By Krista Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org He put his hand flat up against the glass wall between us as I waited at the gate. A small tear fell as I smiled at him, and I put my hand on the glass where his hand was. The lady sitting against the wall flashed me a smile. That moment was just like the Toledo show, when we talked on cell phones separated by a piece of glass. At that moment so many summer memories came flooding back to me.
As I walked away I turned one last time to catch a glimpse and that sweet smile. I tried my hardest to wait until I was out of site to cry. He told me to look between the plane and the ramp door as I boarded. He was standing in the window. When the plane door shut and I hung up the phone, I looked out the window and watched him standing there. I couldn't believe he was still there just watching my plane sit on the runway. I cuddled with his KU hoodie that I managed to steal. And then, I cried all the way to Cincinnati. It's really hard leaving someone you love. It's even harder when you catch a glimpse of "normalcy" (whatever that is) and then you have to leave it. Drum corps is a lot like that. The life you lead during the summer starts to feel normal, and the things that you have to leave you feel like you'll never get back. The sad thing is, you might not get them back. I guess that's good and bad. So in light of my amazing trip to Kansas, I dreamed up five things I cherish about (and during) the summer. 1 -- Time. It's really precious. I remember so clearly how it felt that everydays would never end, and then I was on the bus for the last time procrastinating while taking off my uniform. I admit that the days get long, the sun gets way too hot and rehearsal seems to never end (it doesn't, by the way). But all that aside, when it's all over, you're just kind of left scratching your head and saying "what happened?" My best advice is to take the time to really enjoy what you're doing. Pour your heart and soul onto the field and leave the best performance of your life every single night. Everyone wants the glory, but few of us actually get it. It's worth it, I promise. 2 -- People. By far one of the best parts of corps is the people that you're able to meet. You witness everyone in a very vulnerable state (and they see you in one). It's amazing how so many people from all walks of life come together. What's even better is knowing how and why corps friendships are lasting. It doesn't seem to matter that everyone lives in different parts of the country and that everyone goes to different schools. You find a way to connect. You make it work. They're the people who understand you in ways that only few in your life do. Don't shut them out, and more importantly, don't be that guy who never talks to anyone and has a miserable summer. 3 -- Staff. Staff to me means more than the men and women who teach us music, etc. -- staff includes everyone. It's interesting how sometimes you learn more from that one guy on the cook crew that anyone. Or you learn how willing people are to help you time after time when you need something. There's that one mom who treated you like her own and made you feel right at home. It's so hard to forget these people. I never really knew just how many people were involved in getting us down the road. It's so amazing how everything just works. I remember our director saying, "When we learn how to tour." I didn't get it the first few times, but when the wheels get set in motion, it works flawlessly. The people that make all this work are just as unique as those of us who wear the uniform. Don't forget that they don't have to do what they do. They choose to do it because they love it, just like we do. 4 -- The Uniform. It may seem silly, but I really think uniforms are magical. I remember everydays when we started getting fitted. All winter, we had peeked into the sewing room trying to catch a glimpse of what was inside while wondering when we would be worthy of getting to put one on. The first time I put my jacket on, I couldn't have been more proud, at least not until the entire corps was in uniform. It was such an amazing feeling. It's hard to know what you're working toward during everydays. Be careful not to lose sight of your real goal. Don't forget the stuff you have to get through to get where you want to go. Eventually you get more used to the uniform (not that it's any less magical), but you begin to carry yourself as if you're always in uniform. Then, when you're taking it off for the last time, knowing that there's no show tomorrow night you suddenly don't want to take it off. There's always someone who wants to be like you, who wants to wear the uniform, so cherish it and treat it with the respect that it deserves. 5 -- Passion. I know it might seem weird to say to someone, "Cherish the passion that you have for this activity," but I think it's most appropriate. The reasons that people love this activity are vast. Maybe you're a performance major, music education, or perhaps you're the girl who has no idea what she wants to major in. Perhaps you haven't marched in two years and you had to fight for your spot. Either way, the way music moves you and speaks to you is what you contribute to your corps. Don't forget why you started the whole journey. Maybe you wanted to lose weight (you'll most likely do that regardless) or maybe you just felt like you had to prove to someone back home that you had what it takes. Whatever your reasons you have to hang onto them. I'd give up anything to be able to march with the 2003 Glassmen again. No matter where you're marching this year, remember this (this isn't an easy lesson): No matter how much someone doubts you, don't let it get you. It's a game, and unfortunately it's a game that we all must play. Don't let it beat you. Don't let someone tell you "you should have" or you "could have." Prove to them that you can. Go out every night on fire and give them the best of you. Depend on your fellow corps members, they won't let you down. Rest assured that the guy next to you is giving as much as you are. What you give is what you get. 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