I regret to say that I have come home from my season with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. I was contracted as an alternate and did not realize the emotional pain this would bring in the long run. After learning over 90 pages of drill in my first week, then having someone come in late and take that spot, learning more drill of an injured member and having someone new come in and take that spot, and then have it happen one more time, I realized that this would only continue and my brass caption head confirmed that in fact, yes, he would most likely call in more people than ever see me on the field. 

He said I could stay along and learn and maybe have a spot next year (or maybe by some miracle this year but not likely) but I figured if I wanted to cry every time I watched ensemble each night, it would only feel worse once we started doing shows in two days. It was not the physical pain, waking up early, or the sun that caused me to leave but simply the feeling of not feeling wanted and feeling like a hindrance to the organization. 

The decision to leave took over three weeks and was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make, I cried nearly every night I felt so hopeless. I never felt like a member of the corps, merely a fan watching from the sideline, attempting to mark time and play the music in vain. It wasn’t until we learned the corps song at history night, two nights ago, when I realized just how much I DID NOT feel like a Blue Star and how entirely separate I felt  from the people around me. When the director would say, “good work” during ensemble, all I could think was “except me, because all I did was basics by myself on the sideline.” 

I will miss the incredible instructors and great friends I’ve made but I feel this decision is ultimately the best for my mental health. I hope the past year learning baritone wasn’t a waste, then again, what’s a better way to “waste” your time than learning a new instrument. I don’t know if I’ll ever try out for DCI again because who knows where my interests will be after I enter college but I do know the Blue Stars will have a great season this summer and I look forward to seeing how all my friends do.