Becky Novac, an alum of the Bluecoats' color guard, will be contributing a column to every Thursday (Monday this week). This is her third installment.

Becky Novac
I don't get out much. I stay in my cube at work most of the time, mainly because I don't have enough money to go out to lunch. I don't know my way around the city and haven't found the time to go out on my own and explore. The other night I took the subway to 14th Street to get the PATH train back to New Jersey. I had absolutely no idea where I was and or what to expect when I got off the subway and tried to find my way to the PATH station. I had no idea what to expect my rookie year of drum corps, but I really had absolutely no idea what to expect my last audition camp. Even though I had auditioned twice before for Bluecoats, my last audition was where I was most nervous and excited all at the same time. My first year (2000) one of my techs was Jon, and the next year Jon became the color guard caption head. When I returned in 2002, Jon knew me, we had talked several times during my summer off, and we were both excited that I was coming back to march a second year. I went back to basically everything I knew. I knew how Jon taught and knew how everything ran from our conversations. He understood why I didn't come back in 2001 and welcomed me with open arms in 2002. It was weird coming back in 2002. I had missed a season. I had missed memories with many of my friends. I had missed that bond of growth that the corps experienced as they went from 12th to 7th place. Jon, Bree and Jenn J. were all there from 2000 to welcome me back. In 2004, Jon was no longer the caption head, and only one tech, Marina, from my "comfort" staff of 2002 was back to see me age out. Jamie Oakley was my new caption head and I knew nothing about him and he had no clue who I was. I took the initiative to write Jamie an e-mail just to say "Hi," and that I was coming back after taking a year off. I had no idea what was going on when I walked to registration to start the 2004 season. I was overwhelmed by seeing all my friends again. Some knew I was coming back to age out, others were just as surprised to see me as I was to see them. Rehearsal began like it always had a quick introduction of the staff present and off we were to spin until lights out. My gloves were soaked through with sweat after the first 100 drop spins. I wasn't doing as well as I had expected to. The year off was more of a hindrance than it had been the last time. The talent level and expectations were higher than before. Jamie was on a mission with the 2004 Bluecoats color guard and he didn't care who was getting cut. Tour came and went and my caption head kept his promise -- we were the best Bluecoats color guard the drum corps had ever had. Sometimes the unknown is greater than the known. I didn't know what was going to happen when I auditioned for a new staff last year. I didn't know what journey we as a drum corps would go on -- you never do -- until it was over. And even though I had no idea where I was going, I eventually found my way home that night off the 14th Street subway. Becky Novac currently lives in Hoboken, N.J., and works for Universal McCann in New York City as an assistant media planner. She is 22 years old and a recent graduate from Penn State University where she majored in journalism and psychology. Becky marched with the Bluecoats in 2000, 2002 and 2004 as a member of the color guard.
Past columns by Becky Novac: Unknown suitcase adventures The Even years