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Still twirlin’ after all these years…

Posted by Shelley on Jun 19, 2010 in Baton Twirling

It was really for such a short period of time but the impact this group had on me lasted a lifetime… here are my remarks from our reunion last night…

Looking through pictures, discovering long lost video tapes, preparing for the reunion – all of this has stirred up many emotions for me as I know it has for all of you too. When I began as a member of the greatest color guard of all time, way back in the spring of 1987, I never thought 23 years ahead and to a group of women I would share such a deep common bond. Instead, that spring I put down this book on that I bought in elementary school and began meeting every waking moment with Susan Stone Kendrick who showed me just how Mr. Terry wanted it done. Needless to say – none of it was in this book!

From Scholastic / Weekly Reader copyright 1970, 1972

From Scholastic / Weekly Reader copyright 1970, 1972

Instead, Susan, the outgoing majorette captain at the time, taught me to keep my chin up and point my toes, through all my basic twirls, marching and group routine which compromised our tryouts every spring. Cheryl Clark Hale, the incoming captain, inherited me and my willingness to learn those downfields and the difference between a yard line and a hash mark! Gina Christ Caplan our co-captain tried ever so patiently to teach me rhythm, counting and how to keep in step. But it was Mr. Terry and the rest of the color guard who taught me the show must go on.

favorite all time majorette picture, fall 1987

favorite all time majorette picture, fall 1987

Sitting in homeroom that October morning, hearing the announcements on the intercom and learning of the news that our instructor was in a coma was a moment in time that has stayed with me my whole life. Fortunately, as we saw his recovery begin we knew he was going to be okay but wouldn’t be back at practice for a while….so those captains has a huge task ahead of them and a big pair of shoes to fill. They were going to demand that we continue to give our very best.

VHHS Halftime Show 1987

VHHS Halftime Show 1987

I won’t elaborate b/c as you can see on our video tape that the 1987-88 color guard put on a heck of a show – it was that year the contest scores were near perfect, scoring a 99 at the Homewood Contest. Our majorette line even won State that year, seven of us who ran laps when we dropped those batons. I’ll never forget when one of the Rebelettes saw us running in the parking lot after a long practice and said, “wow, is this part of your workout?” and I feel sure it was Cheryl who said, “Ummmm, no, we run laps when we drop our batons….it’s called practice….”

1988-89 majorette line with Mr. Terry

1988-89 majorette line with Mr. Terry

I continued to twirl and be a part of the group for two more years, becoming co-captain the very next year alongside our 88-89 captain Jana Guitterez McAlpine. That year we added 2 more majorettes for a total of 9 and when I became captain my senior year we had a total of 11! Since then I’ve taught baton and even gone back to the high school as a sponsor of the group. Well, what can I say, once a majorette, always a majorette! I am very proud and always will be to be a part of this colorguard. As we all know, words cannot express the kind of commitment and dedication Mr. Terry’s color guard is known for. As the years have gone by, what can’t really be explained just lives on in each of us.

Me and Mr. Terry, June 2010

Me and Mr. Terry, June 2010

 
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Remembering

Posted by Shelley on Sep 11, 2008 in Baton Twirling, Real Life Stories

Melodi was 2 years old and I was taking her to mother’s day out.  At the time, I was coordinating aerobics schedules and teaching about half a dozen classes weekly in addition to choreographing majorette half time shows.  Needless to say, I was crazy busy and had my time accounted for that morning, as soon as I dropped her off I was to hit the ground running.

At a quarter to 9am we were flying to get to the interstate and Rick and Bubba were doing their ususal.  Until they got real serious.  That never happens!  This is a joke, who in the world is playing this kind of joke?  I’ve got a million things to do and ” going to war” is not one of them.  What are they talking about?

But they continued on… I kept driving.  Then I started screaming.  Melodi says, “what mommy?”  Then I remember I have got to get a grip on myself b/c for a moment I forgot everything, including that I was a mom who needed to display some kind of courage.  Do I take her to school?  What will I encounter up the road?  Is this for real?  What to do?

Mike was a consultant at the time working from home.  I called him from the car and all I could say was, “Something really bad is happening.  Rick and Bubba just announced that we are under attack.  Please get to a TV and tell me what to do.”  He said, “Keep driving, keep on with your day, I will get back with you.”  There was the couarge I was looking for.  Life was just happening, stop lights, traffic, people just keep moving right along.  So I did the same.

Once she was dropped off I went to church to work my office hours in the Recreation Center.  By that time it was the real deal.  It was several minutes after 9am CST and the world was very different than when I had left at 8:45am.  I saw it on TV for the first time.  I got there and went directly to the chapel and with several others we prayed.  After talking with Mike and agreeing that Melodi could stay at school we met our longtime friends Joey and Michelle for lunch (we were celebrating his birthday) and in a crowded restaurant we could hear a pin drop as the president came on television to tell us what was happening.  There we were, the four of us moving through the day but we all looked at each other a little differently, not knowing what to expect next.  We had double-dated in highschool, been in each others weddings, celebrated the birth of Melodi and numerous other things in our lifetime with them.  And here we are watching the world fall apart with them.  At least that is what is what it felt like at the time.

I went to the highschool at my appointed time and to my surprise found that the band director intended to have a late rehearsal b/c we were sharing the practice field with the football team.  “What have you been doing all day?  Do you KNOW what has happened?  These kids need to be with their families at church tonight, not practicing for band competiton!”  I said to him.  (needless to say, I only worked a few more hours after that, I finally realized how insane he really was).  He told me to be there for rehearsal and it wasn’t until the parents started calling to say “My child WILL BE HOME by 8pm to hear the president” that he relented.  So, there we are, on the field and the football coach is wrapping things up with his boys and he gets the bullhorn and tells everyone, including the band to be still and listen.  “I don’t know what is going to happen.  Some of you might be fighting a war that you didn’t ask for.  But you have got to be brave and look out for each other.  Because what is happening is changing your lives forever.  This is real.  I don’t like it any more than you do but the stuff you’ve been learning out here on this field is what we have to demonstrate to the world.  You have got to come together as a team on this field and off this field.  For real this time.”

Anyway, to be standing there with a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds hearing an impromptu speech like that was just about more than I could take.  Somehow, that stupid practice the band director called was not so important anymore.  He let us go pretty quick.

And I came home wondering how in the world I brought a child into the world where stuff like this could happen.  Eventually, we have all come to grips with 9/11 but I will never forget the course of events that day.  The horror of watching it all on TV and wondering how, why, what next.  It’s been seven years and while I could write on the politics of it all I think I just wanted to remember.

 
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In My Humble Opinion

Posted by Shelley on Sep 5, 2008 in Baton Twirling

For anyone who has known me for any length of time you will understand why I am fascinated with this.

I just don’t quite know what to say.  I really do think I am speechless.

No, for the record I think I will have a position on this…

(from the article) “We want to show that it’s a sport,” said DeDee Carte, a director of Hi Society who thinks more boys will be captivated by the activity. “It takes a true athlete to be able to do it. It’s not just about flipping a baton.”

Hard?  Yes.  Different?  Absolutely.  Boys twirling batons?  NO!!!!!!  I just think the girls look better in those uniforms.  There is a reason they called us “shiny butts.”

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