Fiesta Bowl of Fun

Ohio State Buckeyes and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish competed in a much anticipated matchup on January 1, 2016 to mark the first game of the New Year. The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona saw a sold out crowd attend the 45th BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl. (Check out the amazing ongoing goodwill provided through the Fiesta Bowl organization).

Like any college football game there’s so much home school spirit, even more so when on the road. This game was highlighted on television since it was a big deal bowl game in the AM leading up to the anticipated top watched Rose Bowl in the PM.

But in some regards it missed a big part of some of the most important elements of community spirit and pride; pregame and halftime shows. These parts of the overall theme and goodwill of a college football game contribute to the feeling of ownership and solidarity to one’s home state, town and school. More people are part of the football game than just the players, coaches and staff. Off the field and in the sports studio you didn’t see anything other than a lot of hype for the Rose Bowl, a game that wasn’t to take place until 8 pm. No one was aware of the fabulous show the marching bands put on at the Fiesta Bowl, especially during half time because TV land decided to spend more time with the panel of talking heads.

The Ohio State Buckeyes Marching Band put out an outstanding performance with their halftime show, “Back to the Future”. It was an unbelievable coordination of playing music while marching and began with the members spelling out in formation, “Back to the Future”. And then not only was each band member moving in sync, they were moving in sync to form an image only visible from high in the stands. (It was on the jumbo screen too). To continue, the band had the cleverness of perfect choreography to actually make the images appear to be moving. I mean the tires looked like they were actually moving as the vehicle moved down field or the rocket blasting into space. The use of certain banners throughout made their halftime show all the more spectacular. No one watching the game at home had any idea anything took place because TV land decided IT WAS NOT WORTH ANY AIR TIME.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Marching Band used their halftime to showcase the military and to highlight the United States of America. LUKE Air Base couldn’t be any closer to Glendale than Phoenix. They cleverly used members of the band to create the theme for each military song they played; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. They marched in time to bring to life an outline of the Unites States that covered the entire football field while playing tunes such as “God Bless America” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. They ended their military tribute with their traditional fight song, “Victory March”.

What each band put out in only SEVEN AND A HALF MINUTES was absolutely a class act feat of endurance, pride and patience along with the hours and hours of practice. (Never mind college life with homework, papers, presentations, etc.).

This was not evident to anyone watching the Fiesta Bowl since it fell short of worthiness for even ONE MINUTE OF AIR TIME.

These halftime shows are available to watch on Youtube.

FYI - "Victory March" is the fight song for the University of Notre Dame.

The Rev. Michael J. Shea, a 1905 Notre Dame graduate, wrote the music, and his brother, John F. Shea, who earned degrees from Notre Dame in 1906 and 1908, wrote the original lyrics. The lyrics were revised in the 1920s; Victory March first appeared under the copyright of the University of Notre Dame in 1928.

The chorus of the song is one of the most recognizable collegiate fight songs in the United States, and was ranked first among fight songs by Northern Illinois University Professor William Studwell, who remarked it was “more borrowed, more famous and, frankly, you just hear it more.” The eminent college football analyst and historian Beano Cook ranked the Victory March “the fourth most well-known song in the country, behind only ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘White Christmas’.”

“Victory March” fact credit:

SSgt. Leah Curtin was nominated to represent the Air Force, Luke AFB, and the military.

A last minute acknowledgement during the game was to be given an Airman who is currently stationed at Luke Air Base. The week before the game, SSgt. Leah Curtin was nominated to represent the Air Force, Luke AFB, and the military.
The following words are the highlights of a young woman’s career that was announced during halftime when Airman Curtin strode to the fifty yard line and center field. This was not given ONE SECOND of air time since TV land decided it was not worth any time.

Leah's Bio

“Staff Sergeant Leah Curtin is an F-35 Crew Chief in the United States Air Force. She is currently stationed at Luke AFB in Glendale, Arizona. Sergeant Curtin is originally from Londonderry, New Hampshire. She attended Plymouth State University, where she played on the field hockey team and graduated with a BS in Environmental Science in 2008. Sergeant Curtin joined the Air Force in 2010 in order to serve her country and see the world. Over the last five and a half years she has worked on multiple fighter aircraft including the A-10 Warthog, F-15 Strike Eagle and now the F-35 Lightening II. Sergeant Curtin is an outstanding crew chief that leads her airmen daily and has served the U.S. Air Force as a dedicated crew chief on both the F-15 and F-35 aircraft. She has recently cross-trained to the Air Force’s newest fifth generation stealth fighter, the F-35. Sergeant Curtin completed all F-35 upgrades training requirements for her Craftsman certification in just two months. She proudly serves as a member of the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit, “Top Dogs”, where she completed 890 aircraft maintenance repairs in 2015 with a perfect quality assurance evaluation record. Sergeant Curtin recently responded to an in-flight emergency in which her aircraft was forced to land at a remote airfield. She led a maintenance recovery team which resulted in the aircraft’s safe return to Luke AFB in less than 24 hours. Additionally, Sergeant Curtin was hand-picked to travel to Nellis AFB, Nevada, for the first ever large-scale F-35 “deployment” in which she maintained 10 aircraft and generated 75 combat training sorties. Because of her tireless work ethic and willingness to help her fellow wingman, Sergeant Curtin has always been viewed as one of the very best. This was evident when the Eglin AFB Command Chief Master Sergeant formally recognized her for outstanding performance in 2014. Additionally, Sergeant Curtin was recognized by her unit as the NCO of the Quarter, for the 4th Quarter of 2015. Her peers describe her as an incredibly hard working Airman and an outstanding technician. Sergeant Curtin loves the outdoors and takes full advantage of everything Arizona has to offer. She is planning to get her Master’s degree in Environmental Science in the next few years and also plans to make the Air Force a career with hopes someday serving overseas. Thank you for your service”

Amy Curtin, who also lives in Arizona, was granted the privilege of attending the game with her sister. She was on the sidelines and took a short video along with a few pictures. Had she not been there, we would have not been witness to this honor given to our military daughter. We were not aware of some of the highlights of her career achievements in reading the bio as it has never been in her nature to put herself above her fellow Airmen. We are so proud in the focused path she has followed toward her career in the military. It began early on with a passion for airplanes that began at the age of eight. She began to fly at age fifteen and took the ASVAB and scored very well. Various branches of the military began to call her to join. But college years came first and then the opportunity to enlist in her one and only military choice; the USAF.

I have to say she has a matter-of-fact, just doing her job, and always one ‘to lift others up’ first attitude. Everyone has their small window of fame; this was hers.

SSgt. Curtin is due to leave Luke AFB on March 2 to begin an exciting deployment as a member of the F-35 Heritage Flight Team. This team is responsible for all F-35 jets participating in country-wide air shows throughout the year and three show weeks overseas in the UK.

Congratulations, best wishes and good luck Leah Jet!