My Color Guard Experience
High school exchange students from Germany and Italy in color guard uniforms

Maria (left) & sister-teammate Sophia

My semester as a German exchange student in Georgia got very exciting when I joined the color guard at my school. When I first heard of color guard, I had no idea what it was. My host mum told me about it before I even got to America. It is choreography with different kinds of props in a marching band show which takes place at football games.

Color guard is there to enhance the performance. The most used and known props are the typical flags, which are spun, tossed, and danced with. The guard also cheers at football games and has different tunes that are played by the marching band.

Sophia, my exchange sister from Italy, joined from the beginning. At first, I didn't plan to join, since I wasn’t really intrigued by it and had only a vague idea of what it really was. Things changed when I went to my first football game. I saw the guard cheering their hearts out and having a lot of fun, and they all seemed like a family. It made me want to join, and I thought that this could be a great activity for my time here.

At first, it was really hard. We had practices on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and the game on Friday. I wasn’t used to that amount of time and effort poured into one thing, so I was struggling a little bit at first. After some time things got a lot better, I felt integrated with the team, I knew how to handle a flag, and I adjusted to my new schedule. We use practices to learn new drills with the band, and we also have guard-only practices where we learn new choreography. In the end, though, it all comes down to one thing: the games.

At first, it was really hard. We had practices on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and the game on Friday. I wasn’t used to that amount of time and effort poured into one thing.

Every football game reminds me why I wanted to join this sport. I feel a strong bond with my teammates during the games and through all the blood, sweat, and tears there is not a single second that I regret having joined. Every time I am on the field and perform our show, I just know that all the effort is worth it. That’s why I really love the football games and color guard has made them an even more special experience.

One of my best experiences was when I got the guard tiara. Our captains gathered us together and told us they would start a new tradition of giving a tiara to the guard member who worked the hardest each week. When they announced that it was me, I couldn’t believe it, and I was so grateful and felt so beloved by my team. It was a really special moment.

At the end of October, we had our first competition. We drove to the school where it was hosted and watched some other band performances. I was very impressed with a lot of them.

Soon our big moment came. We performed our whole show and my smile never left my face. The show wasn’t perfect—no show is—but in the moment as I was standing on the field with my flag in the ending pose I didn’t care what went right or wrong. I was just proud to be there and filled with cheers and happiness.

I think these moments will make beautiful memories when I go back home. My whole experience with color guard, everything good and everything bad, will be unforgettable, and I’m grateful for having this opportunity.

—Maria (Germany), hosted by the Lau family (GA)