Wednesday, September 24, 2008

THE VIEW FROM SOUTH CAROLINA

SHAME ON THE PRINCENTON BAND

By Ken Burger , The Post and Courier - Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Princeton Band, known for its antics on the field, earned the wrath and disdain of Citadel cadets Saturday by its misbehavior off the field.

As one of the infamous "scramble bands" at various brainy schools across the country, the Princeton Band came to town for its first visit when the Tiger football team played The Citadel at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

These bands, made up of students and alumni, are often funny and clever with their irreverent attitude toward the traditions of college football.

A few hours before Saturday's game, 40 or more band members strolled down Hagood Avenue in front of the stadium. As the motley crew passed by, many tailgating Citadel and Princeton fans were amused by their coonskin caps and toilet-seat drums.

That, however, is where they should have stopped.

Instead, they meandered a few more blocks onto The Citadel campus where the band of druthers ran head-on into the band of brothers.

Eyewitness reports say the clownish band members, mocking the military school, paraded all too close to the campus's central parade field where cadets were taking part in Field Day exercises.

When they turned and started sashaying down the "Avenue of Remembrance" in front of the school's library, a group of highly irritated cadets surged toward them in a very menacing manner.

"It was awful," one cadet said of the incident. "They're lucky they didn't get killed."
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. But, the bad blood spilled over into the afternoon's game. When the Princeton Band came out to perform at halftime, the entire Corps of Cadets booed them roundly, loudly and continuously while they attempted to perform.

Granted, such a show of contempt deserved to be booed even by an objective audience. Their show, which included band members humping each other on the field, crossed several lines of respect and decency.

In case you're wondering, Citadel officials knew of the band's raucous reputation and approved their script before the game. Groups like this, however, are all about disrespecting authority.

Not that it mattered. Fans at the game could not hear anything the band said or played as the chorus of boos from the cadets completely drowned them out.

Later, with only a few minutes left in the game, a squad of cadets encircled the Princeton Band in the stands. This culture clash lasted a few minutes before the cops broke it up.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs taught the Tigers a thing or two about football, winning the game 37-24.

When asked about the incidents, Citadel spokesman Jeff Perez said of the cadets' halftime behavior, "We hold them to a higher standard. We will speak to them about the booing."

Heck, instead of a tongue lashing, the entire Corps of Cadets should be given a medal for standing up for their school.

The Princeton Band, meanwhile, should be ashamed. All those pseudo-intellectuals and not a single brain among them.

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