Moving to Arizona? That was next on my to-do list.
As the traditional craze of graduation finally died down, the reality that I was moving across the country crept up on me. Back at home there was a thirty-inch bag that I would be living out of soon enough, and after the milestone of graduation passed, that was what I had to look forward to. The excitement I had always associated with drum corps wasn’t what I felt the night of May 27, 2016.
“Recently there has been a very large margin between nervousness and excitement about drum corps. Nervousness being about ninety-nine percent of my emotions, excitement the last one percent,” I wrote in my journal the day after graduation when I flew to Arizona. I had no idea how to pack, how to feel, or what to expect. The apprehension I felt was something I couldn’t act upon, because in drum corps it’s easy to let outside factors affect performance levels, but the journey is in overcoming them. No matter the weather (it was a toasty ninety-five degrees that day) or how much sleep you get, 100% effort is the minimum.
My first day of spring training was as I had imagined it- rehearsal blocks lasting four hours in the hot sun. But the physical exhaustion is a quality that I very vaguely remember. I do, however, recall being extremely overwhelmed on my first day.
“The feeling that I’m actually going to do this hit me after I sat down in my seat at graduation last night after I got my diploma, and I barely even cared because all I could think about was moving here.” The anticipation I had kept bottled up finally ceased upon my arrival at Campo Verde High School and was replaced with unfamiliarity. No longer was I surrounded by southern folk, high school alumni, or friends I had known for years. I was thrown into a pool of 150 people whom I had almost no prior relations with. I was the only member from Arkansas and had some of the least amount of experience. I had no family within hundreds of miles, and I was expected to perform at the same level and everyone else around me. I was emotionally drained, and it had only begun.
I felt I didn’t belong there. Not only was I from a different part of the country (my accent proved it-members made sure to mess with me about it), but I still felt that I wasn’t good enough. How did I make it that far? I had to constantly remind myself of the tireless hours I had to spend to get to that dusty field in Arizona. I practiced three hours a day on average, and I submitted extra footage to prove I wanted to get better. I asked questions and emailed numbers staff members with extra videos to critique. I had all of this information at my disposal, and I had to seize it. I wanted to get better, and I couldn’t let the separation from home stand in the way. My contract was something I earned, and it was time to reap the benefits.
“…I can only think of what this summer will be like- I can only paint my own picture and have my own disposition of what will happen…” And that statement could not have been more true. Never could I have imagined the memories I made in the upcoming three months.