By Morgan Worthy
"Line up guys, lets go through that one more time". That is something Sydney Fletcher hears every time she steps out on the field. The Old Dominion University sophomore is used to ignoring that pronoun "guys", as she is only female on the snare line in ODU's marching band.
A mechanical engineering student, Fletcher Marches to the beat of her own drum on and off the field.
When the sophomore auditioned for the ODU drumline in 2019, she "was nervous and decided to try out for the bass instead." Fortunately, because of a misunderstanding, drumline instructor David Walker convinced her to audition for the snare position. In just under 24 hours, she learned all the music for snare instead of the bass like she was initially going to try for. The night before tryouts, Fletcher says she "accepted that [she] was not going to get onto the drumline" and decided to just go try her best.
When Fletcher got the news that she made the drumline she was "very surprised and disappointed."
"I was disappointed because that means they saw something in me that I did not see in myself," she explained. That says something about her character. She was upset because she did not believe in herself enough. In fact, when asked what advice she has for any incoming ladies that want to follow in her footsteps, she was quick to exclaim "Believe in yourself! Do not be intimidated."
Fletcher's only remaining fear was her ability to function cohesively with all the males on the line. That turned out not to be an issue.
"I would consider those guys to be my brothers," she said. "We joke around, and I feel comfortable with them and I would like to think they feel comfortable around me."
"For the most part, they treat me the same as any other person on the line." Teammates turned into family.
One could say that Fletcher is a pro at overcoming the feeling of intimidation. She stands out in her mechanical engineering classes as well.
"In a class of 60 people, I will be lucky if four are girls."
It is the sophomore's dedication and work ethic that keeps her going. "I am passionate about what I do, I am not doing it just to stand out."
Fletcher is used to the pressure of planning in front of thousands in the stands at ODU football games and public events such as parades, but the pressure to succeed comes from within.
When she goes for something, the first-generation college student "wants to do it to the best of (her) ability," she said.