I just got back from my first WGI Color Guard finals ever. Not sure how I avoided it, considering I’ve been married to a guard girl for over 15 years. But it finally happened – squeee!

Because of my competitive side (which is sometimes hard to suppress), I always want to just go see the best of the best. In this case it means Independent World Class. But Jessi always chided me, saying there’s more to WGI than Independent World. Indeed she was right, but let’s work backwards from IW.

Independent World

To be honest most of the IW class shows were either too serious, or too complex (or both) to really connect with me. However, Aimachi and Pride of Cincinnati were both equally amazing, awesome, inspiring, <add other adjectives here>. To give you an idea of Pride’s show, just look at this clip:

Whoever is in their prop department is a genius as this isn’t the first time they’ve built amazing props like this.

Then there’s Aimachi. I’m sad that their guard won’t be back to WGI in “quite a while”:

I’m also kinda irked that they don’t get credit for spinning those batons as crazily as they do, but at the same time I’m glad that they don’t let the rules box them in. Hell, they were less than 3 tenths from winning in 2017 even without getting any credit for their baton twirls.

Then there’s Fenix Independent. Turns out I marched with their one of their creative staff back in the day. I’m humbled to see peers from my generation not just staying active in color guard, but creating ground-breaking shows. Their show included a giant box (different from Pride’s cube), that was both simple and incredible:

I was so glad they were able to jump enough spots to make it into finals because it was a great way to kick off the show, and they wound up being fan favorite.

The other IW guard I thought was amazing but didn’t make it out of prelims was Invictus. They had a “tray” with water that they appeared to fill using a dishwasher on a dolly.

It was groundbreaking but the water may have done them in. They received a 2.5 point penalty in prelims for taking too long to clean up some of the water that was spilled. 🙁

Ultimately though many of the IW shows were just too much for me. Too abstract, too busy – especially for me seeing many for the first time.

A Class

I found a bit of solace in A class where MBI Winter Guard competed. While some of the seriousness of IW is creeping into A class, I was glad to be associated with a guard whose program was nothing but fun.

Also, the only guard that bested MBI, FIU Winterguard, had an amazing show that was still somewhat abstract, but not so much that anyone wouldn’t get it. It was like half Miami street-racing and half kick-ass color guard.

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