Sunday, November 18, 2012

Baton Twirler is Costly

   My parents on average spend about 1000 dollars a month just on baotn twirling. To start with, there is an automatic $80 fee a month to be on my baton team. Then every week i have a private lesson with my main coach for an hour....$40. Then a 1/2 hour technique lesson with a different coach for $25. An multi-baton lesson for 45 minutes... $30. And a choreography private lesson for my Rythmic solo  for one hour... $40. Every time our proffessional choreographer comes to teach my team it is $12 per team and per hour he works with us. Since i am on Senior Twirl, Senior Dance Twirl, Junior Twirl and Junior Dance twirl its about $24 in chorography fees a week. Then when i come for private lessons twice a week, each night i have to pay a $6 gym fee, so in total $12 a week. And lets not forget that my baton practices are in baltimore about 80 miles. If gas is $3.30 a gallon and adding on time for traffic, thats alot to pay for gas 4 times a week.

  Then i have to add in costume fees. My team uniform cosists of a leotard, Team tank top, black dance pants, black socks and black cougar dance shoes, totaling about $75. Then my velvet team warm-up suit, $120. And ofcourse the team set of earings & hair pieces for $40 total. Then comes our costumes. Our dance twirl costumes are about $120 each (i have 2) and our twirl team costumes are $240 each (i have 2). Then i have a mathcing pair of shoes for each. For 4 pairs of these shoes running $30 each, its alot of money to put in to feet. Then i have to wear tights and strapless bras under each. We buy about 10 pairs of $20 tights at the beggining of the year and one nude and one black bra about $15 dollars each. Then comes my individual costumes. I have 7 individual costumes that last normally 2 years, but not always, Each costume ranges from $350-$600.

  Lastly is my entry forms for each contest. i have 5 mid-sized competetions a season. In total i have to pay $20 for team entries (5 dollars each) and $8 per idividual event i enter. i enter on average 14 events per competetion. In big competetions such as congressional cup tournament, state overalls, regional overall and nationals the prices raise as well as events i enter. My entry for for each big contest (besides nationals) is $380 dollars, and nationals is $600 every year. Then if they are far a way i have to pay 2 nights in a hotel for about $150 each because they are 2-day competetions. Then 8 days in a $240 hotel for nationals.

  I will never be able to repay my parents for letting me take all this money from the family. That is probably why i never waist a second during practice time. Because after looking over a yearly billl for twirler, not including other small things they give me, its way more than any teenager deserves.

If Baton Was Easy We Would Have Pom Pons & Be Called Football

       It’s unbelievable how many people believe that twirling isn’t as hard as sports like football or cheerleading. Don’t get me wrong I love football, I am a die hard Jaguar and Steelers fan but how is catching or running a ball harder then what twirlers do? Yes I know large men are trying to tackle you but we have metal sticks spinning above our head… are you going to try and say that’s not dangerous? And unlike football players we don’t have padding! I understand that you have to have hand eye coordination, speed, agility and ofcourse will to be a good football player but twirlers need that too & much more! We have to take all that and add in grace, technique, twice as much hand eye coordination and balance/ flow. Not to mention if were on a team we have to depend on eachother. We exchange batons poblably ever 20 seconds and if one baton is thrown wrong then someone could get seriously hurt and ofcourse we would get slammed in penalities. Its not like football where we get 3 other downs to get our stuff together, we have one chance.
    And cheerleaders. All they do (excluding professionals) is stand in front of a crowd shaking their Poms and hips to the marching band music. I agree that those types of things can pump up a crowd but they have NO RIGHT to say that they are dancers, because they are not! We are dancers. We strive on technique and dance to be good baton twirlers not pom Pons and yelling words hardly anyone can understand. The jumps they do in thier routines are things i could do as a five year old. Or the "Ripple Effect". All you need to do is the same exact movement, in a straight line one member after another. What part of that is difficult? Its all an illusion to the crowd, and only people with no dance expirience are actually entertained by the effect. Why dont they put down the pom pons that couldnt even kill a fly and pick up a 4 IBS. metal stick and do ripples with that. See how many cheerleaders get knocked out that way! 
   I guess overall you could say my opinion is "Bias" but its not.. at all. When i was 4, 5, 6 & 7 i was a cheerleader. And not on a small comunity league, a state league. At age 4 i was considered one of the top 20 junior cheerleaders in the state of maryland. And i gew up with my older brother and his 5 bestfriends who loved playing tackle football in the field outside my house. I never liked being left out so i played with them every summer when i was a kid. They all loved tackling the little blonde girl just to rub in how i had no muscels. But i proved myself over the years to be just as good as them. So before you write off cheerleaders and baton twirlers as the same kind of dancers or thing football is the hardest sport alive; try baotn twirling. You probably wouldnt make it for two weeks at my level.

Friday, September 14, 2012

There are a few things baton twirlers need to do together before we become a official olympic sport. First of the modeling portion of overall Majorette titles, needs to go. How are we suppose to compare ourselves to soccer players or even ice scaters if we spend around an hour and a half curling hair & doing makeup and almost a grand on a gown just to walk around and turn infront of judges for less than a minute? i agree that everyone needs to have posture, poise and presentation, but making us look like beauty queens is not the way.

    For example, in the picture is me and one of my younger teammates Makayla. Our hair is down and curled, our costumes are sparkling and we are wearing title sashes. This does not look like a sport. We look like beauty queens. Take away the sashes, wipe off the makeup, put on a tank top and pants and put the hair up in a bun. Twirling is just as challenging as any other sport but we recieve no credit or regongnition for it. Its time for that to change.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

      Hello And welcome to my Baton twirling blog! I know that there are alot of blogs out there about baton twirling but what most of them lack is the true opinions of frustrated yet proud twirlers, parents, coaches, judeges etc. in the baton world. To be honest with you, this blog is just another project for school. But as i have been creating it i want to keep up with the posts and spread the word of baton twirling from not just mine but everyones point of view. Please feel free to email me at, comment, post and subscribe so we can have as many people possible supporting the thing we all know and love; baton twirling.

  I want to start off my first post with a description of myself. My name is Alyssa Bockman, im 17 years old and i live in Maryland. I have been twirling a baton since i was 7 years old, and have loved it ever since. Though i started out with the "Gems" at age 13 i moved to the Elite level baton twirling team; "The Dynamics" and have had amazing expiriences ever since. Over my years i have won 5 Miss Cama titles, numerous Midatlantic regional & Maryland state titles, 1 Intermeadiate Jr Midlatlantic pagent title, 1 Intermediate SR Maryland pagent title & the 2012 age 16 Intermediate National & World Open Super X title. This past nationals i was also honored to be on 3 Advanced National championship teams & compete in the National Majorette Contest
after qualifying my first competetin in advanced SR at Maryland state championships. Lastly this past april i traveled to the 2012 World Baton Twirling Championships in Neuchatel, Switzerland with the Dynamics, as a member of TEAM U.S.A. After winning the Junior Twirl Team championship at 2012 AYOP Nationals we continued our streak and Recivied the Gold Medal at the World Championships, it was an amazing expirience.

  Twirling is my passion and its what i want to do every minute of everyday. The hardwork, blood, injuries, swerat, tears wins and loses just make me stronger and i want to have the chance to be called an athlete and compete in the next olympics. if you feel the same way please leave comments, posts or email me so we can spread the world and stand up for what we all know and love, Baton Twirling!