A sports team – more than just players

In anticipation of the next installment of ESPN’s 30 in 30 film series, we include a great article from Ann Hornaday at the Washington Post. You get a sense of the community that attaches itself to a sports franchise, not just fans but as in this case, a band. “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” will be on ESPN Tues, Oct. 13 at 8pm.

The full article can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/07/AR2009100704004.html, with an excerpt below.


Colts Left Town, but Film Salutes the Band That Played On

By Ann Hornaday, Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 8, 2009

BALTIMORE — There aren’t many foolproof recipes for male weepies — movies that reduce the men who watch them to unapologetic tears. But athletes, setbacks and the whiff of mortality always help. Ask any guy which films are guaranteed to reduce a dude — not him, mind you — to a puddle and the usual titles pour forth: “Bang the Drum Slowly,” “Brian’s Song,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “Field of Dreams.”

But you can’t bang the drum slowly if you don’t have drums, which happen to feature prominently in the film “The Band That Wouldn’t Die,” an I’m-not-crying-it’s-allergies tearjerker that had its U.S. premiere at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium on Tuesday. Barry Levinson’s documentary chronicles the all-volunteer Baltimore Colts Marching Band, which stayed together after that team’s notorious defection from Charm City in 1984, continued to play at parades and neighborhood events and even at other teams’ games, and finally succeeded in bringing a National Football League team back home.

It’s a story of tenacity, brassy showmanship and shrewd lobbying savvy. And it’s a story of only-in-Baltimore oddballs and obsessions. Like the time the Marching Colts drummer stashed the game ball from the legendary 1958 bout against the New York Giants, still known as the greatest football game ever played, in the resonant confines of his bass drum. Or the time years later, during his 12 years in the wilderness, that band president John Ziemann eyed his wife Charlene’s engagement ring by the kitchen sink and thought of what he could buy with it: new drum heads. “A few weeks later she came to me crying, saying ‘I think I have something to tell you, I think I lost my engagement ring,’ ” Ziemann recalls. “And I said ‘Wait, I have something to tell you.’ The rest stays between her and me.” (The ring, by the way, is still in hock, “but it’s coming,” Ziemann insists.)

That’s Charlene now, leading the way as the band — today called Baltimore’s Marching Ravens — makes its way onto the M&T Bank field in the gloaming of this mellow autumn night. The somber-faced musicians, who range in age from 14 to 65, proceed to regale 1,000-plus spectators with march-time renditions of songs by Santana, Ozzy Osbourne and Golden Earring. The set is capped off, as always, with the Colts fight song (“So drive, you Baltimore Colts/Go in and strike like lightning bolts/Fight, fight, fight!”) and a triumphant, Poe-worthy “Nevermore!”

(The article continues at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/07/AR2009100704004.html)