Deja Vu

Friday, December 28th 2007, 5:56 pm
By: News 9

Jan. 1, 2008

By Jason Marshall, Pride of Oklahoma Blogger

Today was the big day. The Oklahoma Sooners were to play the West Virginia Mountaineers for the Fiesta Bowl Title. We were really pulling for a win this time, especially due to the turnout last year versus Boise State in the last few seconds of the game. This game turned out to be a bad deja vu experience.

We started the day by having a little free time in the morning. The time allotted wasn't enough to go anyplace really but maybe that's just because we slept in so late...I don't know, just maybe. After a late breakfast, my roomies and I loaded the busses. It's still amazes me how 300+ people can be so organized collectively and leave on time (that's all thanks to Mr. Britt by the way).

After the hour or so bus ride to Glendale, we were ready to unleash the terror on WVU. However, we had to do some pep bands first. Like always, the band did 2 or 3 pep bands after rehearsing to get the OU crowds going. We actually got to have a nice lunch this year (by "nice" I mean sitting down and eating hot dogs, bratwursts and basically unlimited chips and queso).

The game was, as you well know, not a success for us. Every team has its bad days and this was just one of ours. With mulitple injuries and a month off from playing other teams, you could definitely tell we were a little off. I don't think West Virginia is necessarily a better team than Oklahoma but they did play better today.

Tomorrow we get to go home! I can't wait but at the same time I can because of the long trip home. Thanks for reading and I hope to talk to you after a safe trip home.

Boomer (Sad) Sooner!

Jan. 1, 2008

By Jason Marshall, Pride of Oklahoma Blogger

Today started out like most other days on this trip; we had free time to do what we wanted in the morning and then had rehearsal at 2:30 at Desert Mountain High School. However, this time, rehearsal was about half as long and was followed by the final round of Drum Major auditions for next season.

So, to answer everyone's question, YES, I was quite nervous. Overall though, I think I did well. There are always things one can improve upon but I believe I did very well. This final audition consisted of a whistle routine, a marching routine, conducting stand tunes, conducting a longer piece, and a pregame simulation which included the infamous "goose kicks" and the strut.

I thought the other two candidates did extremely well so I know it will be a close race. The next 3-4 weeks are going to be very long because we don't find out the results until our annual band banquet in late January.

After rehearsal though, I got to hang out with my friends and just relax. We all went to The Cheesecake Factory (which is AMAZING!) and then back to the hotel to hang out.

Tomorrow is the big game and I can't wait to let loose and really root for our Sooners. Thanks for reading again and I look forward to writing about our win!

Boomer Sooner!

Jan. 1, 2008

I woke up this morning at 7:30 am and ate breakfast to prepare for the climb to the top of Camelback Mountain.  After breakfast, I went to the lobby with my roommates, Justin and Dylan, to wait for Daniel to take us to the mountain.  Six of us piled into the car and drove down Chaparral Road toward the moutain.  I would have never thought I would ever climb a moutain.

It took approximately 1 1/2 hours up the mountain and 1 hour down the moutain.  The view was absolutely amazing.  We knew we were to the top when we saw the Christmas Tree with the ornaments.  The biggest challenge was to take one step at a time and not to look down!!  I was seriously on my hands and knees climbing the steeper rocks towards the top.  As we went down the mountain two guys from our group, Justin and Nick, struggled because of their knee injuries.  They limped and finally made it to the bottom of the mountain.  I can't believe I climbed a mountain and could have fallen to my death.  It's kind of crazy to think about.

Once we arrived back at the hotel we had to prepare for rehearsal and have everything ready for the Battle of the Bands and New Year's Eve Block Party that evening.  Rehearsal went very well, but we then had to wait over an hour for our food from Popeyes.  They said one of there fryers broke and that is what delayed the process.

We arrived on site for the block party and it was just as I remembered it a year ago.  This time there was no waiting around since we arrived so late.  We started marching down the street and I realized this was going to really be my last parade in this uniform.  We made it to the Battle of the Bands site and was ready to go.  We came in first and hyped up the Sooner Fans.  This ended up being one of the best Battle of the Band events I ever attended.  The band played very well. I could tell that we would out play their band by the first sound out of their instruments.  It is definitely in the top musical experiences.

After we changed clothes, we entered the block party.  I hurriedly went to the Magic Show.  It was not as good as it was last year, but it was still good.  The small group I was with went to eat at Quiznoe's and then went to the Barenaked Ladies and ring the New Year in with some fireworks.  I am not exactly their biggest fan, but I did enjoy myself.  I was able to ring in the New Year the same way I did last year, not many people can say that.  It was a very sentimental experience.

Dec. 31, 2007

By Jason Marshall, Pride of Oklahoma Blogger

Today is New Year's Eve! Even though we are away from our families and hometowns, I don't think there would be a better way to spend this holiday. For New Year's, the whole band received tickets to the Insight/Fiesta Bowl Block Party in Tempe, Arizona. It was a ton of fun. Just in our group of friends, we got to see a magic show, dance (which we showed off our Thriller moves), see a motocross show and go see the Barenaked Ladies. It was a very fun evening.

