By Allison Owen Those who know me fairly well are aware of the fact that I love quotes. A calendar I had a few years ago had a quote for everyday. One day the words of Langston Hughes graced the page: "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." Back then I didn't think much of it, but for some reason it has stuck with me. Only now do I think I truly understand these words. In June of 2003 I saw part of a drum corps show. Not many people know this because I have never really admitted to it. My behavior that evening now makes me cringe. Looking back I was one of those annoying teenagers who didn't understand what was actually taking place before my very eyes. But I was there.

Mr. Dye, Allison Owen's band director, and Allison.
Even though I didn't pay much attention, my first memories of drum corps are of Carolina Crown 2003. For some reason, even though I had no clue what was going on, this color guard captivated me. As I watched more clips and such online I felt that they were incredible. I knew that I wanted to march Crown. Circumstances obviously made me change my mind. As I look back I know I couldn't have been ready for it anyway, but I still pushed my dreams aside. So I marched Memphis Sound and had a great time. I watched their guard at every show we had with Crown, and I was still mesmerized. Their 2004 show had been my favorite of the season. So last year I knew that I should at least try for my dreams. I think I even filled out a membership application this time. However, I let my mind get the best of me and I thought about it too much. I didn't think I was ready still, so I didn't go. But the first time I saw "Angelus" this summer I wished I had at least tried. So after two years of watching what is, in my opinion, the most amazing color guard ever, I know what I have to do. No matter what it takes, this time I'm really going to Carolina Crown. This time I won't leave any chance for regret. For the past two years I've talked with Rosie Miller -- Crown's guard caption head -- through e-mail. She's told me more than once, "You'll never know if you don't try." I completely agree now, so I know what I have to do. I owe it to myself to at least try. If I don't, I'll never know what could have happened. Sure, there's a huge risk. But I have to try. If I don't try this now, I'll regret it when I'm older. I don't want to look back and have to wonder, "What if I had tried out?" So this time I am actually going to follow through on my dreams. I've put it off for long enough, so I'm going to follow through now. I don't know what's going to happen, but whatever happens I'll be OK because I tried. This year I'm not leaving room for regret. I know there are other people struggling with decisions like mine and I know there are other people out there who have regrets. As I've fought myself on what to do I've been given a lot of advice from various people. The only thing that has really stuck with me and helped me reach my decision is when my band director, Mr. Dye, simply said, "Do what you want." In the end no one else has to wonder what could have happened. It's my life and my summer, so it's up to me how I want to spend it.

I think the tagline of one of my favorite movies, "That Thing You Do!", sums up everything I've been thinking about since August: "In every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that thing you do."

Whether it's poetry or a movie tagline, I absolutely love quotes and what some of them mean to me. I have finally come to realize that I am the only one who can make my dreams come true. So that's what I'm going to try to do for the summer of 2006 -- and beyond. Be sure to check in to see how it goes! Allison Owen, 17, is a junior at Sullivan Central HS in Blountville, Tenn. She was assistant conductor for Southwind and enjoys dancing, writing, English, color guard, having fun and performing. She is currently undecided on college and a major.