Marching Bands come alive at parades, competitions, and of course, half time! You can feel the excitement when the drums start booming, but you probably won’t feel the impact of a young student getting hazed, at least not directly.
It’s a sad fact that some marching band members will meet the same fate as Robert Champion, whom was a 26-year-old drum major. Robert was discovered to be dead on the band’s bus after a football game performance.
The hazing that is believe to have caused his early death was contributed to the “walk through a wall fists” that Police and former band members have stated that Champion was most-likely forced to go through as part of a hazing event. Police have followed up by saying that Robert Champion was witnessed by a few who saw him vomit, and he later complained that he “couldn’t breathe” a short time before he collapsed and eventually died.
Stepping aside from all of the political discussion and misinformation being pushed by many universities, hazing is a long-established practice that is less prevalent than before, but still happens today. How would I know? I’m a proud member of a national fraternity (name withheld for obvious reasons) and I was hazed… but I survived and I’m discussing this with you today.
I’m not sure who would stand up before us all and admit this kind of thing, but it does exist and to ignore this is just a shame. Robert and others have died, how long does this have to go on. When one school (this time Florida A & M / FAMU), next time it will be another large university. Each time a marching band experiences a tragic loss like this, marching bands everywhere get a black eye. This kind of modern-day social practice needs to be changed or limited to just a mental game, rather than the physical acts that took Robert’s life.
Sure, the President of FAMU has fired Dr. Julian White (the band’s director), and everyone is acting like they are all shocked about this. Let’s all take a deep breath and have a real discussion about it, and make some real changes to keep the honor and the feeling of excitement alive, because to me that’s what the marching band is all about.
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