Extraordinary Game Day Experiences: Olivia Kane
Olivia Kane, junior from Weston, Mass., majoring in communication with a concentration in media and a minor in art and design, partial scholarship as a marching band feature twirler
This story is part of the series Extraordinary Game Day Experiences. Read more stories here. »
I was looking for two main qualities in a university: outstanding academics and amazing school spirit. After attending my first football game before applying, I knew I wanted to twirl here. The most memorable moment has been, and always will be, when the band plays the alma mater and I get to stand on the 50-yard line and see over 60,000 people showing their love for NC State University.
I am the youngest child in my family and wanted to break out and do my own thing. I ventured down south and came across the school of my dreams when I found NC State.
I began twirling when I was only 3 years old and have competed on the national level for over 14 years. I’m so thankful to be able to twirl at Wolfpack football games while gaining a valuable education. On my recruiting visit, my coach led us onto the field through a tunnel, and as soon as the entirety of the field came into my view, I could feel every part of me overcome with happiness. I still get that same feeling every time I walk through that tunnel.
As a feature twirler, I also am a member of the Power Sound of the South. There are over 300 members of the NC State Marching Band who work incredibly hard to make sure our performances are up to the high standard that this school deserves. Band is technically a class, but if you ask anyone in the band, they will tell you it is so much more. Dr. Paul Garcia and his staff do an incredible job creating an environment that promotes inclusivity, hard work and growth.
Pregame takes the most work because it has so much tradition built in. It has to be perfect. The halftime routines, we begin choreographing at band camp, a week of 9 a.m.-10 p.m. practices before school starts. Once the academic year begins, the twirlers practice with the band six hours a week and on our own a couple hours each day.
This year, no one in our group is new, so we are looking to increase our degree of difficulty and really wow the crowd. You might even see me try twirling four batons! People often think that twirling fire batons is the hardest, but, personally, fire is my favorite. The crowd’s reaction makes any risk of burning myself worth it. The hardest part of game day is to not let my nerves get to me. We practice every day and can catch everything that we put on the field, but as soon as you get out there, you have to channel your nerves so they don’t take over.
NC State’s program is actually unique in that we are a team of “feature twirlers.” This means that we perform and compete as a team: the Wolfpack Majorettes. But we also perform and compete as individuals as well: NC State Feature Twirlers. The majorettes have a little handshake and pep talk before we step on the field every pregame.
At the conclusion of football season, my focus becomes getting my routines ready for collegiate competition, and it has been an honor to represent the Wolfpack at a national level. This past July, I competed in the National Collegiate Baton Twirling Championships against a field of over 80 collegiate soloists and placed second in the nation. We had a great cheering section at the event, which is held at Notre Dame University, and even some Pack fans watching the live stream back in North Carolina. I was so excited.
After I graduate, I want to take my degree to work in New York City with social media. My experience interning with NC State’s Office of Athletics Communications has taught me so much and will help me as I enter my professional career. I’ve had the opportunity to gain real-world experience that included posting on social media and researching and writing press releases. My minor in art and design has not only been enjoyable but also will help me down the road.