Widgets Magazine

Jun 18, 2011

Flag Boy

Today is the CountryFest parade! Bossy has already admitted that she is a parade addict. I enjoy a good parade (if they throw lots of free stuff and it’s not too hot, and I have a comfy place to sit…), but mostly I like the bands. When I was in Jr. High, I played the clarinet in the marching band. Every summer, we would spend many days practicing and then we would march in at least four or five parades. 

I’ve made it rather mandatory in our family for our kids to have a similar experience with our local high school band and this year my dancers (Princess and the Prima Donna) are taking their turn marching and blowing their horns. Bossy was no problem, she plays the clarinet, multiple types of saxophones…you get the idea. She was on the Band Council and she won scholarships in music. 

The Gym Rat never fancied himself as musical. He tried the clarinet for a VERY short while in elementary school after they told him he couldn't play the saxophone because his hands were too small (they should see them now!). When he got to middle school, I let him slide by singing in the choir, so when high school came along, I was having a rough time figuring out how to get him into the marching band. Then my sweetie came up with a brilliant beyond brilliant plan. It was 2001 and the PS2 (a video game platform) had recently been released. The Gym Rat wanted one of them more than he wanted to breathe! But he was short on funds and he wasn’t old enough to get a real job. So his dad bribed him into joining the Colorguard. If he would spin a flag for an entire season, in November we would buy him a PS2. 

Gym Rat's yearbook photo and "Flag Boy"

Now my Gym Rat was a big kid! I don’t think he had all of his height then (he’s currently 6’ 6"), but he was not a skinny little dancer sort. He was a big play-football-on-the- offensive-line sort of a guy. And believe it or not, he went for it! At our school in 2001, it was rare for any guy to join the Colorguard and for a guy like the Gym Rat, it was unheard of…Honestly, I didn’t think he would last the whole season. In fact, my pocketbook was depending on it. 
Bossy and her rifle.
**Editor's Note: Apparently at this point in the story I am supposed to be upset that I haven't been mentioned and insert this picture.  First of all I am sorry these yearbook scanned photos are not the best.  This was my senior year and I opted to switch from band to guard too. I thought it would be fun to spin with the Gym Rat and it was the first time our school was using sabres.  In our area Gym Rat started a Flag Boy trend for several years. And Teach was far better at guard than both of us...

He started with summer band and spun his flag in several parades. Surprisingly, he was quite good. The girls were so proud of him; they put him right in the middle and made a big deal of their "flag boy." When fall marching band began he was stuck on the field for three hours three nights a week with the band. The Colorguard also had an additional practice and then they had games or competitions as well. There were some days when he was gone with the band for six nights a week. Yet he persisted. 

Once when I asked him how he could stand to have people teasing him about being on the guard, he said, "They won’t remember forever…kids have better stuff to worry about." At least he had a good attitude. His fall performance was amazing! He had a duet with one of the girls where they did a swing dance together. He did a great job throwing her around and showing off his manly muscles. The Monday after fall season was officially over, my sweetie took the Gym Rat to buy his beloved game system. I’d never seen him work so hard for something in his entire life, and even though he took some ribbing from his friends, I was proud of him for his willingness to complete what he started. 

Although I have to say, he was wrong about one thing... Just yesterday I was in the Jiffy Lube and I ran into one of his old friends. "Yeah, I know your son," he said. "We played football together…" I was a little confused for a moment. "You mean peewee football?" I asked. "The Gym Rat didn’t play high school ball." He smiled. "Yeah, I know," he paused. "He was a flag boy with the marching band." There are some things that are just too good to forget.

If you look close you can see Gym Rat in the first picture on this post.


Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I went to that parade today! My kids came home with gobs of candy!

I love that your son did something out of the box and was cool with it. I think that's a great lessons for kids to learn early.

Sara Hammond said...

I see me! My moment of fame! See you tomorrow!


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