Guard members share excitement for returning sport
Twirling her blue flag in front of her body, junior winter guard member Claire Boomer listens to the beat of the music. She throws the flag up into the air, looks up and wraps her hand around the flagpole as she catches it. She then runs across the floor to her next position.
This year, winter guard is an addition to the activities offered here, however, not for the first time. Boomer said the school had a winter guard team the first or second year it was open, but it ended after one year. She said since her freshman year, she and some other members of color guard have been wanting to restart winter guard. Though, she said, until this year, the school didn’t have the resources or the people to do so.
“I know I really wanted it, and a lot of the girls just thought, ‘We can do this. If we have enough people committing to this and we really want it bad enough, we can make it happen,’” Boomer said. “We have the girls who are willing, we have the coach who is very qualified and very good to work with and we have the support of our band program. We thought, ‘We can make it work, so why don’t we?’”
Winter guard season runs November through April, and the team began competing in Midwest competitions in late January. Freshman winter guard member Courtney Hafner said they practice two or three times a week outside of school, and that the sport includes dancing, twirling rifles, spinning and throwing flags and sabers and learning choreography. While color guard and winter guard have similarities in the equipment they use, Hafner said the main difference between them is that the band is not involved in winter guard.
“Fall guard, or color guard, is the visual aspect of marching band, so all the music is made by the band,” Hafner said. “Winter guard is just the performance where the focus is on the guard members. There is no band, and the music is recorded.”
Another main difference between the two is that winter guard is indoors and is allotted more freedom, Boomer said.Since they are not limited by the drill of marching band season, they are allowed more independence when it comes to movement and choreography. Boomer said her main goal for winter guard is for the team to have fun while creating a program that will last.
“I think we are really just out there to have fun and make something of ourselves,” Boomer said. “We want this to last and we want other people — involved in fall marching band season or not — to come in and have a good time because there is something other than the regular sports you hear about in Southwest to be a part of, and I think that’s a really good goal.”