It’s about more than spinning and winning.

Love, respect, encouragement, perseverance, courage, confidence... just a few lessons learned this season.

Love, respect, encouragement, perseverance, courage, confidence… just a few lessons learned this season.

Yesterday Team Evergreen competed in the 2014 sate championships for marching band.

The sky was a mean gray, the air finger-numbing cold. The wind tired desperately to rip rifles, flags and sabers from the guard’s frozen hands. But they held on.

Because of the weather, finals were cancelled.

Scores from prelims were tabulated and results were announced.

We came in 6th.

We hoped for higher, however, it was the best season so far.

The amount of growth I saw in each member of my team was incredible.

This year the Evergreen staff asked them to push beyond the skills they had and learn new ones. We asked them to project confidence when they felt unsure. We asked them to look ten times bigger than their small number.

We raised the bar.

They grabbed it.

We raised it again.

They stretched for it.

The more we expected, the more they gave.

Sweat, blood, bruises, tears and broken teeth… they fought.

Yesterday, this guard came off the field with no regrets.  Their wind-burned faces beamed. Their eyes sparkled as they scooped up equipment while the audience roared in appreciation. Heads rose high above their shoulders as they walked off the field.

But it wasn’t just the show they were proud of.

These kids learned not only how to spin and dance at a much higher level, they also learned how to persevere through pain. At one show, a student took a flag pole to the mouth in the first 20 seconds of the opener. Broke her tooth off. She performed to the very end as if nothing happened.

They learned how to extend grace to one another over the past few months as each member reached his or her breaking point.

They pulled together to offer comfort when a member was sad.

They encouraged one another when things got hard.

I don’t think I’m stretching anything by saying they learned to love one another. The bond this team has is unlike anything I have seen in all my years. And for that reason alone, I am  proud of them.