Having been a "flag girl" in high school, I am aware of the trials, sacrifices, drama and exhaustion accompanying the activity.
These days, flag, rifle and sabre lines are called "guard" and have their own activity, winter guard, of which the band is not invited (tee hee).
Expectations are more demanding now. Lines are straighter, tosses are higher and the guard smiles now.
Competitions are ALL DAY LONG. I mean, the day starts at 5 a.m. and bedtime may not be until 4 a.m.
Competitions are such long affairs, it seems the seasons change. One arrives in summer, sporting a light jacket. A sweat attack occurs in the afternoon--everyone wishes they'd worn shorts and halter tops.
The sun goes down. Flags and rifles fumble due to cold-numbed fingers. Spectators watch the awards ceremony wrapped in blankets. Some parents cause near riots at the concession stand for the warmth of a cup of hot chocolate to hold.
Trash can fires are considered.
These competitions are the rewards, the icing on the cake. They are the big deals for which bands have been preparing since the heat of mid-summer band camp. They are the reason high schoolers arrive an hour early to school every day and stay late for practices nearly as often.
To say marching band is an extreme sport is an understatement.
So...a salute to the bands (and parents) in the throes of marching season.
It's tough out there!