Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guarding the Colors

Today's post is dedicated to my friend Kate, she tells me this is her favorite of my crazy dreams.  Also to Mr. N., just because.

Let me start by saying I'm not a very athletic person.  I played basketball for a while when I was in middle school in a church league.  Church leagues and, oh, let's say middle school basketball teams, are entirely different monsters.  Needless to say the one and only time I ever tried out for a school athletic team was a bit of an embarrassment.  In fact, that audition and the freakish disaster we loosely called an audition for my 8th grade musical stand out as some of the most embarrassing moments of my life that I, unfortunately, remember vividly to this day.  Even more embarrassing than the time I fell down the stairs on prom night...

Point is I sucked at sports, a then well-documented fact amongst some of my more popular school mates.  If you remember anything about school you'll know that's not good.

When the Yorktown high school color guard came to give our 8th grade class a self-promotional assembly in our gym I was spellbound by the show.  I'd never seen a color guard before (I mean the flag and weapon spinning kind, not just displaying the colors kind) and loved everything about it.  They were dancing!  Gracefully and joyously while spinning and throwing long pvc pipes, solid wooden rifles and metal sabres!  I don't care if they're dull those suckers can HURT!  I was impressed.

At the end of the assembly the members of the guard came up to the bleachers and asked for volunteers to come to the floor and try their hand at some flag spinning.  You'd think I'd have remembered my previous attempts at trying something new but no, my hand SHOT up into the air and I grinned like a fool as I was picked and handed a flag.  If memory serves it was one of the more senior girls who taught me my very first basic spin and I got the skill immediately.  She seemed impressed and taught me something a little more advanced which I also got the hang of rather fast.  I was then greatly encouraged to come at the end of the school year for color guard tryouts.  Since I was strongly encouraged by my parents to belong to -something- during high school I saw this as an opportunity.

Talk.  About.  Excitement.  From the very first moment that flag touched my hand I was hooked, line and sinker!  I could not WAIT to go to guard tryouts and counted down the days.  I knew that the auditions would be difficult.  Color guard was incredibly competitive when I was an upcoming freshman and I knew a lot of people who tried out got cut.  I tried not to get too excited, fully anticipating that my complete lack of previous experience would be a huge count against any slim chance I already had of making the squad.  I swallowed my nerves and focused hard during 3 grueling nights of workshops, desperate to learn and absorb every movement I was taught as quickly and solidly as possible.

I was so consumed with desire to give a standout performance at my audition that I dreamed:

It it was my turn to audition and I stood with sweaty palms, one of 3 girls at a time demonstrating their ability to learn a routine in a short period of time.  I knew that routine, knew it backwards and forwards.  It fit with the music, accenting the crescendos perfectly and I stood ready, waiting for the opening chord of music.  

The music started and I flexed my arm to bring the flag up to sharp attention only to have it almost ripped out of my hands!  I looked down, confused, and saw I was standing on the very tip of the flag.  I lifted the pole, kicked the fabric out of the way and prepped  for a second attempt.  Again the music started and I lifted harder than the first time but again it was caught under my foot!  I couldn't fathom how since I thought I'd been careful about getting it out of the way.

Looking up I saw the furrowed brows of the band director as he tried to assess what exactly my problem was.  My cheeks flushed and I gritted teeth knowing I wouldn't get a chance past this one.  The music started again and I ripped that sucker as hard as I possibly could!  Good thing, it had gotten is freakish little self wedged under my foot again but it couldn't withstand my might.  I smiled so hard my cheeks hurt as I spun that flag like I'd been born with it.

It was about this time that my anxiety at having almost blown yet another embarrassing audition was enough to wake me up and I looked around confused.  I wasn't in the Yorktown gym, I was sitting straight up in bed and that hadn't been a flag in my hands but my sheet, a blanket, a quilt and an afghan, all clutched tightly in my fists as I'd ripped all four layers of my bedding out from the snug tuck job I'd just done when making my bed so I could flail them around the room.

100% true story.  Next time I might tell you about how not to fall down the stairs at prom.

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