Since returning to Chicago a week ago, I’ve been hit with the question “So how was your summer?” more times than I care to count; and every time, I’ve given the same quick, easy response. “It was great.” But that’s because Jen Barton was right, once again.
On Semifinals day, she told us people would ask how it was. I mean, they had no idea what we were really doing besides posting pictures in uniform and pictures in basically our underwear from a new state seemingly every day.
She said we’d try to explain it. We’d try to complain about the rehearsal time in Louisiana, and how it felt to swim back to a reset in the thickest air you’ve ever tried to breathe. We’d try to tell the story of Rico getting shat on by a bird during a hot day at Luella about halfway through Spring Training. We’d say things that became norms over the summer, and nobody would laugh at a “yeet everything” and, normal people would get annoyed when we agreed with them by saying “well you’re not wrong.” We’d never be able to properly justify our hatred for Kansas to someone outside of drum corps. We’d never be able to forget how it felt to take the field at Mile High. We’ll never forget the sense of relief after a windy warm-up in San Antonio, knowing that our first dome show, (perfect conditions), was just moments away. We’ll never forget the hornline age-outs waking us up on the Atlanta regional day with Georgia. We’ll never forget the sadness after Allentown, when we realized we only had a week left with “Out of the Ashes,” and the 2015 Delta Diamonds. And hardest of all, we’ll never forget raising our white flag for the very last time in Lucas Oil Stadium, as the last note rang out, Brandt announced us one last time, and we collected our equipment and marched off the field. For the very last time with Spirit of Atlanta 2015.
As cliché as it sounds, this summer has changed me in the absolute best way. I worked my ass off, almost literally, with 152 other people who have this crazy passion for music and the performing arts. I got yelled at constantly for being late to count four of cradle titties. My biggest worries were EPL time; if I was improving along with not only the color guard, but the drum corps; and how much floor time we’d get that night. Sometimes, if I’d get to see my friends from other corps at the show that night. I knew how hard I had to work to get there, and I tried my absolute hardest to not take a second of it for granted.
And now… I miss it more than I ever thought I would. I’ve been through this before, and although it passed within about a month and a half after my rookie year, I just feel like everything about this time is completely different. I’ve spent countless hours on Skype in group chats with most of the color guard. On a daily basis, I’m in constant communication with at least seven members. If I thought I spent a lot of time on my phone before, it’s even more now that all of my best friends live (at the very least) 8 hours away. Most of them are two or three times that much.
We’ve been off of tour for almost a month. In about a week, it’ll mark a month from the last time we ran any chunk of the show, or just the show at all. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a month, and at the same time, it’s hard to believe it’s already been a month. It seems like just yesterday (okay, maybe a couple days ago) that I was crying outside of Lucas Oil as my best friend Katie Gulledge and I listened to Journey’s “Open Arms” and said our final see-you-laters.
Only 260-some days until next season. Until then, the only things getting me through are four-plus hour group skype calls, teaching high school band, the never ending group text, and the fact that I’ve got a plane ticket to Atlanta in my back pocket for New Years.
Until then… Georgia’s on my mind. (And here’s some pictures).