Monday, October 08, 2001

Only boy in flag corps ignores teasing

The Associated Press

        MARYSVILLE — When Rob Boerger takes the football field for Marysville High School, he draws stares because he is a full head taller than his teammates.

        He's the only boy on the school's flag corps.

        “I'm here to live my life for myself, not for others,” said Rob, undaunted by insults often hurled at him from the stands. “It's such a rush when I'm on the field doing something that I enjoy.”

        Rob, 16, is thought to be the first boy to join the school's flag corps. Fewer than 3 percent of high-school color guards have male members, according to the American School Band Directors Association.

        “Rob's really good at what he does,” junior Bethany Billington told the Columbus Dispatch for a story Sunday. “He works hard at it and is so dedicated. He just makes all of us in the corps better.”

        Rob, a junior, decided to join the corps after having little luck playing sports.

        “For three years, I did everything I was supposed to, everything that was asked of me, and I still sat the bench every day,” he said. “What's the point in living like that?”

        Female friends encouraged him to become a flag setter, the corps member who helps carry flags and prepare equipment for the field. He was allowed to try out after Principal Greg Hanson gave his permission.

        He wears plain, full-length pants and band shoes rather than the traditional corps outfit of three-quarter-length, satin palazzos and boots. And his uniform doesn't have sequins and rhinestones.

        Band director Bill Thissen said Rob was a welcome addition, but he worries about the teasing.

        “I know it can be hard for him,” Mr. Thissen said.


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- Only boy in flag corps ignores teasing