By Allison Owen Before I get to anything else, I would like to apologize for the way my article came across last week. Yes, I was angry about the Division II & III thing, but in no way did I mean to make it seem like anyone from the Phantom Regiment was arrogant or rude. My thoughts were meant to be a generalized thing, not to single out a specific corps. So this past week was the end of our winter guard season. We had a few rehearsals after school and during the day in class. Just like the end of anything, it was a bittersweet time. When you spend several months perfecting something, it gets a little tiring, so it was nice to know that we wouldn't have to listen to the same song again. But on the other hand, it's sad to have put all that effort into something and know that you'll never do it again.

Allison Owen at 2004 World Championships.
I'll be honest, when we finished our circuit championships performance on Saturday night, I cried. Even though I was glad in a way for it to be over, it was sad to know that we'd never do it again. This season has been amazing for me. Since it was my first season at Central, I didn't really know what to expect. There were good times and bad, but it was the next best thing to corps for me. I grew even more as a person during this season and I really got to know some great people. But all good things must come to an end, right? Anyone who has marched corps knows what I'm talking about. When the end draws near, you begin to cherish every single thing. You pour your heart and soul into things that before were just boring. Instead of wishing rehearsal was over, you start to wish it would last longer. You begin to enjoy things that you hated before. It's easy to dread the inevitable "one last time" during rehearsal, but when that last performance is over, you would give anything to do it one more time. You find yourself lingering around, not wanting to take off your uniform or put away your equipment. But why do we only do that at the end?

I don't know about anyone else, but I know that at the end of last summer -- and even this winter guard season -- there were things that I regretted a little. I wish I had pushed myself just a little harder at that one rehearsal, or I wish I had strived harder for perfection all the time. When it came time for the end, I wish I had treasured every single day. Don't get me wrong, I always tried hard and got my stuff done; but I wish I had done better. I've decided to make goals for my summer -- and all seasons to come. I am going to strive for perfection, on and off the field. Instead of wishing rehearsal block was over, I'm going to make the best of it and try my hardest. This summer I am going to treat every performance as my last. That way, I won't want to have any regrets when mid-August rolls around. I don't ever want to think back and wish I'd tried harder or done something better. This weekend I really came to realize that the scores really don't matter; we didn't win, we weren't even close, actually. After retreat, Tommy, our guard instructor, asked us, "How did you feel when you came off the floor?" When we responded with "Amazing," "Incredible," and other various things of that nature, he nodded and said, "That's all that matters." It's really easy to get caught up in the scores and winning, but that's not what it's about. I was really upset after retreat, but when I stopped and thought about it I realized that winning didn't matter to me anymore. I had a great run Saturday night and it was an incredible feeling that I won't soon forget. I'm proud of our performance and that's enough for me. From now on I'm going to try to have that be my outlook on all competitions. Sure, we may not win this summer, but as long as we give it our all, I'll be perfectly content with it. I'm going to not focus on the score anymore and just get out there and concentrate on doing the absolute best I can. On Aug. 13, it is my goal to look back and not regret a single thing about the season. Right now, though, I'm going to try to wash all this glitter out of my hair -- yes, more than 24 hours later I still have a TON of glitter in my hair. Have a great week and good luck to all those winter guards competing at World Championships in Dayton, especially our friends in the Dobyns-Bennett Open guard. Allison Owen, 16, is a junior at Sullivan Central HS in Blountville, Tenn. She's in her 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.