Saturday, October 16, 2010

Flag Memories

Last night, Grace asked if I would go to the football game with her. The weather had turned colder, and I'm a wimp. I had planned to stay in and grade papers with half an eye on "Say Yes to the Dress."
Grace was meeting a friend at half time so I only had to commit to the first half of the game. I texted my friend Jane whose son plays on the team. She would be there. I had a feeling Grace wouldn't be my companion for long. We hadn't even walked half way across the front of the stands when Grace scampered off having spotted her friend Haley who she hadn't seen since leaving for college.
I searched for Jane to no avail so tromped up the bleachers to sit beside another Jane.
"One Jane's as good as another," this Jane said to me when I told her who I was searching for.
Grace came back to sit with me right before the band took the field.
Our school has a big band for its size. More than one-fourth of the students in the school are in the band.
The other team's band had flag girls. They had three different flags to use throughout the show, switching, well, I'm not sure why they switched but the gold and burgundy flags looked pretty.

I was a flag girl at my high school. That's how I met my best friend from high school, Tracey.
We're the same height, so we were always opposite each other in our flag lines.
The year I started as a flag girl, we got new aluminum poles. Those poles were so much lighter than the old wooden poles we used.
Before we could use the aluminum poles though, we had to go to band camp. Does anyone remember band camp in August? I don't think I ever felt more miserable, and I was always on my period during band camp, standing in the hot field throughout the day with bees and flies landing on my bare legs. We had to hold positions like the foot to knee and if we slipped we had to run a lap.
The band director would say, "If you didn't hold attention, you need to run. You know who you are. We saw you."
I always felt so guilty that I would run even if no one was around to see me.
At band camp, we used heavy metal poles to practice with. We couldn't risk ruining the new aluminum ones. We also had to create our own flags from white cotton sheets. I can't remember what kind of scene I used to decorate my flag, but here's one thing I do recall, a white cotton sheet on the end of a metal pole gets pretty darn heavy.
Add to that the early morning practice, the field filled with dew, and soon that wet cotton sheet weighed down my arms.
As the week of band camp passed, I grew much stronger.
Cut to the actual show. We practiced with our heavy poles and flags for weeks. In the band show at half time and competitions, we'd switch to aluminum poles and nylon flags.
One of the highlights of the show was when the flag girls in lines opposite each other catapult our flags to our partner. We each end up with the other girl's flag.
Weeks of swinging the metal pole with the heavy cotton flag.. well, you can guess what happened.
I launched my flag pole and it flew over Tracey's head landing on the bright green turf. We had a runner to gather flags or other discarded objects, but she didn't see the flag laying on the field, so Tracey had to mime her flag work through the rest of the show.
Now that I think about it, I'm rather amazed that Tracey is still my best friend from high school.
We're going to have facials together in just a few weeks. She never forgave me for the flying flag incident though.


Stephanie said...

My, my, my. A former flag girl, who'd have thought?

When I told MacKenzie, she said, "Dude! Geek." This from a girl who plays clarinet in the marching band.

For the record, those girls (and sometimes boys ) are now called color guard.

Just Me said...

I loved this story !!!!
PS. You are so funny.

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