Last weekend was fabulous, I went to Allentown. Leaving Friday morning, Emily and I hopped on a New Jersey Transit rail line to Trenton where we met up with Kate, a Bluecoat color guard alum ('99-'02). From there we were off to Allentown, when the two-hour car ride turned into three hours with traffic. Eventually we got there, just as the Bluecoats buses were pulling into the parking area. Emily started freaking out and I just wanted to get out of the car as quickly as possible.
Immediately, I began seeing people that I missed so much I can't even describe it in words. My caption head, Jaime Oakley, and the other member of the staff were the first to be almost tackled by me. From there it was nonstop hellos, hugs, and kisses. We traveled with the 2005 color guard to the warmup area. I don't like to be overbearing when I'm not marching especially as an alumni. I try and stay on the outside of the warmup area, basically I try and let everyone do their thing and I mind my own business. I'm a silent supporter. As I sat on the grass and watched warmup, I was proud. Proud is the only word I have come to think of. Sure, I would have loved to be out there with them warming up but as I have come to terms with the rules of the game, I'm not allowed. They had a great warm-up, it was time to go in and perform; for me it was time to watch my first show as an age-out. Before the color guard goes in to set up their equipment on the field, they circle up. Hand over hand, everyone makes a linked circle. I stood outside the circle, not wanting to intrude. This circle was no longer my place. My hands were no longer needed. That moment, was the worst of the whole weekend. It was time for me to face my reality or an ageout. The reality that without me the color guard will move on and become better and the only thing I can do now is be supportive and proud of each and every single one of them. To my surprise, Jamie invited Emily and I to join the circle. Not to invade, I found two rookies who were willing to let me in and join them. I didn't know what to do, as each staff member said their own personal words of encouragement. After the staff, color guard captain begins a saying which we all repeat afterwards that basically says together we believe in ourselves and our abilities to have a good show. I would by lying if I said I got through that whole ritual without crying, but I think it's what I needed. After the circle, I went in to watch the show. I screamed "BLOO" at the top of my lungs after the final note because I was nothing but happy for them. It was their turn to live in the glory and my turn to be elated at their success. After the show, we went to go hang out with the staff. Everyone asked what I've been doing in New York to keep myself busy and I began to tell Joe, a tech of mine, about the ballet classes I took. The first thing out of his mouth was "Did you feel that you had sufficient vocabulary to feel comfortable?" It would be just like to be concerned that I learned enough technique and vocabulary to succeed in an introductory ballet course. I assured him that I was more than comfortable in the class. Eventually, we headed back to Kate's house in New Jersey to turn around and go to Bluecoats practice the next day. After watching the run through, I went to catch up with Ashley, who I didn't get to spend much time with the night before since she had color guard captain duties to tend to. Out of nowhere I thought, I should go to finals. I miss everyone so much that I would love to just go and hang out with the people during finals. I mentioned my completely spontaneous idea to Ashley, who asked if I needed tickets. Apparently, free tickets were wandering around the color guard and I had perfect timing. Next thing I knew I had amazing finals seats, along with quarters and semis tickets. I turned out and screamed to Emily that we were going to finals. Logistically, this spontaneous idea has turned into somewhat a nightmare, but I know Emily and I will eventually arrive at Foxboro Stadium on Friday night. Not sure exactly how, but hopefully by the time your reading this I have figured it all out. Sunday we finally headed back to New York City, after a wonderful weekend. Emily wanted to know how I felt about being around everyone again and how it was in general for me. I looked at her and simply said, "I am finally at peace." I am at peace with so many things about my drum corps career. Seeing everyone again and how absolutely amazing they continue to be allowed me to come to peace with drum corps. As hard as it was being there surrounded by every one I care about, I found peace in their performance. Moving on is never easy after falling in love with something. I know I'll never completely move on from being a Bluecoat, but this past weekend I found peace in being an alum -- being a proud member of something that was so great and will continue to be great, despite the fact that I'm no longer there. Finally, the final page in the chapter about my drum corps career can be flipped with ease and a peaceful calm. I hope to see you at finals. 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.