Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
As the new year draws near, we anticipate the competitions that come along with the 2008 year. For some, the only competitions they participate in are the USA Regionals and maybe the USA Nationals; there are, however OTHER competitions out there for schools to compete in.
I have, to the right column, a list of competitions occurring in January and March (February will be added soon) where the top Pep Flag schools are known to be competing in (top Pep flag = Nationals finalists).
If you'd like to participate in any of these competitions, here are the links to the respective competitions...
- 5th (link) (MR*) Sharp International at Schurr H.S.
- 19th (link) (MR) USA Regionals at Agoura H.S.
- 20th (link) (MR) USA Regionals at Orange Lutheran H.S.
- 26th (email) Winter Celebration at West Covina H.S.
- 9th (link) (MR) Sharp International at La Mirada H.S.
- 23rd (link) (MR) Sharp International at Sea World
- 23rd (link) (email) Centurion Invitational at Saugus H.S.
- 5th (link) (MR) Sharp International at Knotts Berry Farm
- 11th - 13th (link) (MR) Sharp International at Las Vegas Sports Center
Maybe this will encourage some schools to expand their competition season. I will update when I receive the list of competitions in February.
*MR stands for Medical Release Form
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
You're free to save to your own server, but PLEASE do not alter it in any way.
If you'd like me to make one for your team, just email me a picture of your uniform and competition flags and I can make it right away!
*NOTE: after posting these pictures, I remembered I forgot to put the lines at the bottom for some of these schools. I tried my best to be accurate, but I guess I fell short. Merry Christmas!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
This year, I'm testing out this new one (right) with realistic looking curls, makeup, and open eyes!
I'm actually trying to figure out a way to ..make it so I can apply each teams uniform / style to a base. It's pretty difficult to make a girl anonymous with colors being such a huge influence on what school it is.
I'm also experimenting with animation to show the twirls-- if you haven't seen this one--but with a much cuter character. Maybe even perform a routine for you? That's way later in the process, I still need to learn flash animation to get up to that level.
This means that more animated pictures for you competing teams! I really want to commend you guys for getting out there and twirling in front of such an audience of alumni and fans. So as each competition comes up, expect a new batch of banners / animations for the participating schools!
I am also working on perfecting my boy design--for the male team members, coaches, etc-- for all the guys involved in pep flags. Guys actually have a huge impact on teams with two of the top schools to be headed by male coaches, Glenn from Bishop and Mark from Channel Islands.
I've definitely made a male character before (for our 2005-2006 season when David was the first male to compete), but I want to expand the character to be more versatile.
I'd love to know what you guys think, or more importantly, what you'd like me to make for you!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Last Saturday, December 15th, marked one the first competitions of the 2007-2008 season. It was held in the same venue as USA Nationals: the Anaheim Convention Center. As you may have read in previous posts, there were four schools that competed at this year's So Cal Classic: Channel Islands, Glendora, Hoover and Oxnard. In the 1-flag division, Oxnard went first, followed by Channel Islands. In the 2-flag division, performing first was Hoover, then followed by Oxnard, Glendora and Channel Islands.
Through this post, I want to address both the actual competition and all the "chatter" happening in the Chatterbox.
Here is the recap of the placements in both divisions and USA Nationals bids awarded that day (if there is any wrong information here, please let me know so I may correct it. I was not quite 100% positive about Nationals bids):
Qualifying with a bid to Nationals:
1-flag… Channel Islands
2-flag… Channel Islands, Glendora, Hoover and Oxnard
1-flag… First Place- Channel Islands
2-flag… First Place- Channel Islands
Second Place- Hoover
The 1-flag division was sort of shaky. Since it is so early in the season, you know that both Channel Islands and Oxnard were probably more focused more on their 2-flag routines than their 1-flag. And watching this division, you know this is true. Because their 1-flag routines are so fresh and new, they will most likely get an overhaul for Agoura in about a month.
The 2-flag division is a different story. There were pretty strong showings from all four teams:
First up was Hoover, who brought their 2-flag routine that they had at the Sharp Extreme Camp competition this past summer. It was a lot cleaner and had 8 girls versus the 5 that they had camp. They were enthusiastic and deserved their 2nd place finish. And you could tell that they were ecstatic about their placement. Well deserved. Yes, they did do an "angle line" a la "carson showoff," but unless someone has tangible evidence that their school was the first school to ever perform it, then I don't believe it belongs to anyone. I've even seen an old yearbook from the 70s from Channel Islands High School with a picture of the Short Flags squad in a "showoff"-like pose. In Hoover's routine, it was not executed in any way like Carson does it, so the only similarity was the angles. But does anyone own a high-v? Or a "T"? I'm pretty sure that Channel Islands originated the "thigh-stand/mount while hitting various angles," but no one freaks out anymore when someone else does it. It's the cycle of performing arts/spirit teams. Type "twistercheerleader" in the Youtube search bar and watch all the All-Star Cheer teams from around the United States competing at the 2007 Cheerleading Worlds. Tell me that they don't include the same elements or aren't structured the same way. The dance world is just the same. It all comes down to: WHO DOES IT BETTER? Yes, Carson is the school that we all associate "showoff" with. They are the team that popularized the move. But you better believe that teams will still execute it within their routines in various other ways. You need to just… DO IT BETTER.
