By Allison Owen Corps camp two weekends ago was awesome. We've set the pace for the summer, and it's going to rock. So much was accomplished -- including our opener being put on the field -- and it was a wonderful time. That is, until it was believed that I had a kidney infection. Let me just say that it's not fun.

Allison Owen at World Championships in 2004.
After missing three days of school and a trip or two to the doctor's office, it was determined that I had a urinary tract Infection. If you don't know what that is, you don't want to. Since I had missed three days of school, I had also missed winter guard rehearsal -- which isn't good because we had a show on the Feb. 12. I got back into the swing of things just in time for Saturday's rehearsal and our first competition. Now at this particular competition my old high school guard was also competing. So it was great to get to see them again after so long. Katy even said, "It feels like you just got home from corps again." It was nice to get to hang out with them for a little while before I had to go into warmup. It was the first time since October that I was going to be in front of a crowd. Some of the younger girls in my guard were asking me if this was what the summer was like and other things comparing indoor to corps. I told them that in a sense it was, because performing is awesome and it's just such an adrenaline rush, but it's also different. When you're performing in a gym the crowd is right there in front of you, so since this was some of the girl's first winter guard show they were a bit nervous. I can't say I was 100 percent confident when we set up to perform, I was slightly nervous since I hadn't been in a show since October. But once the music started and we went through the show, I was in full-out performance mode. I was right back in the mindset of being on the field all summer. I can't say that it was a perfect run for me, but I had a blast and I know the other girls did too. We were all so hyped by the time retreat came that we could hardly stand still. In our class there were five guards competing, and as each placement was announced -- we were not called yet -- the anticipation built. When the announcer got to second place and it wasn't us, we had to control our excitement. I had never won anything before, so this was a major moment for me. But then the "victory music" started playing -- this meant that we were also being moved up a class. We all lined up in the front of the gym and the directors shook our hands, and I just stood there, shocked, because this was something I had never experienced before. Later that night I got to thinking. Once all the excitement had died down, it felt great after we performed. Sure, it's awesome to win and move up a class and all that good stuff, but what felt the greatest was that we did the best we were capable of doing. That's how I feel at corps. I don't care about the placements. I'm sure it's cool to win, but coming off the field knowing that I couldn't have done any better is all I need. Being able to perform alongside some of the coolest people I've ever met is an honor and I'm so thankful to have such an opportunity. Let's face it, everyone wants to be standing on the field on finals night and be declared the champions. But when it comes down to it, is that what really matters? Personally, it's the experience that I value more than the scores. Performing is what I love and that experience is worth more to me than a medal or placement.

Whether it's winter guard or drum corps, I just love performing and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it while I still have the chance. Allison Owen, 16, is a junior at Sullivan Central HS in Blountville, Tenn. She's in my second year in the Memphis Sound guard and enjoys dancing, writing, English, guard, photography, having fun and performing. For college she would love to attend the University of Oklahoma and major in journalism or English; however, she'll probably end up at the University of Memphis for in-state tuition's sake.