As my mind wandered through an open gate this morning, thoughts traveled to Kuna, Idaho in the summer of 2013. Me, tears streaming down my face for what felt like an eternity. Standing, surrounded by young humans in concentric circles with me in the middle. Silence. Long, almost unbearable silence. Tears. Mine, theirs, ours. Turning and looking at each and everyone of them, looking into their eyes. Trying to gather myself and share some words. The right words, but words seemed so pointless in that moment. We all felt it. We didn’t know what it was, but we all felt it. Finally, the silence was broken by one young human…
“Was it that bad?” 😞
I had spent the entire pre show warm-up with the guard. As the corps approached the stadium, the guard gathered their equipment and proceeded to the gate. When the time came, the DM lead them to field. After going through the gate with them, I went to do my usual inspection of field conditions. Immediately, upon stepping onto the grass, an overwhelming sense of fear, dread, and palpable panic came over me. The grass, at its shortest, was ankle deep! 😨
They. Are. F*****
I went into the stands, almost absent of my senses. My only thought was not the concern IF they would have a bad show, but HOW BAD it would be.
At the start of the day, at least half of them were more than 20 minutes late to the morning warm-up stretch. They all slept walked through breakfast AND the show day block before arriving at the venue.
It was the third day of tour. The third day of tour is always a hot stinky pile, but this one was especially extra poopy. I was disappointed, terribly disappointed. I felt, at that point, I’d failed to prepare them properly. I asked them, all of them, to tell me if I was not helping them. If they didn’t feel like I was helping them, I’ll go home. Either way, they needed to get their **** together, pull their heads out, and make that day mean something.
That was in the morning. Spent the rest of the day with guard, didn’t want see or talk to anyone else, besides guard, until show time that night. I was in my own “figure it out” mode.
That night, that show, that performance was AMAZINGLY EMOTIONALLY POWERFUL. From a technical standpoint, the performance sucked hairy sweaty man ass. But, it was a show! Their feet and legs fought through that cow pasture and they poured every drop of energy and sweat they had into entertaining that audience, filling the stadium with electricity of their performance.
…and beauty of that moment, the beauty of their effort, brought me to spontaneous tears
I thought it was just me, feeling the feels from the field. But it filled up the whole stadium, and it kept getting stronger and stronger. At the end of the performance, random strangers were shaking my hand and slapping my back in congratulations, saying it was the best performance they’d seen in years.
No it wasn’t, but I knew what they meant😉
I know part of the emotion that night was a result of all of us fighting out of the **** pile where the day started and turning it around, 180 degrees. They took everything that had happened those first three days, the tour ass kicking, and focused it into one of the most energetic and passionate performances I’d ever experienced.
For the record, that group ended fifth in the final rankings, out of 17 other groups, and 8 of the groups they bested had seasons that were 3 weeks longer❤
When you work closely with young humans, care deeply about them, and they know it, amazing things can happen😃