Drill Team / Honor Guard Reunion – Day One

Since Friday was mostly a “free day” for me, I decided to be lazy. I had originally intended to meet with some people from the Athletic Department, to find out what their requirements would be for using one of the basketball courts on campus for an Honor Guard performance next year, but I never got around to making any appointments with anyone, so instead I just wandered the campus for much of the day.

When I was there as a student (between 42 and 46 years ago!), I didn’t have much time for free-range wandering. I lived off-campus for all but my freshman year, and I was required to park in “Lot 80” (aka the Siberian Wastelands of campus) – a good 20-minute walk from where most of my classes were. I majored in Industrial Engineering and therefore carried a heavy load of coursework each quarter (the equivalent of 18 – 21 credits, or more, per semester). I was also on the Drill Team, which, like any other sport, required a significant time commitment. And University Park is HUGE. So there were, literally, places on campus I never went near.

Last Friday, I changed some of that. I brought myself up to speed on the Hetzel Union Building (aka the HUB), which is now the HUB / Robeson Center and is about 3 times as big as it was in the early ’70s. They have an excellent selection of eateries there, but all the places seem to be national franchises. I was looking for someplace that could make me a vanilla or cherry phosphate, but there were none to be found. I also wandered around some of the dorm complexes that I never went near – particularly Pollock and South Halls and the (much) newer Eastgate Apartment complex. I saw the new construction, as well as several other new-to-me-but-they’ve-been-there-a-while buildings, along College Avenue. And as I wandered along, I couldn’t help but yell at today’s students (if only mentally), “Pay attention! You’re gonna try to recall today’s campus sometime in the future, and you’re gonna fail miserably! Ask me how I know!”

One thing I did for next year’s reunion was to go into the White Building. It’s one of the athletic buildings on campus, and back in my day we would (on very rare occasions) use the basketball court to practice our routine. It was one of the few places on campus that was large enough for us to run through the whole routine without having to stop and relocate ourselves back to the center of the (too-small) practice space. The drawback was that, since we were on a wood floor, we had to use non-cleated shoes and to wrap our rifle butts with something that would absorb the impact with the floor. (In those days we used horseshoe cleats on our heels for sound, and our rifles had steel plates on the butts. Neither was good for wood floors.) When I visited the building last week, I didn’t recognize the basketball court space at all. I think the White I knew is now just half of the current White Building. But since today’s Honor Guard performs on wood floors (they no longer use cleats), this might be a good place for a performance – if we can work out the details.

The reunion social was a great end to a good day. It started off a little slow, as people wandered in and kind of looked around a little warily – until someone said something and voice-recognition took over. After that, it was like we had never been apart. Even folks from different eras mixed easily with each other. There was lots of food. (Actually there was way too much food – I couldn’t decide what to get, so I got everything, and the platters were sized for either 25 people or for 50. We had mini-meatballs, cheeses, veggies with dip, fruits/melon slices, and brownies/cookies.) We had a cash bar, and I think everyone drank their fill.

I took lots of pictures, of course! If you’re on Facebook and have friended me, you can look at my album, which I also shared with the Drill Team Alumni group. If you haven’t friended me, you can find me here. If you’re not on Facebook, you can see them on my Flickr account. Eventually, I’ll also post them to the alumni website (and I’ll not let “eventually” become too long!).

Here is a representative (?) sampling from the social:


L-R: Grant Leljedal (73), John Herdman (71), Nelson Beard (73), Nancy Herdman

100_5723L-R: Rick Painter (75), Barb Rich (76), Dave Staib (77), Rita Staib (with Gary Moore (76) in the background)


L-R: Fred Bauer (71), Steve Grazier (89), Grant Leljedal (73), Gary Moore (76), Melanie Moore

We all had a great time. I especially enjoyed the different “generations” coming together like we had all known each other all along.

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