Jon hopped online to figure out the logistics if we were to go and that's when he discovered that our old friend William (Old because we've known him for ages not because of his perfectly cut salt and pepper hair.) was actually judging the competition. This instantly lit a little fire under our butts and gave us the motivation to get out of the house in record time. Get to the train station and onto the train just as the doors were sliding shut and the whistle was being blown - oh, and with a couple of pastries in hand.
After an hour a connection and another hour, we were there. Then we just had to figure out the buses, try to remember a little Dutch (it didn't happen) and get to the competition hall. We did it and without breaking too much of a sweat. We walked in and Jon instantly took notice of the beer stand and made a comment about how much better Winter Guard would be in Colorado if they would just sell beer - but I digress. We walked through the arena and I heard the familiar sound of clanging flag poles and popping rifle straps. With every familiar sound it pulled at my heart strings bringing tears to my eyes as all of the beautiful memories danced through my head. This was such a huge part of my life and it will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart.
We made it to the stands and did a sweep for William. We found him and my heart was overflowing with joy. So was Jon's and he couldn't help but interrupt William while he was finishing his tape to give him a huge hug. I waved and tried to get Jon and Alessandra up and out of his hair a little bit but it didn't work Jon pulled me down on the seats right there in his row. As soon as he was done we chatted for a minute after exchanging hugs.
Alessandra loved watching the guards - it helped that they were all so young (and when I say young I mean little kids - like grade school aged kids). I have this theory that anyone under 4 feet tall is instantly Alessandra's best friend and these kiddos were young - and so cute - and pretty darn good too. We watched a few guards then went with William to hang out during his break and catch up. Then we slipped back in to watch a few more good guards before heading back home.
It was a spur of the moment, whirlwind of craziness, but that's just how we roll. It was the first time Alessandra had been to the Netherlands, the first time she's been to a winter guard show, and all in all it was pretty darn fabulous.
To all of my dear friends I marched with so many years ago - know that I love you all and that there's a special place in my heart just for you. For all of you crazy kids who are still performing, knock 'em dead at State this weekend and WGI next.