Battle of the bell?
Yes, tonight is the night my high school plays its #1 rival, a competition that has long been called “The Battle of the Bell.” The Cameron Yoeman take on the Rockdale Tigers, and while I live over 800 miles away, I still feel that old competition course through my veins.
According to the History of Rockdale, Milam County Website, (and, yes, I am quoting word-for-word here):
The Rockdale-Cameron game is one of the state’s best rivalry games.Since 1954, the winner has proudly rung a big brass victory bell, which is symbolic of Milam County football supremacy. The bell, taken from a steam locomotive, was donated to the two schools by the Rockdale, Sandow & Southern Railroad in 1954. Bragging rights to Milam County football supremacy come with the bell; therefore, the two communities encourage their charges to bring home the brass beauty for another year. Over the years the bell has helped fuel one of Texas high school football’s longest and most-storied rivalries.
That same bell was the one that we fought over when I was in high school. I was proud when the bell came back to Cameron one year, we did repaint it the more traditional half maroon and gray (Cameron) and half blue and gold (Rockdale). It didn’t last though, and each year it went back to being painted the color of whatever school had it for that year.
The bell broke multiple times over the years, and one time was actually stolen and thrown into the Little River (which runs through Milam County). I have to say, I had plenty of time even I wanted to throw the bell in the river. The rivalry could get as ugly and nasty as any college rivalry until I had times I wondered if it was worth the stress. However, at the end of the day, I will always have an interest in the rivalry.
As I said, the bell broke many times over, and in 2001 it was replaced with a new, almost identical, brass bell by Yoe High School graduate Catherine Thomas. Fitting considering the fact that my CAMERON YOEMEN hold the winning record for the series. According to a post on the Cameron Yoeman Facebook page, we won 38 times in the 55 meetings: 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1969, 1971-75, 1978, 1979, 1981-87, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996 – 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008
Hopefully tonight we will make it win 39 in 56.
This is one of the very few years Cameron and Rockdale will battle without being in the same district. In fact, currently Cameron is ranked 2A, while Rockdale remained 3A in the recent district realignments. In the past, this game has been left for the last game of the season. Often its even been the game that decided which team would move into playoffs.
This year, it is played early and with nothing but a bell and bragging rights on the line… oh that and to move on with an undefeated season. When it comes to this game, district rankings and the years win-loss stats matter none, though. This is about heart and a deeper rivalry that Hollywood blockbusters are made from. I’ve lived that rivalry… and tonight I sit here in my old Battle of the Bell t-shirt with my school’s song playing in my head…
“On Yoe High” (Written by Portia Kruse and Francis Cox) Praise to our school we sing, each his loyal honor brings; Together we the Yoemen stand, to spread our praise through all the land. To represent as best we can, in all our competition, and our hopes, our pride, our love compound in you, dear school.
Yay Maroon! Yay Gray! Yay Yoemen! ALL THE WAY!!
Fight Song: “Our Boys Will Shine Tonight” Our boys will shine tonight; our boys will shine. Our boys will shine tonight; our boys will shine. Our boys will shine tonight; our boys will shine. When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, our boys will shine.
>> Post game update: Cameron Yoemen take the win 35 – 13! GO BIG YOE!! <<
I love BOOKS. It’s not just the stories they tell or the worlds they create, its the feel and smell of a book. It’s a book’s character, how every folded page or coffee stain shows use and love. It’s a worn out spine. It’s a scratched up cover.
It’s a book.
I got on this topic after/during a debate with a friend on Facebook who just purchased a Kindle. (Sorry Dave! You never know what might turn into a blog post!) If you don’t know what a Kindle is, its an electronic book reader. It does more than just let you read books, but in its most basic description, its a book reader.
I happen to be one of those people who staunchly wants to keep books in book form. Before I go into my laundry list of reasons, I will in all fairness give the Kindle these kudos:
1 – You can carry a LOT of books in one small electronic device. In less space than one paper back book, you can have multiple books available right at your fingertips.
