In recognition of Winter Guard International World Championships being held in San Diego this week, we'll be focusing some editorial firepower on anecdotes and stories related to guards. Think back to those formative, funny, inspiring or memorable guard stories and send them in! They can be as long or as short as you would like. Attach a picture of yourself or the situation you're writing about if you can. And by all means, pass this on to your guard friends! We'll edit these stories for clarity, grammar and appropriateness. If you have a guard-related anecdote or story, send it to By Flo Brown

Mark Metzger
It was the end of June, the point in the season when touring had lost its novelty and given way to monotony. We were on a nondescript, unlined field on a nondescript Midwestern high school campus, and appropriately, we were feeling rather nondescript. The 2002 Glassmen color guard was having a case of the "blahs." We were learning and rehearsing a new dance piece for the opening of our show, "Odyssey." It required several interesting turns and contortions, such as hopping over our own feet and rolling across the ground ... and the heat was getting to us. I remember staring blankly at the grass as our caption head Mark Metzger critiqued the last run of the opener. Apparently, I wasn't the only person losing focus. "That's it," he yelled. My head popped up. Mark was sitting down, legs crossed Indian-style, picking at the grass on the field. I looked quizzically at my friend Amada and she shrugged, obviously as perplexed as I was. He motioned for us to join him, and we all took a seat on the grass. "It's typical crabgrass, native to areas like Indiana where both snow and extreme heat occur," he said while pulling blades out of the dirt. "They probably don't water this field much, considering the yellow coloring and rough texture." Confusion had given way to fear, and I knew he was leading up to something. The rest of the color guard shifted uncomfortably as they sensed something wrong in his tone of voice. A few people tried to look interested in his discussion of Midwestern landscaping. "Now that we know what the ground looks like, I'd appreciate it if you stopped staring at it," he said curtly before walking off for a cigarette break. When he returned, we were all smiles and bright faces. It was the best motivational speech I'd ever heard. Other stories by Flo Brown: A misfortunate corpsmate Cleanup crew is heaven Appreciating the social aspects of drum corps Drum corps pervades the bay area Color guard karma The night I thought my caption head lost his mind Post-season relationships Raindance Confessions of a guard captain