Lanah Kopplin will be contributing columns to DCI.org each Tuesday. Here's her 13th installment. I feel like I'm in the middle of spring training. Anyone who's marched drum corps before understands this sentiment. Spring training is filled with long hours of arduous rehearsal, and no end in sight. The world as you know it is shrunk down to your side of the field, and your spot in horn arc. Fellow members' idiosyncrasies suddenly become blown tremendously out of proportion and little annoyances are suddenly heartbreaking tragedies. During spring training, it's so easy to lose focus and forget the reason that you're working so hard.
On tour, members live for show days. It's the easiest way to keep our sanity. We spend minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, on random football fields across the country, and for what purpose? To perfect our product. Having a performance after a grueling rehearsal is the best way to gauge our progress, both against other corps and against ourselves. It helps us to realize that there is a reason that we do this activity. We get to live for the roar of the crowd, the spirit of competition, the camaraderie of our fellow competitors, and if nothing else, blow off some steam. However, spring training does not carry these luxuries. Spring training is a world of delayed gratification – work hard now, and you will reap the benefits later. The focus of most members is one of survival. Personally, I live from rehearsal block to rehearsal block. The "big picture" is more of an illusion than anything else. During spring training, there is always more to get done than there is time to get it done. It can be overwhelming to say the least, as the list of things to do seems to grow ever longer. It's almost as if once one task is accomplished, three more pop in to take its place. This is how I'm feeling right now. I'm living in a time well known to college students as finals week. My list of things to do seems to never end. Knocking one task off the list only brings another, more complicated and time consuming task to the forefront. Right now, I live from paper to paper, reading to reading, just so that I can keep my head afloat. My world has shrunk down to one of medieval canon law, supreme court cases, syntax and statistics. At this point in the semester, anything outside of this scope is foreign to me. I'm also noticing that my housemates' idiosyncrasies are becoming more of an annoyance. Is it really that hard to pour your milk into a glass? But just like in spring training, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. On Dec. 19, 2004, I will receive my bachelor of science in political science degree (also known as unemployment) from the University of Wisconsin. That's right, I'll be a college graduate. Look out world, here I come! Spring training takes hard work, dedication, and determination to push through in the darkest of hours. Somehow, someway, that checklist gets completed every year. Now I just need to apply this perspective to my academics, and if I'm lucky, I'll come out alive. Lanah Kopplin is a third-year euphonium player in the Phantom Regiment, and previously spent a year with the Pioneer. Lanah is a political science major at the University of Wisconsin (she's a Milwaukee native), and will age out in 2005. Past columns by Lanah Kopplin: Finding a drum corps home The Last audition Turkey-induced tryptophan Rhapsody in the chat room Amazing grace Are you ready? Get out there and vote Reflections from Whitewater Methodical hard work and passion Here's to the behind-the-scenes people Drum corps friendships A new column by the Phantom Regiment's Lanah Kopplin