Mason Tryouts continue in the face of Quarantine

Scott Reckers | Staff Writer

The Mason Dance Team performing on the football field durng a pep rally.

Though the world is standing still right now, some Mason teams are continuing to dance in the eye of the storm.

As the future of athletic seasons remains unknown, Mason High School teams are finding ways to prepare and build their teams online. Due to Coronavirus, athletic teams have had to alter the traditional methods for tryouts, leading  MHS’ color guard and dance programs to conduct virtual tryouts in order to prepare a team for the 20-21 season. 

The process of tryouts differ from team to team. Color guard tryouts have already taken place and the students who participated already have their results. Sophomore Lindsey Archiable was on the team last year, but, like everybody else, still had to prove her skills through submitting a series of videos of her demonstrating her skills with equipment like flags and rifle.

“The director sent out six videos,” Archiable said. “For each piece of equipment there were two videos, so there was a tossing video, warmups, and there were also two dance videos we had to do. If we wanted to do a weapon, which is rifle, we had to dance, flag, and do rifle, so six videos, but if you didn’t want to do rifle it was only 4 videos.”

The MHS dance team is also conducting online tryouts, altering the process to better fit their sport. Sophomore Avery Tobergte has been on the dance team since her freshman year and is trying out again this year. Anyone who wants to be on the MHS dance team must complete a packet and submit proof of skill through several videos.

“Dance tryouts are an online packet that we have to fill out by the 18th,” Tobergte said. “After that they send us a video of choreography and then we have to send back a video of us doing that choreography plus a video of us doing some skills like turns, leaps, acrobatics, tumbling and stuff like that, then they review them all and see if we make it or not.”

Despite this major change in a seemingly normal and simple process, Archaible has seen a light at the end of the tunnel. With these conditions, she believes the director has been little more understanding, specifically for the new faces during tryouts that have had to learn new skills as well as learn to adapt to a multitude of other possible situations like bad practice conditions.  

“I think the director was a bit more lenient because it could have been really hard to learn all those new skills and warm ups in such a short amount of time, especially for newer people,” Archiable said. “The directors will have to be more patient with everyone because everyone is learning on their own time in their own way and it has been pretty windy lately so they know we’re fighting with the weather too.”

Opinions vary on the concept of virtual tryouts. There are those who like the video much better than the live format. Some like the video format because there is less pressure in the virtual environment compared to doing it infront of your coach. With videos there is also a major added bonus that one could take the video as many times as he or she needs to for a good take. But virtual tryouts miss out on the live aspect. Tobergte actually prefers the traditional style of audition as it lets her express herself more through dance.

“I prefer the in-person type of try-outs,” Tobergte said. “It shows more about yourself, like that you can perform under pressure in and stressful situations. I feel that it is a lot more impressive that you can dance full out to your utmost ability in front of experienced judges and coaches rather than dancing to a camera.”

Face-to-face auditions are not only preferred by an athlete who has been through the highschool tryouts before, but also by a first timer. Incoming freshman Maya Kirzner has 2 seasons of experience of guard through winter guard. Without guidance from the director she found it intimidating to learn new skills by herself. Kirzner said she would have prefered her first try to get into the MHS color guard be a little more text book so she could have peer guidance, but Kirzner made due.

“It was a little intimidating trying to learn some new skills over video and then submitting them to the director to see if I made the team,” Kirzner said. “That’s why I would have prefered an in person try out, that way people could check in with me. Some of the tosses were new to me and it was hard to learn how to do them based on a video so I had some help from my mom who did guard in highschool, and then some older friends helped too.”

Although the future of their season remains unknown, Archiable said that she is still looking up. Eager to return to her friends and competitions, she knows this is a tough time to stay disciplined and learn new skills, but continues to persevere.

“I know this upcoming season will be very different from all of our past seasons,” Archiable said. “The director told us that we are going to try to do remote camps and rehearsals until we can be together again. I think it will be harder for everyone to improve on their skills without being all together. Especially for the newer members, it can be difficult to learn new skills from just a video rather than in person where you can get corrections and guidance. But I am hopeful.”