About IBTF and COVID-19 .... a message of hope

A MESSAGE OF HOPE TO ALL BATON TWIRLING ATHLETES, COACHES AND OFFICIALS

2020 was supposed to be monumental for our baton twirling community. There were two world championships to look forward to, countless local and national contests to help our twirlers prepare for their shining moments, and a beginning to the new era for baton twirling led by the IBTF. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, much of the hard work was cut short, seasons ended prematurely, and dreams were put on hold. The hearts of our athletes, coaches, and leadership broke, having to decide to postpone these major events, but ultimately the right call was made.

With the absence of a season to look forward to, our athletes have shown us that the future is bright. They have taken to social media to share their new practice spots, connected through fun challenges like the “Go Long” videos, and have never been closer as a community, even when we are forced to remain apart. Our sport is receiving new appreciation through platforms like TikTok, where popular challenges are getting a twirling remix, showcasing the creativity our sport has to offer. When our athletes felt like they lost the most during this crazy time, they are the ones reminding us why we love baton twirling.

Coaches have found new ways to connect with their students and keep some normalcy in such an uncertain time. Where the coach/athlete relationship may have surrounded practices and contests before, thanks to technology they are reaching out to just be there for each other, allowing coaches to still celebrate new accomplishments while allowing their athletes to bring some comfort to a coach’s day. Even some contest directors are finding ways to continue the competition seasons through virtual contests of all sizes. Baton twirling has never felt more alive thanks to the internet and the ways we can remain connected.

The best innovations often follow times of tragedy. This time when we are more alone with our thoughts than ever may bring some of the most powerful and creative work we have ever seen, and we look forward to seeing how our sport will look a year from now. Athletes have an extra year to prepare for their performances at their respective world championships, even giving them a chance to rest off injuries or a little fatigue that they typically would push through. Our choreographers and coaches have more time to revisit routines and push their athletes to be even better. Even they need time to refresh from what is sometimes a nonstop process of creating and building championship caliber performances. While we still are finding our way through these uncertain times, the only thing we can do is look ahead to the bright future of our sport.

The IBTF is committed to continuing to unify our sport. While our plans are put on hold as well, we look forward to our first world championship in 2022. To the athletes, coaches, family and fans of our sport, we salute you for keeping our sport alive through this pandemic. Keep sharing your videos and that positive spirit at the forefront. Happy twirling!