Excitement was running high. We left the hazy hairspray cloud of the dressing room to take our places in line. This was the performance we had been waiting for! My majorettes squad had been practicing and perfecting this particular routine for over a month! We knew there were to be news cameras filming us too, so we were especially excited.
We got upstairs and separated into four lines of ten girls. Each line waited outside one of the four entrances to the gym, located at each corner of the basketball court. The plan was to move forward and wait at the corners of the basketball court, and as soon as we heard the halftime buzzer, we were to march in straight lines diagonally across the court toward the logo of our high school painted in the center of the floor, to come together to form the beginning X pattern and wait for the music to start playing. We stood there with chins high and adrenaline pumping, pom-poms ready and sequins flashing.
I was the first in my line. I stood there with my pom-poms on my hips, smiling big because I noticed upon entering the gym that there was a news cameraman right there, waiting to film us. He crouched low a few feet beyond my right elbow, with camera raised upward toward us. That was a bit nervewracking, but what could I do? I was glad that I had decided to leave my glasses off for this performance, now that I noticed his camera in my face! I was a bit self-conscious about my glasses, and performing without them gave me the added benefit of not being able to see the many faces that (may or may not have) stared at me while I performed in miniskirt and sequins. I couldn't do anything else in life without my glasses (being blind made vision seem somehow vital), but here was one place I could enjoy departure from my usual nerdy self.
I kept my chin high but sneaked a look at the other line of girls to the left of me in the other corner. They were just as excited as I was, that was obvious. The girl behind me mumbled "Almost...almost..." through her clenched-teeth smile. I looked up and noticed that there were only ten seconds left of the half! This was it!!! I straightened even more and focused my eyes on the line of girls diagonally across from me in the opposite corner of the gym. I had to lead my line toward their line as straight as I could. I held my smile in place as I stared at the girl across from me and waited for the buzzer.
Suddenly the buzzer sounded! I lifted my knees high and marched forward with booted toes pointed downward, shaking my pom-poms to the beat of my march. I got a full 5 big steps forward before I noticed that I was the Only. One. Marching. The line of girls in the corner next to mine were still standing in their line, staring at me in horror, some of them shaking their heads NO! in total panic. My eyes flew up to the timer above the middle of the gym, and I saw to my horror that a 2 second time out had been called. It was NOT the halftime buzzer I had heard.
I did the only thing I could do: I lifted my knees even higher and MARCHED BACKWARD, still shaking my pom-poms vigorously to the beat of my march, a huge smile plastered on my face. I stood in place and stared at that timer above the court, willing it to suddenly come alive and swallow me whole. I could hear the girl behind me saying "Oh my God! Oh my God!" through her clenched-teeth smile. All I could do was laugh and stand there and know that the damn cameraman had it all on tape. My humiliation was complete.
The next buzzer that sounded was the real thing. I don't think I've ever performed as well as I did that night, high on the adrenaline rush of my most embarrassing moment.