In school, I was the quiet, shy girl. I wasn’t good at sports. I didn’t have the money the other kids had. I wasn’t popular. Most of all, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. The world today is not a nice place to grow up in. More and more kids and even adults are making bad decisions, life-altering decisions simply because, like me, they don’t feel like they belong anywhere. The day that I stopped feeling like this was the day that I made an effort, a conscious decision to get involved.
Color guard is one thing that most people don’t know about. They are the people they see on the football field but never give a second thought to. I was the exact same way until an opportunity presented itself to me and I jumped.
For those of you who don’t have any idea what color guard (guard) is, it’s a group of people, both female and male, that perform for an audience using flags, rifles, sabers, and dance. It may sound arbitrary, boring, or even stupid (which believe me are all things that I have heard before), but to me it meant for the first time in my life, I belonged somewhere.
Personally, guard not only gave me a sense of belonging, but it also gave me opportunity. It gave me the opportunity to break out of my shell. For the first time in my life, I opened up to new people, made new friends with people I wouldn’t have ever known before, and I felt good about myself. Joining a team was a scary thing for me, but it taught me that I could rely on other people, I could ask for help, and I finally had someone other than my family to look up to. Working with the older girls and guys gave me confidence and also comfort. Through these new found relationships, I gained mentors in not only the guard world, but my everyday life as well. I made ever lasting friendships, friendships that even now, six years later, I still hold dear.
One other (though not the last, I assure you) thing that I was able to learn from my experience with color guard was leadership. As I grew more confident in myself and my abilities, I was granted more leadership positions. One thing that this new found leadership did for me was give me confidence. Finally, I was able to help someone else, be a mentor to someone else and feel good doing it.
When I look back at my experience, I can never forget everything that color guard was able to give to and instill in me. Because of my color guard world, I can finally see myself as successful, outgoing, and beautiful. Color guard gave me the hope and the courage to belong. It gave me the courage to get involved. Life long friends. Life long memories. Life long experience. For me, it was guard but for you, it could be anything.