2 – Saves paper and trees. (However, my father-in-law was a logger and that is how many people make their living. Plus, no one ever seems to notice that they do replant trees after they take grown trees out.)
3 – You can do more than just read books on a Kindle. Although, my phone can also surf the web, play music, etc.
4 – I have to admit, being able to search for a phrase or section of a book with a few clicks is really, really cool.
Okay, I’m done playing nice. Now why I won’t use a Kindle. At least not any time soon. (I have to leave myself an out, you know, in case a moment of weakness comes and I go over to the dark side.)
1 – Like I said before. I love the feel and smell of a book. I happen to be one of those people who really loves going to the library and being surrounded by book after book after book. Its sensory overload for someone like me!
2 – When on a plane, I don’t have to wait to open my book, nor do I have to close it for landing. I regularly, when I fly, hop in my seat and open my book immediately. I read until the wheels touch down. I only pay attention to the “electronic devices” guidelines in regards to the iPod or maybe my camera if I am in a “take pictures from the plane” mood.
3 – I never have to worry about the battery dying. Granted, from what I have read about Kindles, they have stupid long battery life. But, hey, books don’t need batteries…
5 – If I am on a desert island (because you never know when THAT might happen), I can read my book and then use it to start a fire and keep me warm.
6 – I never have to worry about losing my books to a dramatic hard drive crash or something of that nature. I just have to worry about a lighted match.
7 – If I drop my book, I don’t have to gasp in horror if I broke it. I can throw in my purse and not worry about scratching it up (even though I AM a stickler for keeping my books nice) or it breaking. Heck, a broken spine on a book shows use to me, and it is like a badge of honor.
As we go more to a digital world, more and more things that have been staples of the past are fading away. There’s a good chance that books will be next. Newspapers are already having to change their mode of operation.
Through our history, we’ve advanced as a people through technological innovations. Kindle, and other such book readers, are another step in our advancement. I acknowledge that. I’m just also a sucker for the ways and times of the past, and books represent that to me. Perhaps a big part of that is the fact that growing up, I always had a book in my hand. It went everywhere with me. Books to me not only represent where am going with my future, but they also represent where I came from.
And forgive me, but I am not ready to let that go yet.
A couple years ago, I was an active participant in a group on LiveJournal called, “A day in my life.” To participate, you photographed your day from beginning to end, and then submitted it in a post to the group. I really, really wish I’d done that for Monday, Labor Day, because it was a day that really showed two sides of the music business for a musician.
My day started by getting up to go pick my husband up at the bus. They were running a couple hours late (which I didn’t mind, because it gave me an extra hour of sleep!) so this was one time in which I pulled up to the bus and my husband jumped right into the truck. He was already late for a session, and he still needed to shower and grab a bite to eat.
So after a fast burrito and taco at Taco Bell and a super fast shower, he was off to the session. He asked me to go with him this time, though, since we’d not seen each other in four days. I had wanted to go, but I was really worried about being in the way. He reminded me that he was going to be working with friends, and he reiterated that he wanted me to go. So… I did!
We arrived to the studio, and I have to admit… I was in a little bit of awe, even as I tried to play it off as being no big deal. I grabbed a seat in the control room (in a nice big, soft leather lounge chair) and I proceeded to play on Twitter and Facebook much of the afternoon — I was trying to follow the MDA Telethon as best I could.
Okay, so in reality it was me just trying to still pretend like this was no big deal, even if deep down I wanted to run around and take pictures of EVERYTHING. I wanted to squee on Twitter. I wanted to geek out.
But I didn’t. Honest.
It was REALLY interesting, though, to see some of the magic happen. For example, I mentioned that we were late to the session. When we arrived, they were in-process of recording the second of three songs for the day. So, at the end of the day, my husband went in and recorded his parts of the first song.
We listened to what they’d recorded in the morning, and I was thinking that it sounded really good. The engineer even mentioned it felt like a finished song already, but that they’d throw a little piano and some B3 organ in just to see if it worked or not.
