do not know whether you even have a halftime during your favorite sporting event -- but here in the good old Yew Ess of Ay what happened during last night's Super Hideously Excessive Extravaganza Bowl is in no way typical.

Your average high school or college football game here in my country does not have Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem nor does it have Cold Play, or Bruno Mars, or Beyoncé and her minions performing (and I use the term loosely) a tribute to the Black Panthers.

No, indeed. We leave that to The Professionals.

Out here in Amateur Land, in Realville, where ordinary people live, we have marching bands.

Back in my day in my little town of Mansfield, Texas (population then: 964; population now: 65,000), when we marched onto the field at halftime on Friday nights our band had majorettes in front wearing boots and short, short, short satin skirts, twirling their batons and swiveling their hips, making their parents in the grandstand proud and thoroughly distracting the trombone players in the front row. But our high school band had only 46 members. We could make two -- count 'em, two -- formations. The first one was a football with laces down the center, which we presented to the visitors side. The second one was a letter M, which we presented to the home team side. On a typical Friday evening, if even only a few people were missing, none of the athletic supporters on either side of the field could make out what our formations were supposed to be.

It is therefore with great joy and not a little envy that I now present to you a wonderful (albeit a bit militaristic) salute to the U.S. armed forces in a halftime show performed by The University of West Virginia Mountaineers Marching Band! (about 5 minutes long).

(Full disclosure: I didn't watch the Super Bowl. I read about it this morning. So I suppose there is a fair amount of sour grapes in this particular post. Instead, I watched reruns of old episodes of Cops for a while, then topped off the evening with Downton Abbey, series 6, episode 6 -- the one in which Thomas the under-butler is seen weeping alone in the dark at the end of the program. I pray you are not doing the same at the end of this post.)


  1. Hahahaha. I'm not crying yet no. They turn these games into strange circuses it seems, when the focus would be better on the actual sport in question. A marching band is good though, and now I'm singing 'Seventy Six Trombones' and it's all your fault!

  2. We do indeed have half-time in many sports in the UK, but usually this is just to give the crowd a chance to buy drinks or food or generally just stretch their legs. Any on field entertainment is usually confined to competitions for selected spectators to enter penalty taking competions and the like, but are usually only of interest to those taking part.

    There was a time though when a band would come on to the field at half-time in football (soccer) matches but those days have long gone I'm afraid.

  3. Michelle/AC, I'm guilty as charged.

    Ian/SP, thank you for that insight into your nation's cultural decline.