So, this might be a mistake. But I’ve decided, since The Naming of Colton Black is middle-grade fiction, that I should you know, share some of my own middle-grade experiences. Lame and embarrassing and all that. Yeah? What better way to promote a genre than to embrace it whole heartedly. Get ready. I’ve got some good ones.
First one up? Drill team.
Yes. I tried out for drill team in the sixth grade. I adored dancing and the idea of exclusivity in the shape of a drill team uniform. No, I wasn’t popular, but I guess you could say I was liked. Which, in the life of a middle-grader, means absolutely nothing. You’re still invisible in the eyes of the people you want to be visible to. Trying out for DT was a step towards being seen. It gave this quiet, reserved introvert a chance to shine. On audition day, I hit those angles hard and was selected as one of four drill team captains. I was on my way!
What no one tells you is that you’re going to perform to songs you’ll forever hate. And look back on and be mortified you ever did such a thing. Like our Christmas show. Adorned with Santa hats, we tip toed, crawled, and skulked across the stage to Tim Burton’s “Kidnap the Sandy Claws.” Or our spring performance. I dressed up in a large white teeshirt, oversized plaid boxer shorts, and chunky socks and danced to a song called “Overload.” And I can never again hear the 90s anthem “What is Love” without cringing (it was our big show stopper).
Regardless of corny costumes or cheesy songs, my days in drill team were enjoyable. Embarrassing today? Sure. But it gave this shy, squirmy, and scrawny preteen an odd dose of confidence. A new set of friends. And a handful of memories to fondly laugh at in her thirties. Oh, to be a sixth grader again. (Please, God. No.)