Watching a football game tonight, at halftime we saw segments of two marching bands. Oklahoma’s is called “The Pride of Oklahoma.” Here in Ada, ECU’s band calls itself “The Pride of Tigerland.” I don’t know exactly how the tradition began, but marching bands aren’t really the “pride” of anything. I was in a marching band once, and what we were was “The Largely Irrelevant Noisemakers at Football Games.” In the 30 or so years since then, marching bands have become even less relevant.
Another thing that bothers me is the way that any interest can rapidly become self-referential. I witnessed an example of this during my short flirtation with speech and debate. At competitions, the phrase you heard over and over was, “Did you break?” It was short for “Did you break prelims?” which was short for “Did you qualify for the second (third, fourth, etc.) round of competition?”
Of all the things I did when I was young, being in speech and debate was easily the least relevant, least useful of them all.