In an emotional end to their 2018 season, the CCHS varsity winter guard claimed third place at the South Florida Winter Guard Association Championships (SFWGA) on Saturday, April 7.
Competition day started bright and early; by 7 a.m. guard members had gathered in the CCHS mini gym, rifles and flags at the ready for a final rehearsal. For two hours, the varsity winter guard went through last-minute run-throughs of their show “Fly On,” set to “O” by Coldplay. Excitement mingled with sadness as they practiced the show for the last time as a team.
“I felt both [nervous and excited], but I was also sad because it was going to be my last competition and performance with this specific group of people,” freshman Sabrina Wong said.
At the end of every season’s final rehearsal, the members participate in a tradition to demonstrate their closeness. The team sits in a circle, and each person ties the same ball of string around their ankle before passing it on to the person who influenced them the most that season.
“At the end [of the tradition] we cut all the ties to symbolize our season ending, with the anklets to show that the memories we made and the teammates we love will be with us forever,” varsity winter guard co-captain Alex Porras said.
When the team reached Nova Southeastern University, the site of the competition, they had a few hours to get ready for their performance. Hair, makeup and warm-ups topped the to-do list, but the varsity team dropped what they were doing to support the junior varsity team as they performed their show, entitled “Teach Me How to Be Loved.” The CCHS junior varsity winter guard received 10th place in their division.
As their designated performance time approached, the anticipation grew among the varsity guard members. However, having practiced constantly since December, they maintained confidence in their show.
“We put a lot of effort into the show and I had a good feeling that it was going to pay off from the moment the show started coming along,” Wong said. “All of us tried our hardest even when we didn’t want to, so I had a strong feeling that we would be fine at the competition as long as we pushed through.”
They took the competition floor for the last time as a team at approximately 4:30 p.m., giving a performance that earned them the distinction of bronze medalists in the National A Class.
“This season was quite literally the best one I’ve ever had,” Porras said. “Every single member of the team was 100% dedicated from start to finish, and it really helped us to improve as individuals [and] as a group. We set a really high bar for next year and I think that’s always our main goal overall.”
With few remaining days in the school year, members of color guard have redirected their focus from competitions to “Encore,” the Sound of Pride’s annual year-end showcase. Both the variety and junior varsity shows will be performed for the final time on the CCHS auditorium stage.
“With how pivotal guard has been to shaping my life for the past four years, it’s hard to believe that our journey has at last come to an end,” senior Hugh Dennis said. “The laughs and the struggles, the late-night rehearsals and the victories – these are all memories that I am proud and grateful to have had with a family that I love.”
Photo by The Lariat