Carly Wheeler | Contributor
It is the moment you realize that in less than five minutes, you have given everything: the time, money and weeks of rigorous preparation.
You strike the final pose. Adrenaline is coursing through your veins, heartbeat uncontrollable, muscles totally exhausted. It's the moment before your emotions let loose, the sound of the crowd is deafening and you know you left everything on the stage.
This is senior Max Partain's favorite memory of Airband.
This is Partain's fourth year participating in Airband. A PA on First West Wengatz, Partain continues the wing tradition of creating an Airband routine. And for the eighth consecutive school year, their group only contains men from First West.
"The reason we didn't want to have other people from the outside is we want to do this as brothers," Partain said. "And we want to compete as brothers, and win and lose as brothers."
First West has won five out of the last six Airband competitions, but the victories have never been the ultimate goal. The victory comes from the culmination of everything else that goes into the process, according to Partain. It has always meant more than trying to be the best; it is about creating something fun and amazing with the community.
Partain explained how God calls us to work hard and do our best, but he does not expect us to be perfect, and that is something he strives to convey to his wing - especially during the Airband season.
"I think that we've kind of created an environment where it's not about us winning," Partain said. "I think that if it was like, 'We have to win,' and then we lose, that's where our identity lies. We try our best. And if (we) lose, who cares? I don't care. It's a bonding thing for our wing."
After the final performance in last year's Airband competition, Partain and the rest of First West Wengatz stood behind the curtain listening to the crowd's response to their winning rendition of "Pandora's Box". Every piece of the process had come together for this, and the band of brothers were confident they gave everything they had.
Partain knew he would never forget this moment. The bond that comes from such a deep comradery is what he hopes continues in First West's Airband performances this year and every year to come.
"There was no doubt in our mind we had put out our best," Partain said. "And it wasn't about winning at that point, it was just about how we had done the best that we could and practiced so much for that moment. It was a very surreal feeling, and that's why I do it this year: for that moment. It's not about winning at all."
Q: Where do you see value in sharing stories?
"I think that a lot of people like to talk about themselves and talk about their stories, but they don't often give the opportunity to hear other people's stories. I think it's less about sharing stories and more about asking people to share their stories because sharing a story is a very personal thing and a very emotional thing for a lot of people, and so, I mean, just getting to share about the history of Airband-- I love it. It has been such a good memory for me. And I love the fact that somebody cares enough to know about it, cause like if you never ask somebody about a story, I don't know, how much do you care about them? How much are you willing to invest? 'Cause when somebody shares a story, it's time. Like to me, hearing somebody's story, giving them your time, it's the same as love. I think loving somebody is giving them your time." - senior Max Partain