What Goes Up …

Chris Dillon

I recently had the privilege of judging the WGI Sport of the Arts World Championships in Dayton, Ohio. For me, it was one of those career high moments that I will never forget. Throughout the three-day event, my proverbial “hat” changed often—judging some rounds and becoming a super fan in other rounds.

One of the key insights I can impart after evaluating and watching guards this season is the immense importance of catching your tosses. More times than I care to remember, it seemed as if guards were playing a sort of Russian roulette with tosses, taking the chance on throwing higher tosses in the hopes that the odds would be ever in their favor with a solid catch completion. Sadly, this strategy didn’t always play out in their favor.

I am fairly certain most people can throw a 6, but not everyone can catch it. If the training does not exist to catch a toss consistently, then it is simply not worth the risk!

Consider this: Everyone gets super excited when a weapon goes sailing toward the heavens. However, the exact opposite effect occurs when it plummets back to earth, collides with the gym floor, and goes bouncing across the tarp—destination unknown.

From a judge’s perspective, there is no credit given for tosses that are caught by the floor. If you have heard the phrase, “Achievement diminished the effect,” on a judge’s file, it may be due to a floor catch.

Bottom line: If you can’t consistently and solidly catch that 6, please take the rotations down until you can. An effect that is not completed is a non-effect; credit is not given for attempts. Solid completions—not height—are where the real points are found.

Lastly, an out-of-control toss can wreak havoc on you and the performers around you. Above all else, please make safe choices.

About the author

Chris Dillon

Chris Dillon has been involved in marching arts activity since 1981 as a performer, instructor, designer and adjudicator.  Currently, she is an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, WGI Sports of the Arts, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC), Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit, Indiana High School Color Guard Association, Texas Color Guard Circuit, and several others. She held the position of education coordinator for the WGASC for the past eight years.

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