{GIVEAWAY} AT&T Nation’s Football Classic: Howard vs. Hampton

This post is sponsored by AT&T and the Nation’s Football Classic. I have received some level of compensation in addition to tickets to give away. All opinions are my own.

Hampton University is where I started my college journey. I graduated from high school in May and by June I was on the campus for a six week pre-college program. I went home for about two weeks and returned two weeks before classes started to begin band camp. Now, let me just say, I was not ready. Being a first-generation American, and my parents not having gone to college, I had no clue about HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges & Universities). I grew up in Gaithersburg located in Montgomery County, Maryland. For most of my life, especially in elementary school, I was the only or one of very few black people in my classes.

So when I stepped on the campus of Hampton University, my entire life changed. I wasn’t ready, but boy did I get ready! I started playing the flute when I was in fifth grade and I played all throughout high school. I even went to band practice during my lunch hour my senior year because that was the only time I could fit it into my schedule. I participated in the marching band in high school…in my majority white high school/band. I don’t recall ever having band camp in high school, just seeing it in the movies. So when I got to Hampton and started band camp…I was schooled real quick!

Photo credit: Darryl MIles

Photo credit: Darryl Miles

With the Pirate Mascot (whom we later found out was Dallas King)

With the Pirate Mascot (whom we later found out was Dallas King)

For one, I played the flute but had never played the piccolo (shout out to #SilverStreak). So you can imagine my surprise when I showed up with my flute and was told that “we don’t play the flute in marching band, we only play piccolos”. Yes, the instruments are similar but they are different and I spent the first probably week trying to make a sound out of it. We practiced all day, every day for two weeks straight before school and football season officially started. Where I grew up, we never had to memorize music, let alone dance moves and positions for an entire performance…weekly. But I loved it. I loved every minute of being in the marching and concert bands at Hampton University.

Concert Band - Spring Break '99 with Chrystal (Wilson) Lewis and Christine Dorsey #SilverStreak

Concert Band – Spring Break ’99 with Chrystal (Wilson) Lewis and Christine Dorsey #SilverStreak

I learned about “‘hitting 90’s” for the very first time since ever picking up an instrument, when I got to Hampton. As stated in this article, “HBCU bands use a traditional high-step marching style, lifting the knees to 90-degree angles.” Oh and don’t let the drum major see you not holding that leg up. And if someone messed up, we were all standing in that position until our legs started shaking and sweat was dripping off our foreheads. We stayed out on the practice field long after the street lights came on, just perfecting our march, and working on our stamina. We had to be able to dance, march, and play our instruments while remembering our positions, and of course our notes.

I have so much respect for HBCU marching bands because it is no joke! We put in a lot of hard work. And yes, many times the culture gets criticized for hazing, but it was much more than that. It takes discipline and dedication to do what HBCU marching bands do every weekend on the field during football season, and so much more! I am so grateful for the people that I met and lifetime friendships created from being a part of The Marching Force.

Photo credit: Darryl MIles

Photo credit: Darryl Miles

I am most grateful for Mr. Barney Smart, former Director of Bands (Rest In Paradise) who helped me get the financial aid I needed to finish out my freshman year. He was always looking out for his students and going above and beyond. That same year, his son, Tory Smart was my drum major. And this year, he enters his first year as Director of Bands for Hampton University. This family legacy and experience is exactly what the Nation’s Football Classic stands for. While I only spent part of my college years at an HBCU, this experience impacted my life in a major way. I can’t wait to share these experiences with my children, so that hopefully, when their time comes, they will experience the same culture that I did.

Well everyone knows that the football games are all about the bands — and within the band, it’s about that drumline (shoutout to Sticky Situation)! And everyone knows the long-standing history between Howard and Hampton’s battle on claiming “the real HU”.

Photo credit: Darryl Miles

Photo credit: Darryl Miles

So I couldn’t be more excited when I was asked to represent AT&T as a Blogger Correspondent for the Nation’s Football Classic happening September 18th featuring Howard vs. Hampton. And to make things even more exciting, I’m giving away four tickets to the game (100 level seating) to two lucky winners (two tickets each). Go Pirates!

