Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I apologize

I was hoping that I would have some tutorial videos posted by now..

But I'm afraid I don't. You see, my sister is in possession of my car (because she has a flat tire and doesn't want to rent one in the mean time), and in the glove compartment is the charger for my digital camera. I'd love to go retrieve it from her, but she is almost never home. So I apologize for this delay in the videos. I promise that as soon as I get my camera charged up, I'll be teaching you the basics really soon!

In the meantime, let's go over what it takes:

It takes a lot of physical and mental dedication first of all. Pep flags is a year-long sport. In the summer, you prep your new members to reach the level of your veterans or the competition in August. You do the usual summer conditioning of running bleachers, laps, holding angles, and stretching for flexibility. You get only a short break before school starts.

Most of the conditioning for competition season takes place in the fall / winter where the weather is coldest. Because pep flags is considered a "minor" sport at most schools, they rarely gain the luxury of practicing in a gym or the sort. You almost get afraid of catching the flag because it will hurt so much. Being outside makes you vulnerable to wind, making it more difficult to catch your tricks or tosses.

During football games and basketball games you serve as just an accessory to your cheerleading team. If you are allowed to perform at halftime, it's on an uneven field with mud that's been run over by the football team all season or the dirt track with no room for formations.

When January competitions come around you get weeks of last minute cleaning before its time to compete. Because pep flags is such an "unknown sport" there could be one flag division early in the morning, and two flag scheduled late in the afternoon just to make everyone just as exhausted before you have to perform only 2minutes and 30 seconds to judges. Then there's that time lapse between performances and awards. If you miss awards, you don't know your placing and you don't get your scores or trophy, so you HAVE to stay.

Sometimes, competitions fall back to back on a weekend. In 2005, Nationals was on a Friday, West Torrance was on Saturday and the 2nd day of Nationals was on Sunday. Imagine having to go home only to go go compete the next day. It's very tiring. Not to mention the time it takes to prepare for competition. Appearance counts for 1/3 of your score. It takes much time to curl each member's hair the night before, wake up for breakfast, change, take out curls, make-up, change practice flags into performance flags, and carpool with your family and fans.

Competition lasts until March / April and then tryouts begin. Then the cycle starts all over again.

Sometimes practice can interfere with your social life when you have practice when others go out to eat after school. Or on a days when the competition lasts from 8am to the evening, you can't make it to a party on time (or if you do, your hair will still be in the curls).

It can hurt your emotional state, by doing everything you can only to watch some of your team mates drop flags around you. If you perform the best you have ever performed in the season, only to know you haven't made it to finals. When you keep on dropping you NEED to keep a smile on your face and pretend you did nothing at all, when in reality it just sticks in your mind. When you just can't seem to get back into the routine at all and just completely lose it. When your shoes comes off, mid performance, or when your flag hits the balloons at winter celebration.

It could hurt you physically, because the flag CAN hit you at any part of your body. Imagine how fast your flags are going doing chasers, if you get to close, it WILL harm you. You'll never get anything right at the first time, so you'll hit your head, ankle, face, arm, knee, or even someone else. It will add a lot of frustration so all you want to do is quit.

But you can't. Because you love it so much.

Think you can handle it?

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