Friday, April 27, 2012

A Journey Through Time With The Sommersaults


First off, what is a Sommersault?

The term was originated by SUNY Cortlands very own Jack Murphy in 2010 when he first met the now infamous David Sommer. Dave received the first ever Student Spotlight title in the Park Center Enquirer (Jack's newly created PE Newsletter)

After receiving this award Dave now became David Sommer Freshman Spotlight. (Which my Mom still refers to him as to this day) The problem was though that most people, including myself, pronounced Dave's last name incorrectly. Instead of pronouncing it like "Summer" the "o" threw every one off and made it pronounced more like "Homer" (Fill in the S in front of Homer)

After finding this out Jack was enraged and started making new nicknames for the Freshman Spotlight including David Sommersault. This quickly became one of our favorite spins on Dave's name and leads us into this past semester of 201.

The Formation

It was the first lab of 201 that we were at St. Mary's and Professor Yang asked us at the end to choose a group. Immediately Dave looked at me and I knew right away he would be in my group, but because Kyle and Hannon were moving to Wednesday lab we needed one more for our group. I didn't even know Mallory but figured I might as well ask her to be in our group because she looked just about as lost as we were. and...BOOM. The Sommersaults were born*. Sorry, this part of the story isn't very climactic but it gets better.

*Actually this is a lie. We chose the name Sommersaults at the first practice lab (Described below) and I will explain later why the Sommersaults was a perfect name, thanks to one of my favorite hobbies.

Dynamite Dancers

Our first practice lab of the year I knew that our semester was going to be breeze. I watched as Dave volunteered to teach first, which was a bold move, especially for Dave. I was proud of him actually, good work Sommer. As the next 30 minutes went by both Mallory and I followed Dave as the next people to try and teach our game. I was really impressed with Mallory as well because she stepped up to the plate and delivered. None of us really had any idea what we were doing, but it seemed that we all had that go-getter attitude, and that's something I am grateful for because I believe it lead to the success of our group.

Later that practice lab we were also asked to make a 1 minute long "music video" where we had to lip sync, dance, edit, and upload our video to YouTube. Lucky for Mallory and Dave I have a background with editing and uploading videos, so that part wasn't hard. But needless to say I am not a dancer, these tree-trunk legs of mine are not meant to move spritely.

This is when we got to bond with our TA's Matt and Steve, who both danced in our music video. Even though neither Dave, Mallory, or I are dancers we made due with what we had and just bounced ideas off each other until this beautiful video was made.

Needless to say after this video I was super excited for this semester. (Also notice that Mallory's hair color will change a million times throughout this semester :) sorry Mallory!)

Phys. Ed. Majors Can Rap?

I think I could have cut the awkwardness in the room with a knife when Professor Yang told us that we had to make a music video and song for a specific chapter in our motor development text. No one really knew what to do or say. But We, The Sommersaults" received chapter 8 which is Rudimentary Movement Abilities. For example, creeping, crawling, walking, sitting, etc.

After that class I remember discussing with Dave and Mallory what song we would choose to remix. We went through choices like Smash Mouth's "Allstar," 50 Cent, and various other artists until Mallory was like why don't we do Young, Wild and Free? It wasn't till about a week later in practice lab when Mallory also came up with the idea for the song title, "Head, Neck and Body"

Writing the song came pretty easy because we split the song into 3 parts. One for each member. We each went home and took a couple of days to write our parts until we uploaded them to a google doc and discussed them. After a little tweaking our verses were done and then Mallory and I each took a shot at writing the chorus. It turned out perfectly because each of us had lines that worked and didn't work and when we put the two together we ended up with the final hook for the song!

The Studio

The time came about a two weeks before Spring Break when we needed to record our song. We decided that we would rather get it done before Spring Break than wait till after and have to cram it in with other work we would have to do. I have to thank both Dave and Mallory for making sacrifices to get that song done. We actually didn't get to record the song as a group. Mallory had Field Hockey and Dave is a ref for Rec Sports. So thank you guys for sacrificing a couple of hours to get it done on your own time. Also,  I have to thank Dan "DK" Spector for helping us record the song, as well as helping mix it to make it sound as good as it does.

 I think Dave was the funniest to watch in the studio...I sent this picture in a tweet to professor Yang and received one of my favorite tweets ever. "Drop it like its hot!"

I was also really impressed with Mallory in the studio because her verse was very difficult because Snoop Doggs flow is so unique. But...Mallory absolutely killed it! I remember looking at DK and thinking WOW. and I know he felt the same way.

These pictures are just us fooling around in the studio. And by studio I mean Room 4-D in Dowd.

