Becky Novac, an alum of the Bluecoats' color guard, will be contributing a column to every Thursday. This is her fourth installment.

Becky Novac
Like many other corps this past weekend, the Bluecoats held the annual banquet on Friday, the day before the first camp. I, along with many other age outs, braved our last banquet together with the rest of our drum corps family. This weekend would also be the first audition weekend as well. ^I tried not to focus on the fact that this was my last banquet and probably the last time I'll get to see most of my friends involved with this activity. Instead, I wanted to remember the great experience we had all gone through as a group and what we had accomplished. Each day during the summer you simply do what you're told. You have no control over how many reps you do of each section or when you do them. Throughout the whole experience you never get the chance to see the over all picture. I haven't picked up a piece of equipment since finals nor have I even seen a video of our accomplishments. Banquet was my first time seeing the last production of the Bluecoats' 2004 show, "Mood Swings." I couldn't help but be proud of everything we had done the summer before but more so I was jealous of those around me who didn't age out. Talking with several members of the staff, I learned a few details about the 2005 program and became envious of the summer to come. But you can't change when you were born, even though most of us debated if whiteout would work on our birth certificates, and if the staff would simply forget how old we were. Nevertheless, it was our time to remember the 2004 summer together one last time. The whole entire weekend was surreal. I sat at a table with some of my closest color guard friends. I haven't been in touch like I should with them since August (for those that are reading this, I again apologize for not calling and writing), but it was like we hadn't left each other. We simply picked up from where we had left off, exchanging gossip and updates about each other and everyone else. I had almost forgotten everyone's individual nuances. I had almost forgotten Aaron Brown's (color guard captain) quirky humor or the way Erin R. (drum captain) likes to imitate color guard language. I had almost forgotten that I was the bus god (bus leader, bus boss) of the percussion bus. It all started coming back to me in waves as I watched the member DVD. It's funny how we all easily forget memories that are so important to us. What would we do without each other to remind us of all the funny things that happened? Would we try and remember the day that our caption head fell right on his butt trying to imitate how horrible we looked during a phrase? Or would we simply forget and let the memories fade with time? The last thought is the scariest for me that comes along with leaving the activity for good. My caption head, Jamie Oakley, always said that we will never remember the bad days, only the good. That our struggle in the heat and torrential downpours would make us better but would never be our first thoughts when reminiscing about the entire season with our friends. I don't think we ever mentioned one painful moment of our entire season when we were together this weekend. We truly only remembered our proud moments of accomplishment and the intermittent comical episode that can never leave your mind. On Saturday morning, the 2005 season officially began. I decided to go to a little bit of rehearsal, since my plane didn't leave until later in the afternoon. As I watched everyone begin dance class, I felt proud of my friends who, last year at this same time, were signed as alternates, and now were examples for everyone to follow. Somewhere in the block of 85 kids auditioning, there was someone that was about to take my place and about to start a whole new set of memories. I hope they cherish the new memories and don't let them fade away with time. Becky Novac currently lives in Hoboken, N.J., and works for Universal McCann in New York City as an assistant media planner. She is 22 years old and a recent graduate from Penn State University where she majored in journalism and psychology. Becky marched with the Bluecoats in 2000, 2002 and 2004 as a member of the color guard. Past columns by Becky Novac: Missing out Unknown suitcase adventures The Even years