Potential is a Bad Word

After 19 years, I’ve finally identified the feeling I’ve had about my Bluecoats rookie-ageout season: Regret.

I sat with it for a few days last month and came to terms with the fact that I had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and didn’t actually prepare for it. Was I present in the moment while I was there, giving my all during rehearsals and performances? Absolutely. But did I prepare? Did I condition myself physically, make and save extra money for free days and laundry and miscellaneous expenses, call ahead to resolve transportation issues, practice my mello in the music building on campus to get my chops ready?

Nope. That wasn’t the “fun part,” so I didn’t bother.

The only way to resolve this feeling was to come to terms with the fact that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is gone. A memory. It was what it was, and although it was amazing in its own way, I didn’t make everything of it that I could have.

(I also resolved some of my angst by Facebook Messaging one of the veteran members of the ‘97 corps who had actually been friendly and welcoming, and thanked him for that, some 19 years after the fact. He was grateful to hear it, and pointed out that his own rookie year had been rough. It was then that I realized that I never got the true “rookie” corps experience in my first corps, Northern Aurora, since the 1995 corps was comprised of 80% rookies who were all in the same boat.)

I even tried to recapture the drum corps experience later in life by joining senior corps, and that failed miserably. I still didn’t practice at home very much, I was still overweight and out of shape, and it certainly didn’t help that I spent three hours in the car round-trip every time we had a rehearsal or performance.

This tendency to put off the un-fun parts is kind of a theme in my life, whether it’s nutrition and fitness or cleaning house or writing documentation at work or skipping class back in college. I’m a grown-ass woman now, not a 21-year-old kid (who doesn’t realize she’s still a kid). I’m a mother and a wife and an IT professional, and my responsibility game has leveled up a few notches in the past couple of decades. I’m responsible for my son, for my share of the household bills and chores, and for my work.

I can start being responsible for Future Me, too.

P.S: The title of this post references a theme in the 1996 Northern Aurora season. The staff got the corps together around midseason, as I recall, and told us that we were getting lots of comments from judges about the show having “potential,” and how we should be fired up to realize that potential. “Potential” became the watchword during rehearsals — the staff would just say it over the loudspeaker, and we’d hiss in response, and step up our game. “Potential” meant our show was well-written but not (yet) well-executed. It meant we just had to do the work to realize that potential.

I’m not sure we ever truly realized our potential that year, but we came close.

Shit. No local #drumcorps = no local show. I’m not willing to haul my son an hour north to see what he thinks of live drum and bugle corps.

Wait, @TheGLASSMEN folded? That’s what I get for not following #drumcorps lately. Where am I gonna take my kid to watch his 1st rehearsal?

Re: watching #drumcorps videos. I’m not taken by the shows anymore, but the details, the intensity after that last note, still gets me.

TBT: DCM Picnic, 16 July 1995

I was 19 years old and in the middle of my first summer of drum and bugle corps. We’d just placed third in the Drum Corps Midwest Division III Finals, and were enjoying the DCM Picnic before taking some time off for Home Days between first and second tour. (You can’t really see me in this photo, but I’m second from the end on our tug-o-war team — almost the anchor spot.)

Looked in my journal for words to go with the #tbt I’m planning for tonight, but I didn’t get much time to journal when I marched Bluecoats.

When I don’t have a tape measure or yardstick handy, I measure with 8-to-5 steps. #drumcorpsforever