My POV: Homestead Varsity Winterguard

Winterguard travels to Las Vegas to perform in WGI competition

By Lindsay Goddard

Homestead Varsity Winterguard prepares for their Las Vegas show this season
Homestead Varsity Winterguard prepares for their Las Vegas show this season

We all stand in a circle and grab each other’s hands.

“I will not fear. Fear is the mindkiller. I will face my fear and let it pass through me. When the fear is gone there will be nothing left. Only I will remain.”

The team repeats these words back to our coach before we head out on the floor to compete.

We stand in a circle, repeating these words, but as soon as we step foot onto the floor, each of us is alone, solely responsible for doing our part to impress the judges.

Rather than being one unidentifiable part in a massive 200-piece puzzle that makes up the field show during the fall, in the winter season I am one out of 15 pieces, which amplifies the pressure to be perfect. There is no room for error, as the venues are typically small gyms. The judges can see everything, compared to fall season, when the audience appear as tiny little dots in the distance from the field.

All of these factors make winterguard much more intimate than the fall season of marching band. We performers get to directly interact with our audience by making faces at them and seeing their reaction.

This difference leads to more practices that are much more intense due to the higher standards. Especially since the team moved up a competition class this year. Each member has to perform and achieve at the same level or else the whole team’s score will suffer. This creates a lot of intensity and added stress, often leaving me to question if it is all worth the pressure.

But after our Vegas competition competition, I can undoubtedly say it is. I remember standing in the middle of the gym floor, surrounded by silence and the intimidating cameras of the waiting spectators that fill the bleachers. The announcer read out, “Homestead Open presenting their program: White Rabbit Through the Looking-Glass.” The whole team took one last breath as we waited for the music to begin.

As the music started, our movement instructor’s words ran through my mind: “Make the audience clap, do not wait for them to clap, but give them something to clap for.” I try to smile at the audience while spinning my saber.

I locked eyes with a judge speaking into his recorder. The nerves started rushing back to me. I wondered what he was saying about the show. But I quickly pulled my focus back to what I was doing.

Throughout the whole show, photographers snapped action shots from every angle, when suddenly during the closing feature, the crowd burst into screams. The feeling is indescribable.

When the final note of the music sounded, I sat on top of the table prop, smiling up at the audience. The photographers took their final picture, the judges gave their final comment and the crowd finished their applause.

With our final performance of this show approaching, I look back at our whole season. I could not be happier to have spent the last four months with 14 amazing people. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to perform next to my teammates.

On April 2, the last show of the season, when I jump onto the table and hear the final applause for the show we put together, I’ll smile at the photographer taking their last picture and know that it was all worth the ride.