Regardless of the season, George Mason athletes regard warm-up CD's as a necessary process for a successful home game. While music in the locker rooms can be interchangeable and various types of songs, the warm-up CD that plays before every game will be the same songs, in the same order, played before each and every game. A lot of time and effort goes into making the CD's, finding the right songs and the order they go in for the whole team.
But warm-ups can also cause a large amount of stress for teams, due to the large amount of editing that must be made in order for a warm-up to pass. Songs must not only be edited, but devoid of any offensive material, including blanked profanities. This can cause confusion for what exactly the student wants to be played and what the school will deem appropriate.
Athletic Director Tom Horn and Assistant Athletic Director Julie Bravin make the decision on what passes for the Mason warm-ups. He said the issue of the content on CDs is currently a bit of a misconception within the student body, and much of the issue of a warm-up CD also revolves around the listening audience.
"Who's the music being played for?" Horn said in an interview. "The music is not just for the team, the spectators need to also be considered."
Horn said that since the CD will be played for the audience as well, "It should have a greater appeal than just the team. It's not a locker room. Everybody's there."
Because of this, Horn said Mason has to take serious considerations in what will be played for a diverse audience of spectators. He said that "Anything likely to offend somebody" will be promptly removed from the CD. This includes anything involving sex, drugs, alcohol, or violence.
Also removed from CD's are any indication of profanity. While removal of audible swears from warm-up CD's is certainly the norm, George Mason takes it a step further by removing any indications of a swear word that has been blanked or edited from the song, which can prove to be the proverbial monkey wrench in the plan for students attempting to create a CD. But Horn also said that this was done more for the comfort of the audience than anything else.
"Most people who hear the blank [in the context of the song] are smart enough to know exactly what the word is."
He also said that instead of listening to each individual edit and determining whether or not it is appropriate for the audience, "If it's bleeped, [we're] going to get rid of it."
Horn also said that the most successful method of editing, in his mind, is for an edited song to change the offensive material in question to a completely new word. He talked specifically about the Katy Perry song "Hot 'n' Cold," which has a particular lyric in the song which reads "You PMS, like a b****, I would know." Horn then talked about the various methods that certain radio stations used to edit the song. "Some radio stations use the original version, and bleep out the profanity. Some use 'chick.' Some say 'girl.' The version I would prefer is the one where the lyrics are changed to something less offensive."
Horn also raised the issue that the CD should be unanimously voted on by the team, because the music should be pleasing for all members of the team; nobody would want the songs chosen to alter the performance of a player in any way. Horn is often encountered with CD's made by one or two people from a team, in which case he must act in place of the other members of the team by projecting what might offend them or affect their game performance.
Horn said, "It would be very hard to make a decision about a CD that was unanimously chosen by a team but may be slightly offensive to the audience." He added that it brings us back to the dilemma of who the music is really for.
Horn added, "It is a professional decision, not a personal decision. I have a lot of the music that is rejected on my iPod- I have nothing personal against it."
The important things to consider when making a warm-up CD for a sports team is that there is a wide range of listeners, both on the team and off, that must be considered in order for the CD to pass.
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