This post is in full dedication to my dear sister Liz because, well, she kicks some major ass. If you speak fluent drum corps, then you will understand this post, if not, get yo'self to the googlemachine ASAP and look it up (or www.dci.org). You won't regret it.
This is my gorgeous sister Liz:
Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps since May. (I'll allow a moment for you to go to that website and be thoroughly impressed. We good? K). This means that she has done the following things: worked her tail off to earn enough money to pay her tour fees (yes, the corps members PAY in the thousands of dollars to do this) while a full time student, flown all over hell and back to audition (Illinois and a few weekends in the Carolinas that we don't really talk about), slept on gym floors, in buses, hallways, on benches, in planes and basically anywhere that isn't a bed, rehearsed outdoors in extreme heat, wind, sun, rain ... every weather condition that would make a sane person plant themselves indoors, been away from her friends, family and boyfriend for months at a time, lost about a kajillion pounds (this would be why she needs a cheeseburger), been injured, been stressed, performed in stadiums in front of thousands of people...shall I go on? Ok, you get the picture.
Here is a video I found of a recent performance (shhhhhh don't tell DCI...they like to be able to sell their DVDs). If the stadium looks empty, it's not. They only seat on one side for performances. Anyway, no one wants to see a bunch of asses in wool uniforms, their faces are so much prettier:).
Here's a clip from close to the field for a better view of what she does. I think she's even in the back in this video for a split second:
Liz marched for several summers before this with another corps, however, that corps was what is known as a "weekend corps" meaning that she spent her weekends and a few weeks at the beginning and end of summer on tour. Phantom is not a weekend corps. She has been gone since mid-May and will be off with them until finals are over next weekend. Because of the length of her tour and all of my transplant crap, she and I were under the impression that I would not be able to see her perform this summer and would not get to see her in person until this winter at the earliest. A thought that made me sad beyond measure, not just because I love my sister and am so freaking proud of her, but because I am (and have been for.....uh, fifteen years...) a major drum corps nerd.
Welllllll, thanks to the later date that my donor chose (seriously donor, you fucking rock in so many ways), P and I were able to make it up to West Chester to see her perform on Thursday night. There are no words for how effing happy we were about this. None. Watching her take the field and pour her everloving heart out doing something she loves, something that is hard, something that many people don't even understand and doing it beautifully, was one of the coolest moments ever. Their show was gorgeous. The best part of the night though was being able to see her for a few moments after the show and before they took off on their tour bus for the next rehearsal site. Gave her a big ol' hug. It was awesome.
Like I said, in addition to wanting to see Liz, I just freaking love drum corps. P and I have gone to shows every summer since we met, we even drove to Rhode Island a few summers ago for finals (and geeked out buying the pricier tickets so we could get the best view). In middle school, when I discovered DCI, I obsessed over their PBS special. In high school, I dreamed of marching drum corps but alas, my hand-eye coordination is sub-par at best and I played the freaking piccolo in high school marching band (NOT an instrument that has ever, or will ever, be a brass instrument). Watching Liz these past few summers grow as a performer and as an adult has been amazing. Seeing her work her tail off to march this summer has been inspirational to say the least. She is doing what every young person should do, what every kid on that field is doing. That thing your guidance counselor (and every nerdy poster in every classroom in history) always told you to do: follow your heart, work hard and dream big.
Liz, if you are reading this (and if you are, please go to bed right after, you need your rest), I just want to tell you how proud I am of you. You are tenacious, talented, amazing at what you do and so beautiful. Please go kick ass in Indy, we will be there in spirit. I can't wait to come to your age-out next summer. Love you sis. Get it.