One thing many people do not know about me is I used to be in competition winter guard during all 4 years of high school and my first 2 years of college in NJ. I used to spin and toss flags, rifles, and sabres while incorporating dance and drill formations. With hours of practice and training during the week and competitions on weekends, this took a great deal of my time. I was very fortunate because I made amazing friends who became my sisters and brothers. Their parents took me under their wings as they drove us everywhere and cheered us on. We traveled to different parts of the country and had some fun adventures.
We also had an incredible coaching staff. They taught us how to work for something outside of ourselves. This was all while they taught us drill, dance, and color guard moves. Most importantly, they listened to our teenage “problems”. In reflection, I recognize this experience taught me some of the most important lessons in my life.
- I learned how to be part of a team. Our coaches drilled into our heads that we were a unit. They trained us how to execute our choreography as one.
- I learned practice makes perfect. Until we got it right, we had to do it over and over.
- I gained confidence. I remember our guard instructors encouraged us to walk with our heads up and attack each move as if we were going to nail it.
- I learned how to overcome nerves. Before every competition, I had to take a deep breath and have trust in my ability.
- I learned how to lose with grace. While it was a fantastic experience to win, we did our best to show good sportsmanship.
- I learned life is not always fair. There were times we honestly felt the judges scored certain performances inaccurately. While it was difficult going through this, we learned certain matters in life were beyond our control.
- I learned I could do anything if I applied myself. I never thought I would be able to make it to the rifle line or the sabre line. After practice, I was able to master both pieces of equipment.
- I learned I can’t do a cart-wheel. I want to thank all of my guard-mates and coaches for spending hours trying to teach me how to do a cart-wheel with a rifle in my hands. I know you tried and tried and I greatly appreciate it. That is OK. I feel my life is going pretty well despite the fact I can’t execute that skill.
The other amazing benefit of being in color guard was I was at a healthy weight during my entire involvement. Given I had to combine lower and upper body movements (with equipment), this is no surprise.
I want to thank all of my guard instructors because their investment paved the way for my successes in life. I realize how much time they spent with us without getting paid. Thanks for being there and believing in us. To all adults who volunteer to coach children, thank you! The time you mentor our young people means more than you know. I feel it is important to get our youth involved in team activities that get them moving. Not only will the exercise benefit their bodies, but the lessons they will learn will benefit their lives.
My fantastic instructors 🙂
Awesome adventures and friendships
Ladyhawke 1987 AA Class Champions (Ladyhawke)
Ladyhawke 1988 (The Red Shoes)
Ladyhawke 1989 (The Big Blue)
Ladyhawke 1990 (Appalachian Spring)
Knightbeat 1991 (Escapade)
Knightbeat 1992 (How Do I Love Thee…)
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