Welcome back to Transparent Tuesdays!
Last week I touched on the reasoning behind the redefinition of Basically, Britain.
This week, I feel I need to be raw about my passion: Color Guard.
It is near and dear to my heart, especially right now. This past weekend, I went back home to help with the guard I had been instructing at one of their competitions. I am still technically on staff there, but not really. I moved 5 hours away for work, but my heart is still with that sport and those kids.
From a young age, 4 years old to be exact, I have loved color guard. I wanted to participate in guard ever since I saw it on an episode of Barney, which featured a marching band. Originally airing on November 9, 1998- I never missed an episode at that age (I even subscribed to Barney’s magazine), I definitely saw it when it first aired. That’s when I first knew I would be in color guard one day. I fell in love with the people with the pretty flags. I asked my mom what they were, and she told me it was the color guard. I was sold, from then on. It was love at first sight. The local high school was right down the road. Mortimer Jordan High School. I could hear them practice from mine and my mother’s apartment complex. From that day on, I was obsessed with watching and listening to them. I adored seeing them in parades. I knew I would be one of those color guard members one day.
Fast forward to 2009. I was finishing up the 8th grade and getting ready to head into high school. I had been in middle school band all 3 years- playing the clarinet. I knew with high school band- came marching band, and with marching band- color guard. It was time for me to figure out how to join. I waited and waited for information, until one day, the flyer appeared. I told my parents and they made themselves available to take me to tryouts. Obviously I made it or I wouldn’t be where I am today- guard wise. That first year in guard definitely wasn’t easy, but it was more than worth it. I learned some of my most challenging work in that year, as the instructor was one who believed that everyone was capable of doing difficult work, and he expected us to practice and “F.I.O.” (Figure it out). In my high school guard career, I would go on to do winter guard as well. In my first year in winter- I was the only freshman to make the advanced line. I would go on to have many different instructors in the next 3 years and soon be the captain in my senior year. I learned things from each and everyone, but I definitely learned the most in my freshman year.
Fast forward again to 2013. I was headed to Southern Miss. Again, I had to go through another audition process. Once again, obviously I made it or I wouldn’t be where I am today. The Pride of Mississippi is a far different animal than high school band. All of a sudden, the focus is on musicality and entertainment, not scores and competition. I learned a lot about choreography in my years at USM. I started choreographing for fun- a lot of the time because the work I was performing was way easy or I didn’t like it. I couldn’t perform said choreo, but it was an outlet for me to practice my passion, at a skill level I deemed more relevant to my spinning. It wasn’t long before I realized that spinning and performance were no longer the desire of my heart- It was writing and teaching. My heart and soul longed for the opportunity to teach guard and choreograph shows. I wanted to be an instructor like the first one I had, one who taught well, focused on basics, and made sure the guard was solid and strong in basic technique- both equipment and dance. I want to be the instructor who believed that every member could accomplish the difficult work, and expects practice time outside of rehearsal, not one that just changes what doesn’t work without giving them a chance to work on it. Trust me. Letting them accomplish difficult work is a lot better of a feeling than seeing them discouraged because you are changing something because you do not think they can do it. Once I realized where my passion had shifted, I tried and tried to get instructor positions. It was difficult because I was usually neither here nor there. I was at home in Missouri when they needed someone in Mississippi or I was in Mississippi when they needed someone in Missouri.
Fast forward again to 2017. I had settled back home in Missouri. I finally felt like I could instruct somewhere around home. I was in with the community around here. I ended up getting a position at SCHS. The rival of my high school alma mater. How fitting. I fell in love with that band, that staff, and those kids. I am sad to not be with them these days as I had to move, yet again, for work.
It is in the works to find a guard down here, especially since I am settled semi-long term. My heart wants nothing more than to be back in the color guard world.