The "Gloves on the Field" Episode: How it Really Happened.

By Carl Rodia,
The "gloves on the field" incident ranks right up there with the "digging up the field" incident and the "throwing the turf at the judges" incidents as episodes in corps history that were not only original but humorous and poetically telling of what we were going through as a corps in the sixties. But the original positioning of the gloves strategically arranged with a defiant middle finger of each one pointing to the judges was not as defiantly motivated as most might remember. It all started with me, Carl Rodia.

It's historically useful to know that at that time I was 17 and still emerging from a sort of a hyper-Catholic phase of development, still quite full of fear and social inhibitions. So I would never have intentionally done anything so vulgar as give the finger, let alone instigate the "finger orgy" that ensued that evening. I was just standing at parade rest on retreat like a good little Buc in the first row of horns waiting for the scores like everybody else. The night was unusually muggy so I removed my gloves and simply dropped them to the ground in front of me where my bugle had been placed earlier. (Heck, just removing my gloves was defiant enough for me in those days! How young we were!) As it happened, one of the gloves landed with its middle finger perfectly positioned in the salute position…ALL BY ITSELF!!!  The bugler standing next to me, I believe it was Mike Smeraglino, noticed the happenstance. He and others, chukling, began arranging their gloves on the ground in the same way. Enjoying the acceptance and the dubious fame this event had instantly provided to me, I even happily readjusted my own gloves to represent a more perfect image of the middle finger salute than what chance had earlier provided.

And so began the legend. The glove "idea" was no idea at all but an auspicious accident. It spread quickly through the ranks of the corps on retreat. (I think the color guard captains including Tom Caranno were essential in spreading the word through the ranks, but I'm not sure of that detail.) Anyway, it was our corps tradition to be ballsy and "in your face" and as the scores were announced that evening it became clear that a "message" was going to be sent that night. The now infamous, and highly publicized at the time, "gloves on the field" episode in Waterbury sent that message. Though it was more as a result of fate and the way the glove fell than by original design. I'm glad it all happened, I'm thankful to Moe Knox for capturing it on film and publishing it in Drum Corps News the following week and happy to have been a part of that appropriate _expression to the judges that night. In retrospect we now know what we just suspected then. The judges were, and more often than not, adults who were serving themselves and their own career interests at the expense of the kids...and those kids were US! They deserved the finger...and a lot worse. Anyway, at least in Waterbury that night we showed that although we were just kids we really knew the score.

July 29, 1967   Waterbury, CT

Garfield               78.42
Cardinals             77.88
Pittsfield Cavs      76.85
St. Raphael's       76.63
Shoreliners-CT     73.23
Emerald Cadets   64.15

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