Second up was Oxnard, who brought their routine from the 2005-2006 competition season. I personally do not remember that specific Oxnard routine, but I was told by others that it was indeed from 2006. After watching the 2006 Nationals video, I verified it to be the same routine. The only difference was instead of 3 people, they fixed it to be performed with 5 (although they do have a total of 9 on the squad this year). We've seen routines reused all the time in the 1-flag division, revamped for a new season or just in the beginning of the competition season while they are still working on the real competition routine. The latter is what I presume Oxnard is doing. I expect to see a totally new 2-flag routine from them at Agoura or West Covina by the latest. Given that Oxnard's team is very young, I believe it was a wise choice to bring an old routine to So Cal Classic. It gives the new members a chance to work on their traditional tricks and twirls that their team has slowly been building throughout the few years they have been competing. As one of the schools that have made it to Finals for 2-flag at USA Nationals the past 2 years, don't count Oxnard out quite yet. It still is really early in the season and is anyone's game.
After Oxnard was Glendora, who opened up with their signature girl tossing a flag in the air, doing an illusion, and catching the flag. Glendora came strong with their unique style and finesse that only Glendora has. This team, like Oxnard's, is a young team as well so expect them to only get better as the season moves along. Glendora continues to surprise the pep flag community by making it to Finals. With a flair all their own, if it's combined with clean execution, there should be no reason to be surprised. Glendora stands alone with their style and that's what makes them stand out to judges. Their uniqueness makes them memorable.
Lastly, Channel Islands took the floor. By reading the Chatterbox, the hype that surrounds their performance precedes themselves. I wouldn't let all the hype fool you though, the girls are still not near the best of their ability. I mean, what squad is at that point in December? If you have a chance to watch them, don't come with any preconceptions that they will be phenomenal. I would come with no expectations. That way you can make your own conclusions after watching them live. My girls did the best they could considering it is early in the season. For that I am proud, but they still need a lot of work. Like it was said in the Chatterbox, our flag change section was a little shaky but for the most part the performance as a whole was good. The routine needs to be cleaned and little changes need to be made, just like every other team working on their competition routine right now. We strived to make the routine have that WOW potential… and I hope that they projected that wow when they performed. We would hope that it's not "so-complex-and-dynamic-its-messy." Thanks for those who think so, though. Gives us something to strive to do better. And to clear something up: the girls are not big-headed. I don't know what reasons they could give you to come to those conclusions. They approached Hoover and asked to take pictures with them, and then called over Oxnard. Glendora had already left the arena or else I'm sure they would have called them over too. This year's old members were part of the teams got 2nd AND 3rd place at USA Nationals in the 2-flag division. They were part of the team that had the so-called "BEP meltdown" and experienced not moving on to Finals in the 1-flag division. Then they had the opportunity to experience last year's triumphs. To actually for the first time be USA National Champions. So they've come a long way, gone through many obstacles and hardships. They have put so much into the team. So I would appreciate it if people would not talk down about the girls, especially if you don't know them personally.
Along with Arcadia and San Pedro, the schools that competed here at So Cal Classic all had the strive to get themselves out onto the competition circuit early in the season. I commend all for their efforts. They can only get better from here. In about four weeks, USA Regionals weekend will happen and this year's competition season will "officially" begin: Agoura and what was before Fountain Valley, now Orange Lutheran. Exciting, scary, intimidating, anxious… soon enough all the team's will take the floor. With the outcome unclear we can only hope for the best: that our teams perform to the best of their ability. So come out and support your favorite teams.
Happy Competition Season!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
But I'm afraid I don't. You see, my sister is in possession of my car (because she has a flat tire and doesn't want to rent one in the mean time), and in the glove compartment is the charger for my digital camera. I'd love to go retrieve it from her, but she is almost never home. So I apologize for this delay in the videos. I promise that as soon as I get my camera charged up, I'll be teaching you the basics really soon!
In the meantime, let's go over what it takes:
It takes a lot of physical and mental dedication first of all. Pep flags is a year-long sport. In the summer, you prep your new members to reach the level of your veterans or the competition in August. You do the usual summer conditioning of running bleachers, laps, holding angles, and stretching for flexibility. You get only a short break before school starts.
