Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winter guard

Until I saw a guard competition, I had absolutely no idea that such a thing went on.
I got asked (drafted, really) to drive six teen-agers to Grand Rapids Northview High School Saturday so they could take part in a Michigan Color Guard Circuit competition. The Mt. Pleasant High School guard finished second in Class AA with a score of 48.2 - behind Portage Northern, a comparable-sized school outside Kalamazoo.

The guard warms up in the Northview auxiliary gym.

Guard is an interesting combination of modern dance, military-style drill, marching-band flags and pure athleticism. In band season, it complements the marching band. On its own, it's three to four minutes of fun to watch.

The Mt. Pleasant guard "blossoms" during its show.

The guard swirls and twirls on the floor and produced some solid crowd reaction.

Coach John Demkowicz gives some advice to the guard, left. At right, Katherine listens intensely.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The pep band

Just because football season's over doesn't mean the band goes home. Robert's happily engaged in being part of the Mt. Pleasant High School pep band.
True - they just kind of sit there and play in the stands during basketball games, but it's fun, and adds to the atmosphere of the games.

Big Brother Matthew talks to Katherine as they soak up some of the atmosphere of a game in the Oiler gym.

Sun photographer Ryan Evon pays attention to something out on the floor. Ryan! The real stars are up here!

And why isn't it a surprise that Katherine finds a way to be a part of it all?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Highest Honor

I had the high honor of speaking at the court of honor for three new Eagle Scouts last week.
It was 13 years ago this month that Troop 798 came back to life. Blessed Sacrament Church in Midland had a strong Cub Scout pack, but too few boys were crossing over into Boy Scouts.
The troop began with the blessing of the church, a hundred bucks, five Boy Scouts and a rookie Scoutmaster – me.
It changed lives, perhaps none as much as mine. Over the past 13 years , 10 boys have become Eagles from Troop 798, earning Scouting's highest honor.

I was humbled when I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the court of honor for Adam Beach, Stephen Bischoff and Garett LaChance.

I talked about success – and how it's elusive, how it sometimes has to be redefined in light of reality, how we learn the most from our failures, and how, when we succeed once, we prepare ourselves to succeed again..
I have to judge Troop 798 to be a resounding success.

Eagle Scouts Adam Beach, Stephen Bischoff and Garett LaChance take the Eagle Pledge.

Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Patrick Sandoval speaks at the court of honor. I also had the honor of speaking at his court of honor; his two older brothers were among the first five Scouts in Troop 798, and also are Eagle Scouts.

A plaque names all the Troop 798 Eagles: John Ballard 1998; Jeffrey Sandoval 1998; Steven Sandoval 1998; Brendan Eash 1999; Eric Gustafson 1999; Erik Rakus 1999; Patrick Sandoval 2005; Adam Beach 2007; Garett LaChance 2007; Stephen Bischoff 2007.

(Photos by Katherine Ranzenberger)