Here’s the scoop for the entire weekend:


 HOW TO WIN: Leave a comment enter your name in the giveaway widget below. Two winners will be awarded with two 100-level seats to the game.

Comment below and let me know your favorite HBCU game memory or how you carry on the traditions and experiences with your family found at HBCU’s?


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  • Reply
    Monica Parran
    September 10, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    my favorite memory would have to be marching for Hampton university. I had never marched in band before coming to college so I had no idea what I was getting into. The experience however shaped my college experience. When I think back on my time at Hampton I’m flooded with memories of band trips and performances. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to be a part of such an amazing organization.

  • Reply
    September 11, 2015 at 1:29 AM

    I didn’t get either of my degrees from an HBCU. However, I love the Magic City Classic… Hampton seems like a great school.
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      September 13, 2015 at 4:26 PM

      I hadn’t heard of that classic Aisha but glad you still get to “experience” it 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicole (Nicole's Lifestyle Lounge)
    September 11, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    This is awesome! I would have never thought . Loved the throw back pic of you.
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      September 13, 2015 at 4:27 PM

      Ha! Thanks Nicole, definitely a throwback for sure!

  • Reply
    Joyce Brewer (@MommyTalkShow)
    September 12, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    I’ve never had the HBCU experience until I moved to Jackson, MS with JSU & Alcorn State nearby.
    My husband attended an HBCU and his college experience was vastly different than mine.
    Football weekends at colleges are amazing.
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      September 13, 2015 at 4:28 PM

      I agree Joyce! I didn’t start getting into football until my experience at Hampton 🙂

  • Reply
    PATRICE M Foster
    September 12, 2015 at 5:48 PM

    I would have love to have the experience looks like a lot of fun. Two of my friends did their undergraduate at HBCU and talk about the marching band & mascot even today…a different life style from the other universities. Love your graphic!
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      September 13, 2015 at 4:29 PM

      Thanks so much Patrice! I definitely understand and agree. While I started at Hampton, I graduated from Marymount and while I had the best times at both, they were definitely two very difference experiences 🙂

  • Reply
    September 14, 2015 at 8:03 AM

    Wow Christine, agree with the discipline of being in the marching band, although I did not do it in college, I was in marching band through high school and that required so much discipline I cannot imagine how much more it takes at University.

    Awesome giveaway, I will share, share, share
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  • Reply
    Jonna Scott-Blakes
    September 14, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    I didn’t know you were a Hampton U alumni? Of course growing up in Hampton Roads I’m all too familiar with the ‘who’s the real HU’ debate 🙂
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  • Reply
    Myeshia Reynolds
    September 14, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    I did not get to experience the HBCU life 🙁 and sometimes I wish I had although I absolutely LOVED my school experience at Bama (ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!). I know it is a totally different experience because I have been on the campus of a few of them and had a blast. I would never look down on them and if my kids wanted to go to one I would definitely embrace it.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2015 at 9:41 PM

    I did not attend either of the HBCUs mentioned. However, I did attend Bowie State University. I came from a predominately white area and was always the minority in school. Attending an HBCU awakened my spirit immediately. The atmosphere was so live and welcoming. It was one of the best decisions I made. Maybe one, or both, of my sons will attend a HBCU.
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  • Reply
    September 14, 2015 at 10:15 PM

    I can still remember my first battle of the bands at the Coca Cola City Classic. I wasn’t ready either! The memories and the history are amazing!
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  • Reply
    Tryphena Wade
    September 15, 2015 at 12:12 AM

    I’m a Howard Lady through and through!!! You know, the REAL HU!! #BISON (all jokes and and love!)
    I have such great memories of football games and the halftime shows. I love, love, love HBCU bands. So much spirit and energy…there’s nothing like it!!

  • Reply
    September 15, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    There is nothing like the HBCU life!!! This post made me miss it all over again!
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  • Reply
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