Captivated By the Color Guard
Exchange student from Kazakhstan sits in circle with flag corps teammates

"I had not even heard of such a sport."

When my host mom suggested I try out for color guard—with practices lasting three hours and performances every Friday night—I was scared. I wasn't sure if I could handle such a load during my adjustment period. But I decided to try because sports in America play a special role. The color guard is part of the marching band and together they are one big family.

The first day, everyone warmly welcomed me. They were glad that a sixth person had joined them in the color guard. They really didn't have enough people on the team, and they looked at me like a lifeline. I was very embarrassed, because what would happen if I didn't like it? I didn't know, but I was sure that it was worth trying.

My 10-year dance experience helped me get used to it quickly, even if it is sometimes difficult for me, because I have never done color guard before. I had not even heard of such a sport, because in my country it does not exist. I enjoy this experience and consider this decision as my best so far.

We perform every week at football games. We prepare together. It is about fun, but it is about discipline as well, because color guard originated in the military. We have already taken first place and the grand prix; these were my first competitions and first successful results. I'm sure that there will be even more awards.

Interestingly, when I wrote a letter to my host family, I mentioned that I wanted to be in the orchestra, even though I don't know how to play any of the instruments. Now, I deal with those who create music and take a direct part in performances! They have their own traditions, such as dressing nicely at school the day before a competition and giving each other gifts.

I couldn't be happier with such wonderful people and with such a wonderful school that sincerely supports other teams and is always kind to everyone! When I return to Kazakhstan, I will try to introduce this sport into our extracurricular activities and share with my choreographer the experience I have gained. This is a great exchange experience!

—Yerkezhan (FLEX, Kazakhstan), hosted by the Lau family (GA)