When drum corps fans go to a show, they experience the polished product of what each corps has to offer.
The performers are precise and confident, and their shows are dynamic spectacles of energy and intensity that draw in each audience member.
What fans don't always consider, however, is the mentality that it takes to perfect each of these shows. There is a certain performance mindset that members have to establish at the beginning of the season and maintain throughout in order to be great. That drive to push forward can be daunting, especially when the sun heats up and the intensity bears down, but it's a vital part of ensuring that the corps is successful.
"We want [the show] to be consistent, but we want it to be consistently better," Drum Major Kristin Hodges said. "Figuring out how to do that takes a lot of mental power and the hardest part about it is that we don't stop. I think that's something that's often overlooked in our activity."
As the Crossmen enter week two of Spring Training, the mental push to maintain that mindset of performance is often an individual commitment. Each member works through the season uniquely, finding a balance and focus throughout the process.
D.J. Kobold, a front ensemble veteran, has a personal approach to keeping himself mentally engaged.
"I keep reminding myself why I'm doing this," Kobold said. "It's partially for the performances, but a lot of it is for the people and the relationships I'm developing. Part of what keeps me pushing through each rep is that I don't want to let the people around me down. I want us all to have a good experience."
And while the performers find their mental stride, the staff works alongside them to ensure that they are still having the best possible experience.
Percussion Caption Head, Josh Brickey, consistently stresses the importance of ensuring that the members are set up for success.
"The number one thing that I try to do is try to manage the members in what they can handle," Brickey said. "We're always finding that balance between pushing them and giving them what they need."
Although the days aren't cooling down, the drive for achievement is only growing at Heroes Stadium. And while establishing and mainlining the mindset of excellence is challenging, it comes with a personal growth and reward scarcely found outside of the activity.
As the members settle into a routine of polishing and perfecting, the corps is well on its way to a successful and exciting tour season.