Color my world with color guard


Gazebo Photo by EmmaJane Canady

Sophomore Sabina Ajjan, left, finds participation in the Stratford Color Guard to be rewarding

Every time a person asks me why I do not like playing volleyball, basketball, or any sport with a ball, I tell them that catching things is not my talent.

Yet, I am on the Stratford Color Guard

I did not know what a color guard was when I first came to Stratford in seventh grade. And, when I did find out, I had no interest in it for most of the school year. I was more focused on getting good grades and making new friends than on considering joining something I knew I would probably be terrible at.

Most of my new friends — Gabrielle Rader, Nora Jorgensen, Maddie Fackler, and Mimi Rader — were part of the marching band. They often told me about football games and how performing the halftime show was their favorite part of the week. I had never been to a football game, so I was not really sure what a halftime show was, but their enthusiasm made me eager to learn more about it. I found out that although I play the violin, I could not join band because I do not play a wind instrument or percussion. I could, however, join color guard because that does not require any musical skills.

They told me that “Guard Girls’’ learn how to throw flags and other objects.

I felt my heart drop as I heard this because I knew about my lack of hand-eye coordination, and I did not think I would even go to the preview week.

Then, I went to my locker one morning and found a cookie with a note saying, “Will you join color guard?”

There was no name on the note, but I knew who it was from.

I immediately felt obligated to at least go to preview week.

When that morning came, it took twice as much effort to get out of bed even though it was only half an hour earlier of the time I usually woke up. I was amazed by how little traffic there was at Stratford when I got to school at 7:50 for the first time.

The first morning was agitating. My hands could not figure out how to hold the flag, and every time I dropped it, I felt clumsy.

My friends constantly cheered me on, even when everything I was doing was wrong.

I decided to join anyway because there were other new people, so I had hope that I would not be too lonely as a newbie.

My introduction to color guard was not an exciting one. Band camp turned out to be similar to what I imagined a military boot camp to be. We stood in the heat for seven hours, unless it happened to rain, where we would march in the mud instead.

Once I had finished this week and learned the routine, it was soon time to perform.

All my friends were ecstatic about the first game, while I was dreading it.

When the day came, I could barely focus at school, and as we warmed up for the show before halftime, my heart was racing.

When the show began, it felt natural though, and it was exciting to have other people seeing my hard work come together.

For some reason, I felt really talented during that show, but now, me and my other friends that were in that show realize it was terrible because none of us were in sync with each other.

I am not as nervous about most shows anymore, but I see the new younger color guard girls stressing and ranting about everything they need to fix. I now feel it is good that almost everyone in color guard starts with knowing nothing about it because we all have a lot of empathy for each other when we mess up.

I try to focus more on the football game and talking to friends than on whether I am going to mess up. It takes away from the fun of being part of the color guard if I do not.