That was all in the evening though. In the morning we had free time again. I chose to spend most of it going over my Drum Major Final Audition material (Yea, I'm a little nervous). Others I heard, went and climbed a mountain...that's cool too I guess. And finally, others just slept in or went sightseeing around Scottsdale.

We had a really good rehearsal today I thought. Mr. Britt and Mr. Jahnke worked us really hard to get the rest of our show on the field because we only have one more short rehearsal before the game. Overall, I think it's going to be a great show.

I hope all of you in Oklahoma have a Happy New Year's! Talk to you soon!


Dec. 30, 2007

Again, another beautiful Arizona day. Some band members chose to start off this New Years Eve's Eve by going to church. Others decided to sleep and get some well-needed rest. And others chose to do a little sightseeing, shopping, or even maybe climb the mountain that's behind our hotel. I chose to go to church, a Roman Catholic Church named Blessed Sacrament, with a group of about 12 students and of course one of our wonderful bus drivers.

After church, our bus driver reluctantly took us to In-and-Out Burger, the infamous fast food joint. I thought it was really good but how "good" can fast food really be? After our lunch we grabbed some dessert at Cold Stone and headed back to the hotel.

Then we headed off to rehearsal. Rehearsal was again a little rough, at least for me, due to the fact that we haven't marched our drill in over 3 weeks. Pregame drills, music arcs, and halftime drill are haunting my dreams right now.

After rehearsal we were lucky to have another Wal-Mart run before heading back to the hotel. I just wish I could see the look on the Wal-Mart employees' faces when 300 plus college students walk in their store with hungry looks on their faces. I opted to not get any more junk food this time around but got a rousing game of Hacky-Sac going with my good friend Daryl, which led into a game of almost 12 people, one of which had a broken leg!

Then we had the remainder of the evening free. My girlfriend and one of my roommate's girlfriend, who took the 15 and a half hour trek to Arizona for New Year's Eve, arrived last night so we all went to dinner at a nice family-style Italian Restaurant, Buca di Beppo. It was really delicious. And then after finishing the night with a nice hot-tub dip and a crazy game of Apples-to-Apples, we called it a night.

I think "paradise" is just a psychological state when you are with your closest friends and having the times of your lives. It just so happens that this paradise is also in a very beautiful town.


Dec. 29, 2007

By Jason Marshall, Pride of Oklahoma Blogger

Well, today was our first full day here in the "Valley of the Sun." Although many members, like me, came here last year it was still great to be under the Arizona Sun and see a gorgeous sunset during rehearsal. We started it off by marching in the popular Fiesta Bowl Parade, which was accompanied by beautiful weather compared to last week's Oklahoma snow and cold.

After the parade, we had a little free time where I'm sure most band members took a nap of some sort since the night before was the first night in our new home. You would think we would get more sleep in the hotels right?

Well, we got to rehearse on a football field with correct markings today. We did have to change rehearsal locations, but all the same, the rehearsal was, I think, a success in getting back into the swing of things and really starting to perform again.

One great thing about these trips is that there are so many different things to do. For instance, shortly after rehearsal the band members had a choice to go to this outdoor mall and do a little shopping. I'm not a big shopper myself so me and my roommates chose to stay and order pizza while relaxing to the Pat's record-breaking win over the Giants.

Looking back over today, seeing Texas fans at the parade today made me so happy to be from Oklahoma, that's all I will say. Thanks for reading and Boomer Sooner!

Dec. 28, 2007

By Jason Marshall, Pride of Oklahoma Blogger

It's hard to believe that just yesterday our 300+ marching band started the trip to Scottsdale, Ariz., for our performance and assistance to the Sooners in the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. The almost 24-hour bus ride wasn't nearly as bad as one would think. The plethora of DVDs shown (ranging from Ratatouille to The Producers) steadily helped pass the time.

Many students chose to indulge themselves in literary pleasures or musical getaways. After discovering multiple new sleeping positions, listening to '80's rock music for hours from one of my best friend's, Ed McLaughlin, laptop in the seat behind me, and watching a couple other friends disassemble a charter bus TV practically, we made it to the Valley of the Sun. 

Once arrived in Scottsdale, we had to, of course, get all of our luggage, plus our uniforms and instruments, into our hotel rooms. Some chose to do this in two trips, while over-acheivers like myself attempted to do it in one...ouch. Then, we actually had some free time, a couple hours' worth before we had to go to rehearsal.

Here, I chose to prepare for the upcoming final round of Drum Major auditions next week. I ran a little, stetched and soon found myself practicing the strut and high kicks in a parking lot behind the hotel. Asphalt is not kind to dragging your tennis shoes on it in case you were wondering.

Our first surprise was finding that our rehearsal field that we will be rehearsing on every day for the next five days is currently painted as a soccer field. This turned out to be OK since we got to focus primarily on our music. We hadn't played together in about 3 weeks.

After rehearsal the whole band found out we would be making a Wal-Mart run on the way back to the hotel. That is a sight to see: 300+ college students with per diem shopping at Wally World.   As we got back to the hotel, a very nice hotel I must say (Chaparral Suites Resort-Scottsdale), we had the remainder of the evening free. I chose to jump in the hot tub with my friend Daryl before turning in.

These bus rides to these bowls are always long and taxing but always pay off when we finally get there. The next week is going to be a blast.