So there was a marching band competition today. Two blocks away from our house. I had three cousins competing, and Shay's band was there too. So naturally, I went. It was a little weird . . . the first competition I've ever gone to as a spectator. First one since I graduated high school. Very weird, and very nostalgic.
Of all the things I loved about high school - and I am one of those weirdos who did enjoy high school, for the most part - color guard is probably what I miss the most. I've almost never felt more accomplished than I did the first time I actually caught a quad. I'd been working on it for literally months, so it was a really big deal. I loved everything about being in color guard . . . well, except for the drama that crept in a couple of times. And the lack of funding for equipment and uniforms. I have never seen any guard uniforms uglier than the ones we wore my first two years - they were terrible!!!! Black pants so baggy you could fit four or five people in each leg, white leotards and horrible teal vests . . . we looked like the wait staff of a pretending-to-be-upscale restaurant in a really REALLY bad, really low-budget movie.
I'd always loved the color guard. I remember being a little kid in Idaho Falls and always getting excited when the marching bands and guard came past during the fourth of July parade. I called them flag twirlers since I didn't know what they actually were . . . not an inaccurate description, but it sounds kind of silly to me now. Anyway, that was always the part of the Macy's parade when it would be the hardest to tear me away from the TV - when the bands and guards came through. The dancers were amazing and cheerleaders were great, but something about the spinning flags always mesmerized me. So at the end of ninth grade when I found out that a few of my friends were planning on joining the color guard, of course I jumped at the chance too.
There weren't try-outs for guard at the time . . . mostly because the number of interested people was so low that they took anyone who was interested. That got the number of girls in the guard up to a pretty good number in proportion with the size of the band, and we all worked hard, so we weren't too terrible either. I missed the information meeting at the end of the year because I had play practice . . . and since none of my friends passed on the information I missed almost the whole summer. Thankfully the band teacher was at the time was pretty awesome and let me join right before band camp, which was right before school started. (go ahead, make your "one time at band camp" jokes. I'll wait. Okay, moving on . . . ) I got a pretty crazy crash course in flag twirling, but I managed to catch up with everyone else, more or less. Granted, there I dropped a lot of tosses at first - and by dropped I mean there were a lot of metal poles landing on my head. And starting the next year, a lot of wooden rifles landing on my head. But my senior year I was the assistant drill mistress . . . which sounds more impressive than it actually was, since all of the senior girls had a spot in the guard presidency. And half of the remaining guard members were my sisters. Yeah, we were pretty small.
Guard was definitely the thing I as saddest to leave behind when I went to college. That's probably at least partially because it was the first thing that was obviously missing. Normally a couple of weeks after school got out I would have been back at school for marching band, but that year . . . nothing. It was so very sad. :-(
I'm definitely going to have to make it to more than just one competition next year. Watching really isn't the same, but it's fun in it's own way too. Especially critiquing the guard costumes - some are really cute, some are hideous, and some are just plain bizarre. But most especially admiring the flags, which are almost always beautiful. And can still mesmerize me.
P. ost S. cript
So . . . it's officially holiday time, and you know what that means - crap loads of toy commercials!! So in the perfect combination of Halloween and Christmas, I present this little bit of creepiness. Note: if that episode of The Twilight Zone with the creepy talking dolly scares you, you might want to pass on this one. You just might have nightmares.