Darrell Brand, a now retired long-time teacher, administrator and coach, does the traditional breakdown routine during Braves Night activities.
Being a community journalist, I sometimes find myself in odd predicaments.
That was the case last week at Braves Night at Montezuma High School. Braves Night is a pep rally and crowning of the Hometown King and Queen held at MHS on the Thursday of Homecoming week.
Part of the festivities include the Breakdown routine hosted by Darrell Brand, a now retired long-time teacher, administrator and coach at Montezuma.
The Breakdown has been a part of homecoming at Montezuma for long before I came on the scene.
Brand, who is in his 80s, still has the moves and quite a vertical leap.
When I first came to Montezuma, Brand wore a ballcap backwards and a pair of plastic glasses with an extra big nose while doing the routine. He did away with the garb several years ago, said his wife, Sherma, tossed it in the trash.
Brand bends over, claps his hands and jumps around while he chants “breakdown” along with the players and crowd, doing so several times. He ends the routine with “breakdown” to silence, or an attempt at silence. In some cases, when the athletes and crowd miss it, he starts over.
It’s fun and makes for great pictures.
Before the breakdown routine started that evening, I was seated in the middle of the gym on the south bleachers. In front of me was a mat used by the cheerleaders. Behind the mat were 10 chairs in sets of two spaced evenly apart for the 10 members (five couples) of the homecoming court.
Further back was a podium and then seated on the north bleachers were the football, volleyball and cross country teams.
I’m thinking that Brand is going to do the breakdown routine on the mat in front of me. I was wrong, he set up camp behind the homecoming court.
I got up from my somewhat obscure seat and made my way to where the homecoming court was to get a better view and photo of Brand and his breakdown routine.
I bumped into one of the queen candidates, apologizing for my misstep.
“No problem J.O.,” the young lady said.
Even Brand was smiling at me as I fumbled around trying to get the best position for a good picture. And of course I was standing in the middle of the gym for everyone to see.
I did Ok. I got a couple good shots and that is what I was after. I only need one for the paper and I got it.
I’ve walked in front of people at concerts, plays, ballgames and graduations for years.
I walk alongside parades and get close to the floats to take the best pictures. That gives me the opportunity to get better crowd shots.
At volleyball and basketball games, I roam all around the outside of the court. I do the same on the football sidelines, always keeping my eye on the ball just in case a player is headed my way.
There’s nothing worse than to get one’s lights knocked out by a football player running zero to 60. That happened to me at Montezuma football game at Wapello my first year in town in September 2000. I got hit twice in the first half and broke my camera lens and flash into two pieces. I had a bruise on my stomach as big as a watermelon.
I have had some closes calls in the years since, but thankful I’ve not been run over or knocked down. When I see a player running toward me carrying a football, I go the other way.
I was at Star Lanes the other day ordering a couple cheeseburgers for Debbie an I. While waiting, I struck up a conversation with a young lady and her two boys who were there bowling.
She commented on my work saying, “When I see you come in the door, I know we are going to get some good photos.”
These were really kind words that touched my heart.
I’ve always said that my backside has been in a lot of momma’s photos. I’m also positive that a lot of my photos and stories have been on a lot of momma’s refrigerators and scrapbooks.
What a ride this newspaper venture has and continues to be. I love community journalism and I am always ready for the next good photo or digging out the next feature.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.