Andrea Kile, a Santa Clara Vanguard trumpet player who also plays defensive wing on the Texas Tech University lacrosse team, says that being involved in the two intense activities drives her to work harder at both activities. "Being spread out between two, time commitment-driven organizations, I am put in a position where I have to work harder to keep up with Lacrosse AND Vanguard," Kile said. "Basically, I am not allowed to have any excuses in poor performance because it was my choice to be involved in two demanding groups -- and if I do, my coach can blame it on being gone once a month in California, or Vanguard can blame it on not having enough dedication to them."
Lacrosse practice: Tuesday/Thursday 6-8 p.m., and Sunday 2-4 p.m. Lacrosse games on Saturday with occasional practices called on Mondays from 4-6 p.m. and Wednesdays 6-8 p.m. I practice my trumpet between an hour and two hours a day. I condition for both drum corps and lacrosse two hours a day, running a couple miles, either long distance running or a sprint workout routine, switching off every other day, then 30 minutes on the bike, then a good hour on the machines and weights.
Not surprisingly, conflicts do arise between the two entities. "Lacrosse season is played January through April, so the monthly rehearsals for drum corps in the spring conflict occasionally with games," Kile said. "Last year, I choose to miss one of the Vanguard camps because we had two major important games in one weekend. This year though, I did run into a weekend conflict, but the universities we were playing that weekend were not important.
(Kile was featured in an SCV promotional video earlier this month)
"This is my age-out year and I want to experience as much drum corps as I can before I can no longer be apart of it. Because this year I chose to miss two lacrosse games, my coach threatened my starting position, and I have to work extra hard to prove to him that he can still start me and that I am still committed to the lacrosse team. It is really hard because I want to be in California with the corps and I want to be playing with the team," Kile said.
Physical and mental differences
Physically, Kile sees many similarities between the demands of drum corps and the demands of lacrosse. "Both drum corps and lacrosse demand extreme physical abilities. Holding your horn up for long amounts at a time could be compared to the stickwork that we do for lacrosse, when we do "quick stick" for 15 minutes with out stopping.
"You definitely need to be in shape for drum corps because of the breathing and playing while marching, although the hour and a half game of constant running down the field seems a ton tougher than a 12-minute drum corps show. But I feel drum corps could be slightly more intense due to the two months of intense rehearsing from 8-12 hours everyday. A good way I explain the rehearsing process of corps is: Three, four-hour track practices in one day," Kile said.
Mentally, Kile says the two activities require different approaches. "I may approach drum corps with a more intense focus due to the demand of drill, music and performance involved all at once. It takes so much more effort to not only execute the drill and music but to perform and to touch the audience takes more heart," Kile said.
In lacrosse, meanwhile, the mental focus is entirely on the opposite team. "In a lacrosse game you are not trying to have a connection with the crowd, it is just you and the other team on the field, whereas the emotion and heart that you pour into one drum corps performance just wipes you out mentally, physically and emotionally," Kile said.
Oddly enough, drum corps has made Kile approach lacrosse differently. "The high expectations from the Vanguard staff make me have higher expectations of my lacrosse teammates and me. One of the Vanguard staff, Marc Whitlock, last year had a new word every couple days or so, and one word stuck with me that was "choice." The idea was that you have the choice to do something 100 percent or not. One day at rehearsal we were running some sets and the staff wasn't happy with how we were performing and he came up to us and asked if we could do it better, we said "Yes," then did it better. He came up to us still mad and asked why we didn't do it like that the first time, and it was because we chose not to, even though we knew we could. I use that in relations to lacrosse practice when I am slacking off and being lazy in my defense," Kile said.
Teammates and corpsmates
Kile's lacrosse teammates are a bit in the dark about her Vanguard life. "My fellow athletes don't really understand it," Kile said. "There are a couple who were in band in high school and knew about it, but for the most part, the only idea of drum corp they have is the mocking of marching bands in Hollywood. I am going to "band camp," they think. They truly don't understand why I am putting the extra effort to be in shape for "marching band," I mean we just walk around the field and play our horns, right?
"I get harassed often for disappearing once a month for rehearsals, and they always say, "Well, make sure you are doing some sort of physical activity this weekend." I smile and say, "I promise." It feels good to come back in August after the summer and I am in the best shape of my life and lacrosse seems like a real breeze compared to the summer of corps," Kile said.
Meanwhile, Kile noted the differences between the physical needs of drum corps versus the physical needs of lacrosse. "I don't feel just going to lacrosse practice prepares me for the rigorous rehearsals of corps. It definitely helps, but I must put in extra effort because drum corps requires different muscles and endurance for conditioning," Kile said.
Not surprisingly, Kile has suffered several injuries due to the dangerous nature of lacrosse. "Last year I sprained my meniscus in my knee and was out of any physical activity for three months, this year I tore some ligaments and tendons in my ankle and was out for another two months with several weeks of rehabilitation," Kile said.
"Being injured has taken me out of a couple rehearsals and I know that hurts the other corps members when I am not there marching and playing, so they probably would prefer me not to put myself in the position where I could seriously get hurt. Just so I don't hurt the corps, I sometimes have to make the sacrifice of pushing my injuries a little too far and just enduring the pain, which may come back to haunt me in the future," Kile said.
Kile said that whereas her lacrosse team disagrees with extra practices, her Santa Clara corpsmates welcome them. "The lacrosse team has a tendency to complain about calling extra practices, about coming early or staying late after practice if we need the extra work, or if we are playing a tough team over the weekend. Whereas with Vanguard, I find everyone is always trying to better themselves with individual practice after shows, or getting sectionals together before ensemble rehearsal at night. There is definitely a different drive in corps members then my lacrosse teammates."
As for the future, Kile plans to keep working out and playing trumpet. "If the opportunity like "Blast!" were to ever arise, I might go out for that, or teaching with a corps over the summer would be an awesome opportunity," Kile said. "But I think when they both end, I will find I have more time to commit to law school, but I will definitely take the dedication and integrity I learned from both activities into my studies or career."
Kile, a native of Ft. Worth, Texas, outlined her conditioning and practice schedule for both activities:
Andrea Kile (front, second from left) and the SCV trumpet line.