By Allison Owen I hate packing. As many times as I've moved or traveled, you'd think I'd be used to it, but still I wait until the last minute to pack everything. There's just something about taking the time to put everything I own into boxes that I just don't like. I don't know what it is, but I just do not like it. Once I start, I'm OK, but it's the "starting" part that I have to force myself to do. So this weekend I was packing up some of my closet and I was finding old things that I hadn't seen since I moved here. One box I found, though, was more recent and full of corps stuff. When I first got home from the summer I had put all my random corps things in one box and put it in my closet with the rest of my "things to keep." I stopped to go through it all because I was interested in seeing what it was I had actually kept.

Allison Owen at 2004 World Championships
The first thing I pulled out of the box was my drill notebook. I hadn't seen these pages of drill in quite some time. As I took the time to look at every page, I realized that each drill set had a certain memory that went with it. Some sets I remember I would pass by someone and we'd grin at each other, others I remember for all the changes that were made to it, some I remember because of something funny that happened there when we rehearsed it, and some I just remember because I loved being a part of it. There are just certain things that I will never forget. I'll never forget: *Rehearsing the opening segment at least 10 times a day
*That one set where I would pass by the bass line
*The time when Laura dropped that toss and it bounced right back into her hands and she barely missed a count
*All the versions of the ballad
*The feature segment ("GET IT GREENIES!")
*The 8-count standstill in the closer that had my favorite toss and would get the crowd to yell
*Pushing to the end
*The pass-through in the opener when I had to dodge Matt2
*The silent drill when you could hear the guard yelling checkpoints
*That time during a stormy rehearsal of element two (with the guard and drum line) when we could see the pouring rain as it crossed the parking lot -- coming right at us -- and in slow motion we all heard KT yell, "Rrrrruuuuunnnnnn!"
*Being "certified loungarific by the fabulous Jersey Surf" in Denver
*The arctic cold of the Oswego showers
*The first laundry day when some peoples' clothes came out smaller or a different color
*Eating taco salad with the Jersey Surf one night in Kansas And every other little thing that is permanently etched in my mind. I'm the kind of person that remembers little details that others may soon forget. If something means a lot to me then I remember it. I think as I took time to reminisce about the summer of 2004, I came to the conclusion that nothing will ever compare to my first season of corps. I'm not talking about the placements or anything along those lines; I'm talking about how amazing it was. Yeah everyone wants to win, but in the end, isn't it supposed to be the experience that matters? Sure, we didn't win. But in the end that's not what I remember. I remember all the incredible things that happened to me over the course of the season. When I'm asked, "Hey what's your most vivid memory of marching?", I don't think, "We lost." What I remember is that I loved it and I met the coolest people ever. We did what we set out to do: Have an awesome season and make finals. Nothing I had done before drum corps was as incredible of an experience as marching was. Some people may not find "Elements of Blue" very entertaining, but to me, I don't see how that is possible. I loved it because it was MY show, something that I was a part of. Sure I love a ton of other corps shows, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart. Nothing can or will ever compare to my first year, it is just something that cannot be matched. Up to my first camp I had never been a part of something as remarkable as marching in a drum corps. It's a crazy activity, but it's also one unlike any other. What else can you participate in that will make you more self-disciplined, stronger, tanner, and meet people who love it as much as you do? I'm sure there's something out there, but in my honest opinion nothing could ever compare to drum corps. I believe that corps changed my life for the better and I will never be the same as I was before marching. It is such a big part of my life and I am so glad that I am able to be a part of such an amazing activity. If you are thinking about auditioning, DO IT! Go to a camp; see what it's all about. You never know what might happen, so just give it a try. I ended up finding something that I love more than anything in this world, and it's something that I know I will never forget. 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.