By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer

This week, I thought I’d discuss a sport that’s near and dear to my heart – color guard. I was involved in it for about three years in high school, rounding out my career as captain my senior year.

You may be wondering what color guard is exactly. Most people associate those two words with the girls (and guys) who dance, twirl flags, and toss rifles. This usually happens in front of a marching band.

While this is true, there is so much more to the sport. There are two seasons – marching band/field season in the fall and winter guard in – you guessed it – winter . Field season is the one most people recognize – with the color guard up in front of the band. The part I want to focus on is winter guard, which takes place in the beginning of the year, when students are coming back from Winter Break.

Most high schools and colleges take the winter months to develop and practice routines to present at various color guard competitions, where high schools and colleges from the area compete in various divisions.

One of the more creative, interesting pieces I found was performed by Carmel High School Color Guard. This performance was entitled “Word,” based off of a popular spoken word piece performed by Sarah Kay.

First, I wanted to point out how creative these girls were in narrating their entire dance. In addition to playing background music, different members of the team narrated various parts of Kay’s spoken word piece. Though each of them are out of breath due to the complicated formations and moves, they give it their all. A particularly empowering moment is at 5:36, where a group of girls deliver a line all together before going back to the routine.

Look at the sheer amount of elements working together in this piece. It’s amazing, and insane because it is difficult to point out what to watch. Each girl is so mesmerizing that it is difficult to know where to shift your attention to.

Most people take the difficulty of color guard too lightly. To be able to dance, spin equipment and smile on top of it all is incredibly difficult.

Color guard is a relatively unknown sport, but I believe it to be increasing in popularity as the field and winter guard circuits become even larger. In fact, Boston University has a growing color guard team who are currently in their winter guard season.