By Abby Hill
Emotions pour out onto the tarp, a story being created right in front of the audience’s eyes. Flags and weapons spinning, the color guard performs their heart out as a team, but more importantly, as a family. Ranging from 25-12 people, the BHS color guard prioritizes relationships and teamwork in everything they do. No matter if they enjoy the activity or not, the overwhelming fact is that color guard provides an escape and a family for those involved.
“Color guard has been one of the most life-changing experiences for me. My character has been shaped by the lessons learned and observation of others,” said Grace Fuchser, the current color guard captain. “From color guard I learned time management, how to be comfortable with others, be proud of who I am, and so much more.”
Color guard is the non-musical section of the marching band or an indoor color guard sport. Unlike traditional color guard, winter guard is performed indoors, usually in a gymnasium or an indoor arena. Performances make use of recorded music rather than a live band or orchestra. The color guard at Batavia High School has existed for 6 years and ranges from 25-12 people generally. The color guard is open to everyone, for both the marching band season and winter season, the color guard does not cut anybody. The main difference between field season and winter season is that during the winter season, the guard performs without any band. This provides a more personal environment and more time to focus on individual skills.
“The guard grows closer as there is no band to socialize with, just each other. Even at competitions, I’d say it’s more personal,” said Emma Baunach, a five season guard member. “The tarp comes up really close to the stands and the energy the crowd gives off is focused on you. For five minutes everyone is watching you do what you love and it’s the best feeling.”
The color guard is a lesser known activity at our school, therefore they are relatively small. The color guard involves skills that are not normally practiced, so for new members, it is usually a very new experience. For many, color guard is something they grew to like since they were not entirely sure they enjoyed the activity when they first started. Though, once the main skills are mastered, many members found themselves enjoying performing and learning how to express themselves.
“Guard has helped me make friends who actually mean something to me. It’s also helped me open up as a person,” said Alyssa Meadowcroft, a 7 season member. “When I first joined I was one of the shyest people and with the help of the guard, I was able to become outgoing. I learned the skill of leadership and time organization while doing this because, let me tell ya, 40 hours of practice a week during the summer can really put you in a time strain sometimes.”
For many, high school is a very stressful experience. Whether it be out of school or homework, many struggle to find a way to relieve stress. For most members of the color guard, this rings very true; however, the guard has helped relieve many of their stressors by providing an activity to focus on and people to get comforted by.
“Guard helps me get my mind off school for a few hours. It gives me something else to give my focus to, something that needs my focus in order to be successful,” Baunach said. “It gives me a place to laugh with my friends and a place to be where I feel like I have control. I have control of my body and whatever piece of equipment I’m working with. There’s always something to work on, something to detail, something to clarify.”
As previously stated, the color guard is a relatively small group. This means that the group is usually very close to one another, bonding very closely over the course of the 4 month seasons. In order to be a team that spins and dances together, a close relationship is required. The color guard provides “friendships that will last a lifetime” and “basically becomes a family” during their time together. According to nearly all of the color guard from the 2016 field season, they would consider the members of the color guard their closest friends.
“Indeed, I find that I am a better person because of it. The people that I have made good connections with have always been able to help me through rough times throughout my high school career,” Fuchser said. “Being able to physically work out some stress and forget about stressful situations during practice is something that has always helped me.”
For seasons to come, the guard will continue to be “the best thing since sliced bread” and a family for those who need one.
“If it is something that you find is your calling you will always have a different outlook on life, in my opinion, one usually is able to appreciate people and music more,” Fuchser said. “However if it is not for you trying it is always advised because of how great of an experience it is.”