My Wasted Hour

February 9, 2013
"That was a wasted hour."

These words ring in my ears as the sweat is sliding down my face. Girls scream at the top of their lungs the counts to our choreography that was taught earlier that day. Stress bubbles up dramatically inside one frail body in the back, all because she cannot get the correct toss. The front line is annoyed, heat rushing to their faces as more and more girls seem to drop out like flies on a busy highway, smacked clean of their sense. All because of 16 simple counts of hardcore flag work and dance.
This is Colorguard.

I am in what is called Colorguard; you already know who we are and what we do. We are the girls who spin flags with the marching band during half-time shows at a football game. That is all I will say, because in one person’s eyes that is all we are. We are just the girls who spin a flag and throw a piece of wood high in the air with no skill what-so-ever. I would love to challenge that, but not with an essay on what Colorguard is ‘considered’, more like a picture of one hour in the mind of a dedicated athlete such as myself.

We are stirring the flag in constant circles. Sure to make the plane of my flag match the others; I spin at a 45 degree angle. These are figure eights. One, two, three, four! I chant these counts with every stretch of muscle in my arm. I can feel the burn like threads attached to my bones, suddenly pulling away from each other in panic, all because of one simple exercise. I am standing in second position turned out, my toes are pointing at a 45 degree angle as well. I look down at my feet to be sure of my positioning, and just like that I am punished.

“NO! Everyone SET!”

The girls all around me turn rigid, their arms tightening around the flag and their heads snapping towards the ceiling. All because I moved from set position, my poor companions are suffering with the screams of our stressed out instructor.

My head is starting to spin gradually, but I know this is not the end of the sick feeling deep inside my stomach. It’s almost like the pain is spreading throughout my body like a cancer on the move to each nerve in the traffic of cells running through my veins.
“SET! NO, everyone set now! We have had this exercise since June; I’m sick and tired of people screwing up our hard work!”

We are now running. For my mistake of re-adjusting my feet when we were supposed to be in set position, we must run a mile. The sick feeling is rushing faster, blood curdling screams linger on my tongue, but I dare not let that out. Not here and definitely not now. As sweaty as we are we must pass a large group of regular teens lounging in the parking lots of the school, laughing as we sluggishly walk past them to our non-laid back state of misery.

This is it. My last chance to prove myself on these figure eights, my mistakes has cost my team a mile and a half in 30 minutes, along with 40 push-ups. There has been tears and blood drawn from cut and bruised arms and legs. More importantly the minds of innocent teens have been singed at the roots with simple dance steps made especially hard, all for an 8 minute marching show during an almost insignificant half time event. Hours upon hours a day are spent learning choreography that will last just five seconds, but is plainly meant to excite the bored viewers in the bleachers with ketchup and soda spilled on their jeans, and smirks laid plainly on their faces.

All of this was in a span of one hour. Probably the most gruesome and non-deserved hour that you think a teenager like myself would have to go through. Well it wasn't. That hour was probably the most awe- inspiring hour of my life. I discovered strength I knew nothing of just days before, along with a newly found trust in my faithful and forgiving companions. I almost desired the rough burn of water trickling down my dry and sore throat from just minutes of screaming counts. But most of all, I loved listening to my instructor yell out the most powerful words of all. The words that kept me in Colorguard after the rough 10 hour tryouts that I almost never made; the words that kept my soul lifted within me, as it engulfed my heart to protect it from the so called ‘cancer’ that spread through my body. These words make you want to try even harder to prove everything and anything wrong. These words will sum up the reason why Colorguard is still alive. Yes for some it is nothing but an after school activity that tries to outsmart the ever so popular cheer squad or dance team. Of course it will always be seen to some as the easiest thing to do, for it is not as well known. Well, try to do 1,550 figure eights in the span on one hour; shared with a mile and a half around the track with 40 push-ups. Than after that hour the instructor asks to see, after all of the sweat and toil, what the figure eight exercise has come to be.

You and your companions give your absolute all on the last figure eight exercise worked on during that practice. Just as you finish, still stuck painfully in set position, the instructor chuckles softly to himself; grabbing his backpack and walking towards the exit. And as you stand there, the life drained from your already frail body, your instructor turns to you and says THE WORDS.

“That was a wasted hour.” And when he leaves, your body falls to the ground in excruciating pain as you beg a higher power that you can prove yourself tomorrow; during another one hour practice.

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