Feel free to download the song and use it however you like. (If someone makes a remix to it I will give them a $100, no questions asked)

The Makings of A Video

Once we released our song we had around 250 hits in the first two days. I was blown away. I actually called my Mom on the day we released it because I had sent it to my sister over Facebook earlier that day. My Mom answered the phone and I could hear the song in the background as my Dad and Sister were singing Dave's part and laughing hysterically. They all said they loved it! My sister couldn't get over the fact that Dave rapped, and my Mom made fun of me for singing.

Oh. On another note, when I sang the chorus, I sang all three parts, the High, Low, and Middle part. I will never forget Kendra asking me on the bus why Dave didn't sing the chorus if Mallory and I both did. I didn't have the courage to tell her I sang the high part until a couple of days later.

But, back to the video.

We tried to video before we left for spring break but realized that we all were just so busy. We decided to do it the week we got back. So the following Monday we asked Professor Yang if we could use the Exergaming Lab. He gave us permission and we went on our Merry way to shoot the video.

What Do We Do In a Music Video?

None of us had made a music video before, and we really hadn't brain stormed anything worth doing for the music video either. As fate would have it we walked into the exergaming lab and saw a bunch of plush toys, plastic balls, and teddy bears.

*Light bulb turns on*

Since we are rapping about infants anyway we decided it would be a good idea to randomly use the toys in our video. And plus it would be funny, so we thought. I don't know how many of you have made a music video, but the first recording was extremely awkward. "So what we're still young, so what we just creep..." *staring at one another with no real emotion*

The first take didn't have any emotion behind it really and I thought we could have done a better job so we re-filmed it and it came out a bit better.

My favorite part is form 2:12 - 2:30 when we all walk in with no emotion and our sunglasses on and just bop our head to the beat. It was so hard to stay serious but it looked great in the end product.

Most people asked why we were riding a longboard down the ramp and really the only answer I have is, "Why not?" For me, I like to watch videos that just show peoples character. It's just them being themselves. It gives a video personality in my opinion and doesn't make everything look like it was directed.

Without further interruptions and tangents here is the video.

Just in case you were curious, it took us about an hour to film and took me about 4 hours to edit, render, and upload to YouTube. Not a bad amount of time for a video that we will now have forever.

The Sommersaults: LIVE

Now, weeks after we released our video we had to perform, "Head, Neck, and Body" I remember thinking to myself that this is one of the coolest things I have ever had to do for a class.

But when I talked to most of my peers all I heard was, "Why are we doing this, this is stupid." or "Why do I have to perform a song, I'm a Phys. Ed. teacher, not a Theatre major?"

But to me I think these people were missing the point. To me this project wasn't about making a song or a music video. It was about learning the material in a fun and exciting way, rather than just reading a text book. Also, I think this project was beneficial in more ways than you can imagine. It took everyone in our class and put in them in a situation they weren't comfortable with and forced them to adapt and learn in order to be successful. As a teacher you will have to be in front of children, peers, professionals, parents, strangers, etc. You are guaranteed to not always be comfortable, but if you can't adapt to the situation you are allowing yourself to not be the best Physical Educator you can be. But this is my opinion, and you are entitled to your own, but anyone who reads this from class can't tell me they didn't have fun because not only have I seen Facebook profile pictures become their performance pictures, but I watched everyone up there smiling and having fun, as well as cheering on their peers as they performed.

If you watch the video below you will see that when Dave starts rapping everyone cheers super loud for him. When I was up there I was thinking to myself that I was so proud of the three of us for getting up there and performing, and I was loving the energy everyone was giving Dave, plus embarrassing that kid is a hobby of mine. (Sorry Dave you know I had to mention it)

The End of an Era

I knew this semester would come to an end eventually but I really enjoyed this class and enjoyed the experience I had with each of my classmates and all the children at St. Mary's. I have to say thank you to Professor Yang for making this my favorite semester at SUNY Cortland and a semester I will never forget.

I have to also say thank you to Dave and Mallory for making my experience at St. Mary's a positive one. It sounds cliche to say but I think each of has grown a lot this semester and both of you are people I know I will stay connected with while I am here at SUNY Cortland.

Mallory, I couldn't have asked for a better person to be part of our group. You have fantastic ideas and you are always open and willing to discuss how to implement them. Thanks for always sacrificing time to get our work done, in the end it was worth it. And seriously don't say that no one realizes that you were a part of the group. Everyone knows you are great at what you do, and Dave and I have a high level of respect for you. Also, my Dad wanted me to tell you he said thanks for being my friend. (Happy Dad?)

Dave, I feel like I have known you my entire life man, but in two years I have seen you grow so much. I can't wait to see where you head in PE and trust me I will be right there with you. By the way my Dad said your compensation for being my friend is in the mail and should arrive to your house by thursday.

Done With The Emotional Stuff

I don't think I have to explain to anyone how much I enjoyed this class. I hope this post does the talking for me.

If you take one thing away from this post, just remember to L.I.V.E. Love.Inspire.Venture.Evolve.

The Sommersaults! 

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