Picayune color guard coming together as a team

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Each year the Picayune Memorial High School Color Guard has shown improvement under Directors Sherrie Hoffman and Jessica Malley.

Now going into their third year as directorss of the program, the duo are hoping that the foundation they’ve been building will pay off this season.

The color guard works in unison with the dance team and band at each competition.

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A couple of years ago the team seemed to have some chemistry issues, but Hoffman said now the athletes have become a tight knit group,

“The girls really improved with their teamwork,” Hoffman said.

“They became one unit instead of competing with themselves.”

That unity has paid dividends with the group’s performance getting better under Hoffman and Malley.

However, the improvement hasn’t come without some challengess, especially the intricacy in which the color guard and band have to interact.

Hoffman said that sometimes they’ll have a vision of what they want to do for a certain song.

However, if the band performs and the music sounds different than what they’d been expecting they have to change their routine.

“We have to adjust to that, it’s constant changing and adapting to each other,” Hoffman said.

The squad has 14 athletes, and while that may seem small Hoffman says it’s intentional.

“In prior years it was many more, but it seems like the smaller group works a little better for them,” Hoffman said.

The athletes now have more asked of them than in prior years, with Hoffman noticing higher scoring groups have incorporated more dancing into routines.

While in the past color guard members were only asked to perfect their flag technique, now they have to be well-rounded performers.

“Now it’s dancing with flag and performing with flag, it’s more theatrical,” Hoffman said.

“Can they move with it and dance and show emotion?”

Hoffman has worked on improving the cohesion and unity amongst the athletes, and has seen progress during her time as director.

That’s because any animosity members might have towards each other could negatively affect the show.

“We’re trying to make it more of a family and team, when we first came in it was really difficult to bring them all together,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said that’s one of the most important lessons the athletes learn is how to get along with other members of the squad.

“The biggest thing is cooperation, and working with other people,” Hoffman said.

“Learning that although you may not get along in school, on the field you are a team, and all of that has to go away.”

Not only that, but the program serves as an avenue for participation for some of the girls who otherwise may not be involved in other activities at the school.

“For these girls it gives them a confidence that they can get out there and do something other than academics,” Hoffman said.

“It would be sad if we didn’t have color guard.”

Now heading into a new year Hoffman has high expectations for the group, and hopes that with the experienced squad she will achieve those goals. “I expect the girls are going to perform to the best of their ability, and that the score will be higher at competition,” Hoffman said.

“I have a good feeling about this year.”