Guard · Travel

WGI Trip to Dayton, Ohio

For the seventh time, I made the annual trip to Dayton, Ohio to watch & participate in Winter Guard International Championships. I knew what to expect for the most part, but I’ve always gone with a different group of people doing a different show so there are always surprises that make every trip special.

I love (and hate?) that we (all the groups I’ve gone with) traditionally watch WGI DVDs on the way up there. It’s like the appetizer before we go to winter guard central and see nothing BUT winter guard for a solid 3 days. It has some nostalgic effects: I recall all the times I’ve sat in the stands or performed on that same stage, or where I was when that particular show was going on and how it made me feel. It gets me excited to be in the same place. It prepares me for it. It reminds me that I’m trying to be on the DVD (even though they don’t make those anymore D:). And funny thing, it also reminds me that Finalists are imperfect. XD [“I wonder what people are going to gripe about when they watch our show years from now..”]

Unfortunately, this season has made me more of a complainer, for better or for worse. I think I can speak for the whole team too, because we let the world have it when we didn’t stop at Cracker Barrel for breafast on the way up there. It’s some kind of tradition!
At our Walmart stop I stocked up on healthy foods like frozen veggies (thankfully there was a fridge and microwave in the hotel!), fresh fruit, and kombucha (good for tummy). Having my own food meant I knew what I was eating and so did my stomach; nothing unfamiliar, even if it meant turning down free food. This was the healthiest Dayton I’ve ever had, I think it helps that I wrote a post about it and that provided some accountability.

I  got my hair professionaly dyed by a professional with professional dye 😉 Wild Orchid by Purvana is definitely the best I’ve had thus far; the color is super bright and hasn’t faded a bit. Much better compared to Manic Panic and Splat, except I need a license to buy it!

We had a surprise rehearsal on Wednesday night; it was cramped and we only had time to work on the ending before the power went out (due to weather?). I was very afraid for some reason; maybe because I watched Disturbia at the hotel. Regardless, I want to not be afraid of stuff like that; is there scare therapy?

Thursday’s rehearsal was even more cramped , we didn’t even get to do a run! We also shared the space with recreational basketball on the other side of a tarp. The space was enough to make me anxious, I was very limited in what I could rehearse fully.

We got ready at the fitness facility we were at so we could watch a couple shows once we were at the University of Dayton arena. We were towards the end of the first round so I saw mostly Scholastic World guards before we went to warmup.

“This selfie stick doesn’t make me look popular!”

Thankfully we didn’t rehearse outside in the cold! But rotation was cramped as always, I could only stretch in the hallway and mark my dance in body warmup. Also, equipment warmup is terrible! At least I don’t have too many tosses to worry about (just four), and only two of those are high. But my weapon friends were hitting the ceiling and scaring me and making me anxious. But, I’ve performed my show enough times to calm down and manage my nerves.

Doesn’t mean I don’t get them though! I get nervous for every single show, but my experience has taught me to conrol and channel the show energies I get. I was very nervous for Prelims, less nervous for Semis, and Finals had the perfect balance of nerves and enjoyment. All in all, I had 3 solid runs ❤

Semis day started a bit earlier and we were in a very cold hockey arena. I remember people around me getting sick and a member even dislocating his finger, plus we were sharing the space with Etude (another world class guard).

Dayton rehearsals pretty much ran like: 10 minutes to stretch, 10 minutes with equipment, 5-10 rest/break, run, do each chunk twice, final run, and pack up. That’s really all we had time for anyways.

I believe we were ranked 14th after Prelims, and thankfully we kept that after Semis so we made finals! I just tell everyone that Top 15 was our goal…

We had a Pega-Pow-Wow (team bonding!) our last night at the hotel.. Lots of shared feelings and I cried and for a short time forgot about how rough this season was! In such an emotional state I knew I couldn’t rationally think about my involvement (or not) next year, so I’m postponing the planning until after summer. Don’t ask me if I’m marching next winter.

High School Class of 2012

Supreme Lineage

 But I did announce the next Supreme in case of my retirement 😉

It snowed Friday night! It really is great fo Floridians to see falling snow, I was so happy to see my friends happily taking pictures outside. I enjoyed it from the window of my hotel room, I was NOT going to go outside in that unless I had to. (1. I hate the cold. 2. I grew up in Oklahoma and we basically got 2 winter breaks because of the snow.)

Finals day I slept in until a healthy 10:30a, packed up the rest of my things and got on the bus to head to our last rehearsal of the 2016 season! Another empty hockey arena, but at least we got it to ourselves (Onyx came in after us).

I don’t remember much events between rehearsal and the end of our finals run. It just followed the same pattern of the two days before, and the last run was a “fun-through”.

I hate sitting in the back nosebleeds, but I have to be glad that there were so many people at WGI this year! From the back I really enjoyed Imbue and Paramount and can’t wait to watch the videos!

I also enjoyed retreat this year! I even saw a handful of my friends from this summer. Also, having my selfie-stick made my pictures feel more important 😛 (even if none of the audio works!)

Taking a picture with selfie stick vs your hands

Eric wasn’t with me on the ride home, and having two seats to myself was more comfortable than I thought! I liked the transistion from cold weather to hot weather much better than the other way around. After arriving in ORlando we threw our floor in the dumpster (really!), and as I was driving home I passed by some palm trees and was just reminded of how much I really like Florida. I’m proud to live here now.

ALSO, we did go to Cracker Barrel on the way home.

In summary this was the coldest Dayton trip I’ve ever had, but also more healthy and somehow less stressful. This also was not my favorite season or show, but I still love the people I’ve shared it with. And isn’t that why we march?




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