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Catching Fire

by Heather Harris Brady

So now you know about my checkered musical past, you might as well know this – I am also a grade A marching band geek. It’s true, the first few notes from the drum line and I’m bouncing, clapping and grinning from ear to ear like a toddler at a birthday party.  While the embed above shows my beloved Spartan Marching Band, I only marched in high school as a twirler in the color guard. Except for a few choice moments at band camp I loved every minute of it. Even though I was a wallflower, backed up by the band I could march out without a second thought.

For my senior finale at football homecoming I twirled a fire baton. I found it in the back of the supply closet and it was old school – with little cages on the end for the gasoline-soaked cloth. For this performance I wore my regular uniform, covered in 6″ long white fringe and yeah, I probably had quite a bit of hairspray to hold my carefully feathered hair in place. No one questioned it, not the band director, not my family and certainly not me because who wouldn’t want to twirl fire, right?

That said, I cannot imagine showing up to a game and watching my daughter do it. It seems like we are all so protective now, and of course, that’s not without good reason. But I wonder, do we all have some inside need for the adrenaline rush that makes us feel alive? Maybe that’s why books like The Hunger Games are so popular. They’re certainly a lot more exciting than the books I had – back in the time when I was catching fire for myself.

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