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Plastic Rifle Narrative

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“I want to continue strengthening my flags skills.” I looked down to the ground nervously as I admitted my defeat to my coaches. I knew this was an avoidant excuse. The sentence silently continued on in my head, “... rather than wasting my time attempting to throw a plastic rifle in the air and unsuccessfully dropping it every time.”

The first time I saw a rifle was on the stage of a Team Dance Illinois competition. My JV team, most of them new to the concept of colorguard, was astonished with all the unique equipments never before seen in our limited access from school. Flags of different sizes, silks all stunningly diverse, equipments like sabers, batons, and even umbrellas captivated me into the art of performing. What particularly stole my heart was the white, sleek body of the performance rifles. Ever since, I've seen countless Winterguards toss a beautiful soaring spin, catching effortlessly while gliding around the tarp. The complexity of the tricks roared the crowd and allowed me to confirm that I was determined to be standing on the same stage, drawing out the same amazed roars for my own team.
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The school recognized the team’s 3rd placement in state and supported the team through funding, allowing the coaches to purchase brand new rifles for our school. Holding the fresh rifle in my own hands was the exciting part; it was later revealed to be the most frustrating part since that was the only thing I could do. Basics such as spinning or doing a single toss was an immediate struggle. Catching it properly was out of the question as the rifle slammed constantly into the hard surface of the cafeteria. Embarrassed yet eager to improve, I practiced outside of school to grow accustomed to the handsome equipment. By the time it was Winterguard season once again, the pure white had been discolored from the desperate grip of the brown gloves and green grass stains smeared the tips of the
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