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SIG21 Season Wrap-Up

As the 11th competitive season of the Spintronix Indoor Guard comes to a close, I am feeling very reflective of everything we have been through to get to this point. There were plenty of setbacks, to be sure, but also so many good times and lessons learned that I can say with absolute certainty that this was a season for the books. Having to pick up the pieces after losing out on the ending of the 2020 season has truly made us stronger and more knowledgeable about how to proceed in the future. Plus, it's shaped our plans for seasons to come.

We unfortunately had to start off the year with a deficit. We had previously made the audition process a more grueling one so as to attract performers who were interested in working hard and deter those who might feel more lackadaisical about participating in an internationally competitive ensemble. These requirements had to be loosened extensively to meet WGI's new requirement for competitive teams to have a minimum of 10 performers during the virtual season (the previous minimum was five). Between the number of performers who couldn't return due to COVID concerns or financial reasons, and the low number of new recruits, we really had to pound the pavement at first. However, we wound up starting the season off with 12 members and even with a little bit of quitting and replacing, were still able to complete the season with 11.

Aside from the fact that the season was entirely virtual and it was difficult to stay motivated without the excitement of traveling to other locations and performing for in-person crowds, there were some other factors that put a shadow over the season at first too. Having to wear masks every time we came together was a difficult task to get used to, especially since we are based in an area where the mask mandates of other towns and even our own local stores were not taken very seriously by the general public. However, we were able to overcome this and possibly even got stronger lungs thanks to our working out and practicing in masks every single weekend. We also got used to the extra cleaning and sanitizing duties that we had to take on to ensure the health and safety of our performers.

Once we began to master some of the difficulties, we were able to see the silver lining of new opportunities brought forth by the virtual season. We had long desired to travel to WGI to compete in world championships week, trying our hand at prelims to see how far our competition team could make it and watching other teams inspire us. This year, we were able to achieve that goal virtually by submitting our video performances to WGI's virtual season and watching other teams on FloMarching. In addition, we were able to extend our reach all the way into Europe by competing in the CGN United virtual season, and we were also able to extend our creativity through utilization of WGI's eShowcase submission option. These new opportunities opened up a world of color guard we didn't previously imagine, and gave an audience for this world in such a way that we found much success in online arenas for creating this content.

Moving forward, we definitely want to keep these new and creative avenues open for our team. We want to be able to grow both competitively and train new performers to enter the competitive arena without holding back the dedication of those who have trained for a long time. That is why our 2022 season plan includes two competitive teams; a world-class guard and a training-class guard. They will each have different time and work commitments, plus age requirements will be adjusted accordingly. This also means that when we get back to traveling for contests the two teams will be able to cheer one another on from the stands and help with behind-the-scenes preparation.

These lessons may have been hard-learned throughout the course of the season, but we are pleased to be coming out of the other side of this experience as a stronger team and organization for having conquered the challenges presented to us. We can confidently move forward into the 2022 season and I have no doubt about what this staff and these performers can accomplish.

<3 Jackie

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