When the Weston Ranch High School JROTC Color Guard walked onto the grass at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Saturday, all eyes were on them.
All 63,132 sets of eyes that packed the home of the Oakland Raiders for their preseason showdown with the Los Angeles Rams followed their every move as they marched the flag into position for the singing of the National Anthem.
To say it was nerve-wracking for the team of five cadets – which included sophomores, juniors and seniors – would be an understatement.
“It was my fourth time doing it but it was my first being the lead, and while you focus on what you’re doing and try and drown out everything around you it’s nerve-wracking,” said Cadet Captain Jose Revuelta, who carried the American flag. “You’re thinking about all of the things that can go wrong and trying to do what you’re supposed to do and prevent that.
“As the leader, you have to tell them not to be nervous even though you know that they will be and you have to keep your head in the game – it’s like you’re the one responsible for what everybody is seeing, and you made sure that you’re doing everything right.”
While the pressure was immense, the experience wasn’t without its perks.
While Weston Ranch has been invited back by the Oakland Raiders to present the colors each of the last four seasons, Saturday was the first time that the team was invited up into a luxury suite to relax before the game began, and allowed to return to watch the game and enjoy all of the amenities of the high-life.
While the Raiders fell 24-21 to the Rams – two teams that played in the same city together from 1982 to 1994 – Weston Ranch JROTC Instructor SFC Sal Reyes said that he was proud of the team for executing as they were supposed and overcoming the fear of performing on the grand stage.
“They have pride and they learn that they have to be accountable,” Reyes said. “It’s a position that requires being able to overcome the anxiety of performing in front of a crowd like that, and they did very well.
“The stadium is full and everybody is watching you, and you have to do what you practiced.”
The team – consisting of Cadet Captain Karman Basra, Cadet Major Alelih Galvadores, Cadet Sergeant Leanne Mijares, Cadet Captain Jella Batac and Revuelta – has also performed locally for the Stockton Ports and the Stockton Heat as well as presenting the colors at the first monster truck event help after the opening of the Golden One Center in Downtown Sacramento.
They were able to see Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr as well as a handful of other players, and warmed up not far from the Oakland Raiders ownership group and other local dignitaries who were present at the game.
“It gives you a sense of pride standing out there when everybody starts screaming,” Revuelta said. “That’s when you have to stay focused, but it gives you a very good feeling.”
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