My sophomore year of high school, I was still feeling quite lost. It seemed to me that everyone had found his or her niche, while I was still searching. Then, at the after-school-activities fair, I saw a girl in the center of the gym all by herself, doing some fancy things with a big white—what was that? —rifle? I thought she might be part of the ROTC club. I wandered over to get a closer look. There was a table nearby that was showing videos on repeat of what looked like the marching band. I had gone to every single football game during my freshman year of high school, but suddenly I noticed something I never had before—the girls spinning those same white rifles and giant flags were on the field with the marching band. There were only five of them but wow did they look awesome! I stood there and watched her for a little longer until she finished her routine with a toss that sent the rifle spinning about 4 times in the air—something I would later learn to be called a quad.

After she was finished we talked for awhile. I asked her some questions about colorguard—could I join? Did it cost money? Was it a big time commitment? I was a little worried when she told me about band camp: two straight weeks in august of marching band and colorguard practice in the hot sun. She also told me there was a fee all of the members had to pay. But despite these things, I went straight home that afternoon and got on my computer to look up the registration information.

My first rehearsal was with just one another new girl, and the current captain of the Colorguard. She taught us drop spins  and speed spins/peggy-spins, which I had a lot more trouble with. My favorite part was when we went outside and the captain showed us some tosses: a 45 toss, a horizontal toss, and what she called a prayer toss. I was excited but also scared to try them—feeling like I needed a helmet to protect me in case the flag fell on my head, which seemed quite likely given my clumsiness.

It’s so funny to look back on those first days of Colorguard, never knowing how important and meaningful it would become for me in both my high school and college life. I would go on to make some of my best friends through colorguard, lead our colorguard for two years in high school as captain, and rush For the Love Of Colorguard at James Madison University. Colorguard is my home, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it!

Written by Kara Levchenko