How the Spirit Show Organizations Push Through Anxiety and Stress

How the Spirit Show Organizations Push Through Anxiety and Stress

The bright lights reflected off the shimmery pom-poms clutched in sweaty hands, as the Sapphires waited anxiously on the sidelines. Fingers cramped, after hours upon hours of practice, the color guard members gripped their flags at their side. Running through his piece over and over again, a band student hoped he could remember his work. Weeks — sometimes even months — of practice, and yet for many of these students, it doesn’t seem like enough.

But even through all of the pressures and hardships, it all seems worth it in the end.

“Right before hitting the field, you get a rush of adrenaline and slight nervousness, thinking things like am I going to catch my tosses, or hit my dots on the right count,” junior color guard member Rina Iwata said. “But immediately as you begin marching across the field, you transform into a performer, and you feel the strong unity across the guard and the band.”

This unity didn’t come easy; color guard has three hour practices three days a week, in addition to practices on Saturdays. On top of this, they work for eight to nine hours on game day, and yet despite all of their efforts, they are often plagued by fear of failure. The resultant lack of sleep also causes emotions to run high.

“Our practices in the morning are typically two hours long, and we start at 6:15 p.m. four to five days of the week and end when first period ends,” junior Sapphire treasurer Amanda Galloway said. “If you’re a social or dance officer, we leave the dance gym at 9:13 a.m.”

Despite wanting to curl up and take a nap, the Sapphires give every practice their all. At band practices, well-known for their length and unfortunate settings, members work on perfecting every detail.

“At the practices, we work on the competitive show, the choreography, the music, the marching itself, or the spirit show, which is what we perform at halftime,” junior Rachel Westerbeck said. “Sometimes we have ‘basics’ practices when we work on the fundamentals, like timing and shape.”

As the band works to perfect their show prior to the game, the Sapphires use this time to relax and take a hard-earned breath as they help one another do their makeup and hair. However, that sanguine feeling doesn’t last long: after last-minute practice, touch-ups, and sitting through the first two quarters of the game, it’s showtime.

“During the performance, for me, I’m entirely focused,” Westerbeck said. “Nothing else is going through my head besides what I’m doing at that moment, or something my band director said we have to work on. I’m concentrating on making it the best run possible.”

After the final note, the final move, and the final toss, these organizations are able to look to the crowd, see the stands filled with those who support them, and feel proud of all they have accomplished.

 “Afterwards, I feel the trust and bond of my teammates who have spun and performed through the show with me,” Iwata said. “Even though we’re exhausted after spinning and dancing through the marching band show, I am proud and feel energized by our performance.”