Most of the conditioning for competition season takes place in the fall / winter where the weather is coldest. Because pep flags is considered a "minor" sport at most schools, they rarely gain the luxury of practicing in a gym or the sort. You almost get afraid of catching the flag because it will hurt so much. Being outside makes you vulnerable to wind, making it more difficult to catch your tricks or tosses.
During football games and basketball games you serve as just an accessory to your cheerleading team. If you are allowed to perform at halftime, it's on an uneven field with mud that's been run over by the football team all season or the dirt track with no room for formations.
When January competitions come around you get weeks of last minute cleaning before its time to compete. Because pep flags is such an "unknown sport" there could be one flag division early in the morning, and two flag scheduled late in the afternoon just to make everyone just as exhausted before you have to perform only 2minutes and 30 seconds to judges. Then there's that time lapse between performances and awards. If you miss awards, you don't know your placing and you don't get your scores or trophy, so you HAVE to stay.
Sometimes, competitions fall back to back on a weekend. In 2005, Nationals was on a Friday, West Torrance was on Saturday and the 2nd day of Nationals was on Sunday. Imagine having to go home only to go go compete the next day. It's very tiring. Not to mention the time it takes to prepare for competition. Appearance counts for 1/3 of your score. It takes much time to curl each member's hair the night before, wake up for breakfast, change, take out curls, make-up, change practice flags into performance flags, and carpool with your family and fans.
Competition lasts until March / April and then tryouts begin. Then the cycle starts all over again.
Sometimes practice can interfere with your social life when you have practice when others go out to eat after school. Or on a days when the competition lasts from 8am to the evening, you can't make it to a party on time (or if you do, your hair will still be in the curls).
It can hurt your emotional state, by doing everything you can only to watch some of your team mates drop flags around you. If you perform the best you have ever performed in the season, only to know you haven't made it to finals. When you keep on dropping you NEED to keep a smile on your face and pretend you did nothing at all, when in reality it just sticks in your mind. When you just can't seem to get back into the routine at all and just completely lose it. When your shoes comes off, mid performance, or when your flag hits the balloons at winter celebration.
It could hurt you physically, because the flag CAN hit you at any part of your body. Imagine how fast your flags are going doing chasers, if you get to close, it WILL harm you. You'll never get anything right at the first time, so you'll hit your head, ankle, face, arm, knee, or even someone else. It will add a lot of frustration so all you want to do is quit.
But you can't. Because you love it so much.
Think you can handle it?
Monday, December 17, 2007
Other than the Winter Celebration in January, I was unaware that West Covina hosted a competition for Sharp International also. Hey San Pedro, could we see you guys here later this season?
Well this video..
I'm ultimately pleased that there are a substantial amount of new tricks I've never seen San Pedro perform before; which pushes their difficulty level up a few. What is a little disappointing though is that their music may be a little fast for them. The counts for the routine seem to be slower than the song which makes them appear a little slow.
There's also a LOT of ripples in the beginning of the routine. Sorry to say, it reminds me of Bishop a great deal; but that's just my two cents.
SPHS Varsity Shorties- West Covina Competition 12/8/07
Thanks again to Kate!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Like I said in the Chatterbox, the only way I think it would be okay is IF you had the coach OR team's CONSENT to post it. Sevenno is a great example of this since he has done it with Long Beach Poly's 1-flag & 2-flag routines from USA Nationals 2007. If you do not have consent, it would be a safe bet to save yourself the drama and post it after Miss Dance/Drill Team USA (which is typically the "end" of the competition season).
I don't know how other people feel about this issue, but I personally don't think it's appropriate to record a competition and post the routines on Youtube until AFTER competition season, especially if the routine is NOT yours.
Let's not forget the fact that at many competitions, "technically" (and use the term VERY loosely) we are SUPPOSED to only be recording our OWN teams' routines. AND that, again "technically" you are not allowed to post a video on YOUTUBE of someone else without their consent. It's in the So a team can submit a complaint to Youtube, and have a video taken down.
Now, it's unlikely any team would do so about old videos, because heck... we all love watching pep flag videos. But if some renegade decides to post NEW videos, they can easily be shut down with a complaint to Youtube.
For the love of pep flags, I know that many of us love to watch other team's routines. And therefore, we record other teams to watch at home or we wait anxiously for someone to post a "new" video up. But I believe these videos are watched for their nostalgic values: to remember that specific year's routines. The whole excitement of a new competition season is to see these routines LIVE. Not on some small screen on your computer. If we started posting every competition, by Nationals we'd be bored...
We would have already seen everyone's routines 100+ times.
Let's not kill the excitement. Save the Youtube postings to RELIVE the routines. It's comp season, so let's go to the competitions and RELISH the routines.
When is it acceptable, or unacceptable to post videos?
