Right before our finals performance in Rochester, we had a corps meeting in a small corner of the parking lot, about eighty yards from the edge of the stadium.
“Tonight you have to tell the story of the Bushwackers. You have to force that crowd to believe.”
“Tonight you have to be undeniable.”
The only tear I shed that night was after that word. Undeniable.
All those weeks earlier in the summer at Surf. Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Texas, Massachussetts. Every day, we had so many obstacles to overcome. The weather conditions. Our rehearsal schedules. An unapologetic, unrewarding judging panel. The limits we had set within ourselves that we fought to break through.
The word we hung onto, through all that time, was “undeniable”. We had no room to leave things to chance. We were not a corps that could afford the luxury of being anything less than great.
“Undeniable” taught us to be great. All the time. With no room, no TIME for anything but the best we could ever be.
“Undeniable” was our prayer, our mantra, our calmly whispered war cry. We all knew that when we, as a corps, became undeniable, the earth would move under our feet, the tides of competition would change, and we would be everything the rest of the drum corps never thought we would be.
“Tonight, you HAVE to be undeniable”.
My entire summer came crushing back onto me at that moment, inches from DCA finals, and I wanted nothing to do but crouch down in the dirt and bawl my eyes out.
It felt like fate that I was here, at this very moment. Fate that I would find myself in the midst of the very same mission in a different corps, during this very same summer. Fate that forever more, my blood would run fast and furious, the blood of an underdog. Never sleeping, never resting. Always fighting.
Every time I hit a long note and crescendoed, UNDENIABLE pounded through my head. Every time I snapped my horn up and down, UNDENIABLE punctuated the locking counts. Every time I yelled and lunged the passing fence at 3b and screamed FIGHT, it was in the glory of UNDENIABLE.
23 days prior, in Lucas Oil, I had offered up to the crowd, in my outstretched hand, my dead ageout heart. I thought there was nothing more of me to give.
But I was wrong.
To be UNDENIABLE, it seems, is a perilous, passionate, painful journey that never ends.