An Unlikely Pair: Winter color guard teams up with Reagan

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An Unlikely Pair: Winter color guard teams up with Reagan

The winter guard performs their show to Lady Gaga’s ‘Million Reasons.’ The team has worked tirelessly with their partner school, Reagan, this season.

The winter guard performs their show to Lady Gaga’s ‘Million Reasons.’ The team has worked tirelessly with their partner school, Reagan, this season.

Kelly Kendall

The winter guard performs their show to Lady Gaga’s ‘Million Reasons.’ The team has worked tirelessly with their partner school, Reagan, this season.

Kelly Kendall

Kelly Kendall

The winter guard performs their show to Lady Gaga’s ‘Million Reasons.’ The team has worked tirelessly with their partner school, Reagan, this season.

Leanna Bernish, News Writer

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Every West student knows of the inherent rivalry with Reagan. Just seeing that signature black and teal can stir up anger. However, the winter color guard, more commonly known as winter guard, joined ranks with the Reagan winter guard this season, putting aside their differences for the sake of competition.

In order to compete, each color guard team needs at least five members. The numbers for this year’s winter guard initially ran short, but they soon found a solution in an unlikely place: joining forces with the Reagan team. In addition to working with Reagan in prior seasons, English teacher and coach Brooke Gartley was coached at Mount Tabor by Reagan color guard coach, Jeff Brown.

“When I was in high school, Reagan staff was my staff. I went to Mount Tabor; they were all Mount Tabor staff then, so these are my close, personal friends that I have known since I was 16,” Gartley said.

The first practices remained divided between Titans and Raiders, but after less than a month, any semblance of rivalry had been thrown aside. The two teams worked as a cohesive unit, not only lifting each other up, but offering constructive criticism with the common goal of improving their performance as well.

“All of us that do it have become a family. It is a way for us to express ourselves and stay active, while still having fun doing something challenging and slightly unusual,” sophomore Emma Hennigar said.

With a demanding season, a unified team is crucial. Working from December through March, the guard practices three to five times a week, with five out-of-town Saturday competitions. These competitions can last for more than 12 hours, with the team returning home in the wee hours of the morning. Despite the large time commitment, the team remained strong. They placed third in their first competition and first in the remaining four.

While the alliance between the two teams originated from need, it evolved into a mutually supportive friendship where everyone pushed each other to do their best for the sake of the sport, all rival colors forgotten. Despite this, the partnership with Reagan is not set in stone for all future seasons.

“If we have a lot of kids trying out and we both feel comfortable with our programs, we’ll stay separate and encourage each other separately. If that’s not the case, we’ll combine. At the end of the day, we want our kids to be able to spin somewhere, and we’ll do whatever we can to make that happen for them,” Gartley said.

Winter guard has proven that rivalries are sometimes only skin deep. Their common drive to compete in the sport they love shows how focusing on commonalities rather than differences can truly bring people together. After all, green and teal are only a shade away from each other.