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Picayune color guard hosts virtual tryout

COVID-19 has shuttered school doors around the county, which has led to certain organizations, like the Picayune Maroon Tide Color Guard, to host a virtual tryout to gain new members.

The group had nine returning members and four new applicants took part in the tryout process to round out the 13-person squad.

Jessica Malley is the director of the color guard, and she said under normal circumstances she would’ve had far more new applicants with the group reaching around 30 members.

However, having to do the tryout process online, while also not being able to drum up interest for the program due to school being out, led to a lower turnout than usual.

“Color guard is a hands-on technique that you have to learn in person. If you’ve never touched a flagpole before I think a lot of girls would’ve been intimidated,” Malley said.

There were a few hiccups along with the way with some parents struggling to upload paperwork or the tryout videos themselves.

Still, interested parties persevered and now Malley knows exactly what her squad will look like heading into this year.

Malley said she has missed in-person tryout process for a variety of reasons.

Not only would it have been a more streamlined, in-depth process, but in-person tryouts also bring out the best in the returning color guard members.

“What I missed most was having our returning members help new members, and seeing them step up and show their leadership skills,” Malley said.

The tryout process wasn’t a favorite of the athletes who would’ve preferred the simplicity of an in-person operation, but that just isn’t an option with the current restrictions set in place by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

“Overall I would say the girls did not like the process, but they were very patient and understanding with us, the directors, as far as us having hiccups,” Malley said.

Results were announced May 22 with the final list first being put on the school website before then being put on the organization’s social media accounts.

Following the announcement of the new squad it’ll be time to get to work.

Right now the current ban on extra curricular and athletic activities from the MHSAA is set to expire on June 1.

The group will have some catching up to do because of all the missed practice time, but once the restrictions are lifted the organization will hit the ground running.

A major emphasis will be placed on preparing for band camp, which takes place the last two weeks of July.

While Malley intends on educating her members, both old and new, on the proper techniques of color guard it’s the in-person interaction she’s most excited about.

“We’re ready to get in there and start practicing while getting to know the new applicants. That’s what I’m most excited about,” Malley said.