Former cheerleader and newbie to the color guard scene, Thomas Patton, junior, is the second male student to join the team at Mercer University, ever.
Although Patton was a member of the cheerleading team during his first two years of college, he had never before been a member of a colorguard.
“I found out that I could do guard for Mercer if I wanted to, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave my cheerleading family,” Patton said.
And despite having doubts, Patton was encouraged by his friends to consider trying out for the team.
“I’ve been friends with guard girls and guys,” said Patton. “I always thought it looked like fun.”
Once his interest was piqued, Patton witnessed the traditional “Abide By Me” post-game performance by the band, and that is when he knew he wanted to be a part of the colorguard community.
“When they sang that night, I felt like I had just witnessed one of the most beautiful moments of my life,” Patton said.
And even more, Patton was drawn to the chemistry the group shared.
“The sense of family and friendship I got from that moment moved me to tears then, and still does when I think about it now. I decided that night that no matter what I had to do, I was going to join guard,” said Patton.
He said his love of colorguard is rooted in the beauty of the performance and even in the challenges he faces.
“My favorite part of guard would have to be the rifle work,” Patton said. “I just love the way it spins and moves. The tosses are hard for me, but I still love it.”
And while Patton enjoys colorguard, he does not have any specific aspirations for the sport, but rather, he reflects on his experiences.
“I never thought I’d start doing it at all,” said Patton. “I’m just glad that everyone has been willing to teach me the work because I had no idea what I was doing going into this.”