So, my husband went in and sat down at the piano (which, by the way, we found out many hits have been recorded on… one of which is Rascal Flatt’s “God Bless the Broken Road”) and the engineer started to play what was already recorded. My husband jumped in and added piano. I was lucky to be in the control room when everyone still there listening raved over what he did. (I beamed, I admit it.)
Suddenly this cool almost acoustic groove exploded into an awesome piano song! It changed the color and mood of the song.
Then he sat down at the B3 organ, and they did the same thing. Suddenly, he added a base to the piano pieces he’d already placed in the song, and it opened up the piece even more. We literally listened to a song as it unfolded like a flower.
It was pure magic.
In the span of that afternoon, I got a real idea of how music we hear on the radio comes to the world. I already had a pretty good idea from tv shows, as well as from what my husband had told me about sessions he has done in the past. But to actually be there and witness it… Simply incredible.
My husband is a “road musician” but he also does session (recording) work. Recording takes a certain talent, technique and knowledge of music. There are some musicians who strictly do sessions. (These are the guys you’ll see nominated for “musician of the year” at award shows.) There are some musicians who strictly play live. However, a majority do straddle the two worlds.
I wouldn’t call either side of the musician’s world “easier.” In doing a session, you’re making it up as you go, but it has to make musical sense within the piece you are playing. You can’t go in and just play whatever and expect it to work. You need to know what the song is asking for: when to play and when NOT to play. You need to know what parts need to meet up or which ones need to echo each other. You need to know how to play the song just as much as (if not more than!) you play your instrument. You are a composer on the fly, and what you compose needs to be clean and solid.
Now, in the studio you can try again until you get it perfect, and with today’s technology you can go in and fix two measures without re-recording the rest of the song. Or you can go in and record multiple versions of your part, then mix and match those versions into the perfect song. There’s a level of security within that fact.
In playing live, there is no room for error. You can’t “redo” a show. You can’t stop mid-song and go, “Can I do that again?” Also, you have to learn what the person who recorded the song came up with… often that is not an easy task. Especially when you consider that a track is recorded in layers. You can have two layers of the same instrument going on at the same time, making it possible to record something that will not be physically possible to play live. However, its the live musicians job to get as close as physically possible. Now, the nice thing for the road musician is that the job is laid on to you. This is what you play, so just play it. Also, you get the instant satisfaction of the audience loving what you are playing. Whereas a studio musician never gets the audience approval outside of seeing a song climb the charts.
(Well, unless you work for someone like Tim McGraw, who uses his road band in the studio, but that’s a fairly isolated case.)
I can officially say I’ve witnessed both sides now, and each one renders its own element of magic.
After the session, my husband and I went out for drinks with two of the other guys from the session. As we all talked about the day, I admitted my excitement for having gotten to be there. I thanked them for not minding my presence.
One of the songs they recorded is one I first heard for the first time almost a year ago, when it was one of the writers singing it to just an acoustic guitar. Then, on Monday I heard it being recorded. It’s an amazing song that I know will be on radio some day. Whether its this guy’s version or some other artists picks it up, that song WILL be a single and a hit.
I told our friend, “The day I hear that song on the radio is the day I pull off the road to cry. I will sob with pride to see that song finally get to where it belongs. Its just frustrating to know it could be another 5 years before that happens!”
There is amazing music being made every day — both on the road and in the studio. I feel frustrated knowing there is amazing stuff already recorded that won’t see the light of day for years, but I also feel a lot of comfort in knowing there is a guarantee of great music continuing into the future. There’s something really awesome about that.
I’m sitting here staring at my computer screen. I know exactly what I want to write a blog post about, but the focus and urge to actually DO it isn’t there.
I keep glancing at the clock. One hour. I have one hour to get a post in to count for “today.” How can I write anything of substance in that amount of time? How can I truly give my topic the attention it deserves?
Some days are like that, I guess, and I can’t beat myself up for having a day of not wanting to give my blog the attention it deserves. I just can’t let that happen too many days in a row.
So here I am. Feeling a little over whelmed by my want to write, but lack of ability to write. Luckily, I know others go through it as well, and I hope those that have felt this way will commiserate and nod in understanding. You love what you do, but sometimes you find yourself fighting an internal battle with yourself.
