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OHS Color Guard Team Crafting Successful Season
colorguard ohs
OHS Color Guard has secured three first place wins this season. The team will compete again this Saturday, March 19 at Gregori High School. Photo Contributed

Oakdale High School Color Guard is making big turns, as it prepares for yet another competition this Saturday, March 19 at Gregori High School.

Under the direction and guidance of OHS 2019 alum Casey Calvin, the 16 person teamed has secured three first place honors since the start of the 2022 season. An exciting time for both the team and Calvin, who first began coaching the team in 2020, a season that was cut short due to the pandemic.

Calvin herself spent six years competing with Oakdale Junior High and OHS Color Guard. She now attends Modesto Junior College where she will earn her Associates in Business and transfer to Sacramento State this fall.

“My sophomore year, we split into two guards the junior high and high school,” Calvin said. “Before it was combined, because we didn’t have that many members. When we split it was really difficult because we didn’t have a coach and we did not do well in my time.”

Looking at this more as an opportunity, rather than a setback, Calvin took on coaching the team herself and applying methods which worked and motivated her as a student.

“I love Color Guard, so I wanted to give students a place that they could succeed and thrive and learn something in,” she said.

“I learned how I didn’t want to feel,” she added of her high school experience when the team was in between coaches.

The coach shared her main goal coming out of high school was to give the students a fun color guard experience.

“It can be so fun, so much fun,” she said, “and you can learn and grow and just the teamwork aspect and then the actual sportsmanship and athleticism that it takes to do the sport is also an added bonus.”

Not only has the team had an undefeated season in 2022, they were also bumped up a division at the suggestion of the judges. A suggestion, not a requirement Calvin shared, based on the skill level demonstrated by the team.

“The reason we’re doing so well this year is because the majority of students that did color guard in the past came back after the break,” Calvin said, “and I have two brand new and they just picked it up amazing.”

Yet it takes more than a solid team and motivating coach to produce a winner. It takes dedication, consistency, and a strongly choreographed show which is executed well.

“In writing a show you need to understand the caliber of the kids. What their skill level is and what they’re capable of,” she said. “And on top of that, you have to understand what’s an entertainment value to the audience.”

From a commitment standpoint, Calvin shared she met with each team member separately prior to the start of the season and presented them with a challenge.

“I had personal interviews with the kids before I even considered doing that much time and I asked would you be willing to put in this time,” she said of practicing two to three days a week for as much as four hours at a time, “because I can guarantee this outcome and all of them were like, Yeah, I’m ready. Let’s do this.”

As for writing the show, the coach said once the show is written the same show is performed throughout the season. The 2022 season marks her first experience with producing her own show for the team.

“We had brought in a coach from Golden Valley High School, and he wrote our show for us,” she said of her first year coaching. “He writes amazing shows and he also gave me an opportunity to learn what an actual coach should be like to the team.”

Becoming a coach that the team responded to was a combination of what she had learned from previous coaches, as well as her own personal motivators.

“I think a coach has to connect with their team, first and foremost, because the coach only writes the show and puts it together,” she said. “The coach doesn’t perform the show. So connecting the kids together, along with connecting to the kids themselves is the first and foremost thing that I find the most important. The second thing is it’s just respect and if you respect the kids, the kids are going to respect you. That’s one thing that I’ve really learned.”

And as far as what she enjoys most about coaching and Color Guard, Calvin said, “I would say there is a certain rewarding factor that writing a show or performing a show gives back to you. You put all of your time and effort into something to produce for people to watch; for people to be entertained by and the growth along the way, the journey to get there is what I consider the best part, not the first place trophy necessarily. It’s what it takes to get there.”