Lose with grace and win with dignity…

| October 21, 2011 | 1 Comment
Warning —this may be more of a rant, but I feel it is necessary after experiencing two events in the last 2 weeks, one as an instructor of a competing unit and one as an adjudicator.First and foremost, we, as educators need to remember that this activity is about EDUCATING young adults.  A phrase that comes to mind from a good friend who teaches band leadership workshops is

“What gets rewarded gets repeated.”  

Are we really encouraging our young performers to thrive when they bear witness to immature, selfish and thoughtless actions from their adult leaders??

Obviously, contests are the culmination of a lot of hard work, both on the part of the students as well as the staff.  As an educator, think about your goals for your guard and how you plan to achieve them through the season.  Are they reasonable goals?  Is the training in place to support those goals?

In the last 20 or so years, I have seen a lot of things in warm-up, on the track while perusing the score sheets and during awards ceremonies that have made me shake my head and wonder, “Why are those folks even in this activity?”  I once saw an instructor tear up a score sheet on the track. I watched as another coach tried to teach the closer of the show during warm-up and then turned around and berated the performers as they came off the field for looking less than stellar.  One instructor yelled “How embarrassing!” as her performers marched off the field. These types of behaviors are unacceptable!

Keep this phrase in mind and teach your performers:

Lose with grace and win with dignity.  

Talk about what it means.

As educators, sure we may not always agree with the results of a contest.  There is always “debate” or “scandal” over who should or should not have won.  But look at the educational side of it – Did the kids have a good run that day?  Did you see the group that won?  Maybe they have something that others don’t.

The perusal period is not the place to argue over that.  Let the dust settle until the next day and then evaluate it.

Make a point of congratulating the staff of the guard who won, and do so with sincerity.  Keep your misgivings about the contest off social media websites.  If you need to contact the judge in question, use the correct protocol for your circuit’s judging association.

Backing up a bit, when you are finding an area to warm-up your performers, look for enough room so that you don’t intrude on other groups.  Speaking of warm-up, use that time for just that – warm-up.  If you have a set stretch routine, basics block, etc, that familiarity will help put the performers at ease amidst the stress of the contest.  Warm-up is not the time for rewriting the closer or berating your performers for “not catching that blade triple”.  I have seen performers in tears as they were taking the field, with an instructor blaring away at them to “not forget that 16 counts!”.  The less panicked the kids are, the better their performance will be.

I leave you with these fine phrases ~

“You can catch more bees with honey than vinegar”

“It is what it is”

And finally ….

“It’s just flags on a field!”

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Category: Competition, Instruction, Performance, Preparation & Travel, Professional Development

About the Author (Author Profile)

Lorraine has been involved in the color guard activity since 1989, first as a performer, then as an instructor and adjudicator. She is currently instructing the color guards at Saugus and Valencia High Schools in Santa Clarita, California, as well as designing for other guards in California. Lorraine also has worked with programs in Utah, New York and Georgia. She was the Instructor/Designer at Littlerock High School from 1995 to 2008. LHS was a semi-finalist at WGI World Championships in 2004 and 2005 and the Fresno Regional Scholastic A Champion in 2005. She is an Adjudicator for SCSBOA, WGASC, and UWGA, and has also traveled to Oregon, Nevada, and Texas to judge marching band and winter guard contests.

Comments (1)

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  1. Thank you for writing this Lorraine. It’s a really important message – we as Color Guard Educators must remember we are role models for our students. They will become the future leaders and teachers in our activity and many people “teach how they were taught.” Let’s make sure we train respectful and thoughtful future educators as well as solid performers.

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