If you know me, you know that the last thing Id want to do on a Friday night is to go to a high school football game. But once upon a time, in my years at sycamoreHigh School, the highlight of my week was to march and dance with The Flyerettes, the drill team for the Aviators. Unlike the costumes of todays cheerleaders and other entertainers, ours were green sweaters with short yellow corduroy skirts over tights, with green and yellow pompoms on our shoes. They certainly werent sexy by todays standards, but they were cuter than what the girls in the band had to wear. We wore long sleeved yellow leotards under the skirts and sweaters, but even so, there were some brutally cold nights. I didnt pay much attention to the game, except that each time our Aviators made a touch down, wed quickly assemble and do some sort of kick line thing to the fight song. Then at half time, wed do our routine along with the band. Although my vision was very poor, I managed to stay in line and kick at the same height that the other girls did, using what peripheral vision I had left.
One night, we had a routine that called for weaving our way through the band members, alternating with them and crisscrossing the field. This was a complicated routine for everybody, but for me, it could have been a nightmare, if it hadnt been for the kindness of my teammates. At the moment I was to take those strategic steps between 2 moving band members, the girl behind me would say something like Go. And once again, we had hidden my blindness from the fans.
A big part of the fun was going to away games on 2 busses, 1 for the band and 1 for the Flyerettes. Oh, I guess the football team and the cheerleaders were on another bus, but that wasnt part of my experience. The Flyerette bus was boring, because it was all girls, so the night I sneaked onto the band bus, I had hopes of sitting next to one of the guys. Sure enough, I got lucky and landed in a seat next to one of the drummers.I was thrilled! I might even be kissed on the way home, which would send me right into graduation into normal teenage behavior. But it was not to be. First, my best friend, Lynda, spotted me in the back of the bus with that boy and warned him that she would be watching us, as if she were my mother for Goodness sake. But any possibility of fooling around on the bus was squelched for sure, when the drill teams coach came bounding up onto the bus and called out, Is Mary Wilson on this bus? Im sure my cheeks were burning as I sheepishly made my way to the front and onto the bus where I belonged. So much for breaking out of my Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes mold.
I loved being a Flyerette. It was another way I could use my talent as a dancer. I had already been teaching tap and ballet in my basement, and I performed frequently with my dance studio. But the memory of dancing on the 50 yard line on a chilly Friday night under the lights comes to mind each time I take a walk on a Friday night and hear that exciting drum beat from the direction of the high school. I breathe deeply of the autumn air, and my heart goes out to those kids on the field, whether theyre kicking a ball or kicking their legs in the air.