LaHue gives inside look at a day on the competition field

by Anna Katherine LaHue

 

Most kids don’t consider getting up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning fun. I am no exception. I hate getting up early when I don’t have to. So this past Saturday when I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. and be at band practice by 6:30, I was a messed up slump of skin and bones.

Saturday morning was by far the coldest morning of this month. It had to be at most 35 degrees. Everyone’s hands were numb as we held onto our poles in darkness of the early morning, only to spin our flags to the never ending band warm-ups. As I stood in the freezing cold of a October morning I thought, “Why on earth am I doing this?”

Finally, practice was over just as the sun was peaking over the horizon. It’s ironic how, once we finish, light appears provides warmth when we don’t need it. After Saturday I will never again take the sun for granted. Practice was finally over, but now the real work began, packing.

With a relatively new guard, the only two people who know how to roll, pack, and tab flags is Mykala and myself. Let us not forget we are also the only two who know how to do hair and how things are typically run in band. Trying to teach these things to new girls is difficult. We find it easier, to just buck up and do it ourselves. After packing and doing a few girls’ hair for an hour, we are finally ready to get on the road.

The bus ride is something I like…a time to mellow out after a long packing and practice session. Other girls on our bus do not feel the same way. The other girls like to sing and be as loud as their little lungs will let them. The whole ride to Columbus East consisted of me sitting in my seat staring straight ahead trying to block the sound of their nails on a chalk board voices. After 40 minutes, I finally, begin to be able to truly tune them out, sleep finally came and I am sure I was much better to deal with after an hour of sleep.

When we finally got to our destination our normal ritual begins; bathroom, unpack, get dressed, and perform. I have to say using the bathroom is usually my favorite part, because it is a time to get off the bus and far away from the annoying girls I put up with. We unpack all of our flags get dressed ion the cold bus and head to warm-ups. I look at my phone 12:30. I think, “Crap where is he!” Austin is supposed to be in the pit crew to help hold up our prop masks during the performance. He still isn’t here and we are set to go on the field at 12:57 p.m. By now, I am freaking because out I made a promise to Mr. Trueblood, the guard instructor, that he would be here. Warm-ups are almost over and we start walking to the field, still no Austin in sight.

Half-way to the field, I see a figure in the distance jump out of a Prius and run our way. It was the funniest thing that had happened that morning. Once everything was back on track and we had all the pit people and masks were on the guard’s faces, I felt like nothing could go wrong. I was terribly mistaken.

“Salem, you may now take the field for AA competition,” the announcer’s voice booms all throughout the stadium. This is it my time to shine I’m on the 50 yard line and feeling good. The show starts and off we go running, jumping, tossing, spinning, but most importantly performing. Columbus East is known for their wind. So all through every show we have performed here fighting the wind is the most important element.

Just as I look over at the mask prop on the right hand side of the field, I see them lying down. It was the weirdest thing. I thought it was just an effect I didn’t hear them put in, but soon I know it’s not an effect. Right after one mask goes down, the other mask starts to blow in the wind. This is the mask Austin is behind. I was running around to my spot and I hear a rip. His hand has ripped of the mask and it goes down. Unlike the other people, who got under the mask to not be seen, Austin didn’t get under so he is lying on top of the mask in the middle of the field. It was truly the funniest thing of the whole day. When the performance is over and everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong, I was really disappointed. There is no way we were getting gold.

After changing we head back to the stadium to listen for awards. The band crosses their right hand over their left and grips pinkies of the person next to them; the band has done since the beginning of time. We listen and as other schools get gold’s I start to feel really nervous. My stomach turns and I don’t know what to feel as the announcer says, “Salem…..Let’s give them a….. Gold” I jump and down. Everything that gone crazy and bad has pulled us through. The next thing in line is Regionals which is on Saturday Oct. 15, and the band performs at 11:29 a.m.

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