Some has stated that it's inappropriate to post any videos while the season is underway. This can.. create a source for schools to "study" routines to "borrow" ideas for the current competition season. It's a definite red flag to see your own choreography in another school's routine and with the rise of your audience (live, youtube, privately shared), how could you keep it from them? Having videos just allows any viewer to rewatch the same routine over and over again until they assume they know and can imitate it (a viewer on youtube has stated more than once that she could perform a competition routine if she "watched it enough").
Every competition team knows all too well that a video is more than meets the eye; with the diminished quality a video has to watching the routine unfold before your eyes just doesn't compare.
Many of the so-called "new" videos being posted are often of routines from past years (see carson 2006) or the camp routines at Sharp's competition in the summer: which are ultimately remakes of the previous season routines.
So I ask each team, Do you think its inappropriate for anyone, other than someone from your own, to publicly post a video of your routine? I'm sure there will be a renegade in the bunch who will decide to post a video despite suggestions to not post at all.
To sevenno: I am not sure if I can make it to the competition yet, I have work schedules to work out.
To Freddy: I apologize for mixing up the colors on the flag, I'll fix the current graphics to include the update as soon as I have time.
To the teams competing on Saturday: Good Luck, I know you'll do a great job and put on a show for whoever comes to support you!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Here's the latest one from 1996:
*Note, I'll be having all my posts under a "cut" which you can see by clicking "more?"
As for the videos..I am having technical difficulties. Technical meaning my camera, difficulties meaning no charger. Sorry. I'm looking for a replacement though. Won't you go support your teams?
Because of this late addition, I have added a "Support Hoover" icon (see post) for you Flagger fans out there.
Both Channel Islands and Oxnard are listed for performing their one flag AND two flag routines at this event.
The next major competition isn't until January of "next year" so go out and support your favorite teams!
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
It's hard to believe that this video was taken 10 years ago (thanks Sevenno for the upload). I really enjoy Carson because they are one of the few teams that have stayed with their traditions of twirling while still bringing something new to the plate.
I'm sure this season will be no different.
Here's University of California San Diego's flag team: it's great feat to bring a team to a college campus. Although there is one another team, UC Berkley (Pep Flags wikipedia), competition between the two schools is practically non-existent.
I know of many people, including myself, who are alumni of their respective high schools only to enter colleges without a welcoming pep flag squad to join. It would be nice to see a collegiate pep flag division, and as many alumni of various schools attend the same colleges (i.e. California State University Long Beach), it would also be interesting to see such different styles collaborate at a more established level. If you consider how long some alumni spend on each school, 1 to as much as 4 years, the collegiate (or maybe even All star?) level could permit for more advanced choreography.
If you're interested in more UCSD videos check out Dnormus's channel on Youtube.
Here's San Gabriel High School to Jennifer Lopez's "Let's get Loud." They're flags are designed similarly to Bell's. From watching their progress from their James Brown routine, they seem to be improving substantially. It'd be nice to see them in competition, because they could qualify for Nationals if they had a little bit more dynamics.
Here's the link of them doing a routine to James Brown's Get Up Off of That Thing added back in October and another one of them at their homecoming pep rally.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
(Although the video is not from MDDT, they are performing the same routine)
Here is a picture we took with them at Miss Drill. They threw up the peace signs so naturally lol.
Requested by 3ipplethreat78
I've already coming up with ideas of what to do for the introduction videos (i.e. how to properly hold a flag, twirl it, freehand, etc.).
Of course the terminology used in the succeeding videos will be based on what I was brought up on, but I do not consider myself politically correct. That's just what you call it (see Pep flags vs Short Flags)
So if you have any ideas on what you'd like to see or any concerns, feel free to leave a comment or send an email.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
shortflags.blogspot.com/ is the newest website with fact pertaining to the Pep Flag world. It is a community based blog, where various authors in the Pep Flag scene collaborate to contribute to the site's posts. This is unlike the xanga.com/qtwirl, where the sole author is an anonymous person. Unlike the negativity produced by the xanga qtwirl blog, this blog serves to inform and unite the community.
I'm glad that people are interested in contributing to this website, and that my intentions are being welcomed by members from the pep flag community!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
So I'd like to also ask you an important question:
What would you like to see here?
Please post with responses.
I'd also like to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to be able to post to this blog. Since this is about the entirety of the pep flags community, it'd be nice to get a point of view of someone other than me.
So, If you're interested in contributing content to this website, regardless if its, posts, articles, facts, history, media, or if you just have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your email (as a comment or just email me) if you'd like to be an author on the blog itself. You can post here and stay anonymous while posting what you want to a large audience. The only limitation I would give is to post your TRUE opinion on something, instead of straight lashing out on what you dislike.
I'm opening up the floor to ANYONE.