Rearview Mirror

Chris Dillon

Chris CasteelCongratulations! You made it through yet another year-long ride on the color guard coaster. It all started with the first preview performance in August, followed by the first football game, followed by the first competition, then up, down and around the coaster flew from there.

Let’s face it: You have been in the mode of continually working toward what’s next, always changing, improving and giving more of yourself for the past 12 months. Yes, there have been highs and lows in your year; know that you aren’t alone with these. Everyone experiences them. After all, art isn’t derived from success alone; it manifests itself from every experience (good, bad, ugly and beautiful).

Before you begin looking toward summer rehearsals and taking your seat at the front of the coaster car, it’s important to reflect. We are so often reminded to look forward and not to dwell on the past. Reflection is often thought of as a worthless endeavor; after all why should we dwell on the past when the future is where our focus should be? I guess there is some validity in this, but I believe HOW you look at the past is what is most important.

Celebrate Successes

Look into that rearview mirror and take a moment to recognize how far you have come this year. Use the recognition of your improvement as a tool of empowerment that will buoy you into the next part of this ride. If you have come this far, imagine the heights you will soar through in the coming year! The real power that comes from looking back lies in seeing where you were and realizing the huge leaps in progress you’ve achieved.

Evaluate Challenges

Of course there have been challenges, but you have owned them. You’ve made mistakes. You’re not unique in this. You perhaps wonder if you could have done things better than you did. The way you’ve dealt with past challenges affects your success as a color guard performer today—aren’t there lessons in there you’ve learned that helped with situations you’ve encountered since? Think of an ongoing struggle (dance, flag, weapon, teammates) you have and look at how far you’ve come through it. Remember the stages to get here, the solutions you’ve put in place and the work you’ve done. You did all that!

About the Author

Chris Casteel has been involved in the color guard activity for more than 20 years. She is currently an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). She travels to many other circuits throughout the United States as a guest adjudicator.For the past several years, she has held the position of education coordinator for the WGASC. She has a master’s degree in education and currently teaches middle school language arts.