Yes you can!
Okay, I can, but I don’t feel like it!
I find I write best when I feel like it. Better yet when I am feeling what I am writing. Feeling it makes what you are writing come to life much more, and when you feel it, your reader feels it. So here I am telling everyone, “I don’t feel like it!”
Yes, I am writing about not feeling like writing.
Anyone else confused right now?
Thank you to everyone who participated and supported the Muscular Dystrophy Association today.
Your support means more than you will EVER know.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’ll be honest, up until around ten years ago, I didn’t know much about Muscular Dystrophy. About all I knew was that on Labor Day, Jerry Lewis held an MDA telethon that tore at my heart. Still, I didn’t really understand or connect with it.
Until my nephew was diagnosed with, specifically, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
My nephew turns 13 in a little over a month, and he’s doing well, beating the odds of most kids his age with DMD. And for that fact, everyone close to him is very thankful. He’s smart, handsome and a total joy.
He plays in junior high band. He’s a saxophone player… I think he knows girls find that hawt. (Don’t we.) He consistently amazes me the things he’s interested in and has taught me. I get him a Guinness Book of World Records every Christmas. I like to call it “our thing.”
He has a very distinct knowledge of right and wrong, and more than once I’ve found him to be the voice of my own conscience! He’s working his way towards becoming an Eagle Scout, and he loves cars and trucks. His dad works at a Ford dealership and is a certified mechanic; I think that’s a big part of where that love of cars comes from.
If it wasn’t for the fact that he’s stout and his calf muscles are bigger than most kids. If it wasn’t for the fact that he can’t run or be in any sports. If it wasn’t for the fact that when going a longer distance, he is in a wheel chair, you’d never know there was something wrong.
You’d never know he is dealing with things most people will never have to acknowledge.
What is muscular dystrophy?
First and foremost, muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder. You can’t catch it from someone. Its not contagious. It’s something you are born with due to basic issues in the individuals genes. These issues weaken the body’s muscles, muscles that we all know from basic science courses make the body move. This weakening continues on as the individual ages, which is why some cases aren’t diagnosed until adulthood.
There are many different types of muscular dystrophy, separated by their rate of deterioration or perhaps by the muscles it attacks.
How many people have it?
According to a report in June 2005 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, “Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, alone affect approximately 1 in every 3,500 to 5,000 boys, or between 400 and 600 live male births each year in the United States.” [National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke]
Is it fatal?
Sadly, yes, it can be fatal. Remember the heart is a muscle. Muscular dystrophy can affect the heart, lungs, etc. and eventually it can claim the individual’s life. (This is the part I can’t dwell on, because it rips my heart out. I think that goes for all of the family.)
What can be done?
Every day research is being done to help combat muscular dystrophy. This research and the knowledge and drugs that have come from it are a big part of why my nephew is doing as well as he is. That along with sheer determination, an optimistic attitude, and absolutely amazing parents (and little sister!) that support him.
This research is a huge part of why the MDA Telethon is so very important. Every dollar helps move the research closer to a cure. Every dollar can help save a life. Every dollar brings hope to those who face muscular dystrophy every day.
So, what’s this Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy your nephew has?
I’ve recently discovered Parent Project MD, which focuses strictly on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. They’ve posted a video to YouTube explaining DMD wonderfully. It gives hope, but it also had me in tears at times. But, I want to share it here to educate.
Yes, its almost 10 minutes long, but it is worth it. I promise. Please take the time to watch and hopefully understand.
A few final thoughts: as many people go out on the lake or have a backyard barbecue, many others are relying on the Labor Day telethon to be a success. As you look away from the screen, not wanting to see a child in a wheelchair, families find joy in their child’s life, and they pray for a cure to keep that child living the best life they possibly can.
In our dismal economy, it seems like we’re all having our pocketbooks squeezed until they are dry. I know mine is… but even one dollar helps. It helps. It matters. I will happily give up a dinner out to see my nephew’s life made better. To see the lives of thousands of kids made better. They are all more than worth it.