PITTSBURG, Kan. - We've all seen it done, but what exactly is baton twirling? Even kids learning how to do it have a tough time explaining it to their friends.
Elly Belew: I tell them it's like dancing with a metal stick.
Clover Murray: It's strange, it's unusual, it's not dance, it's not gymnastics. It is what it is.
Whatever it is, they love everything about it, including their teacher Megan Munger. She says as a toddler, it wasn't the first thing she tried.
Megan Munger: My mother put me in everything, and I didn't like anything (laughs).
Then, when Megan turned five, Megan's mom took her to the Pitt State Homecoming Parade. That was the moment when she saw the baton twirlers and she was hooked.
Megan: and I was like, "I wanna do that!" and she was immediately like, "Yes! You wanna do something you're gonna enjoy!" So she put me in it.
Because of the sport's limited popularity, Megan primarily coached herself; she even assembled her own routines and costumes. In seventh grade, Megan performed for the first time at a Pittsburg Community Middle School basketball game. By twelfth grade, she'd fallen with both the baton and Pittsburg.
Megan: My senior year I had to make a decision of am I gonna stay for college or am I gonna leave? Then I started teaching and I was like, I'm not leaving I love this too much. The community already supported me, so I thought why not stay?
Fast forward four years and Megan is now a senior at Pitt State Univseristy. She plans to become an english teacher after graduation, and while she's currently enrolled in eight classes this semester, she still spends her weeknights teaching.
Megan: So I think I run it a lot like I think about my future English class being run, my future classroom. There's a certain set structure, but there's also a lot of fun involved with it.
After all, Megan learned from the best coach she could, herself.
Megan: It takes a lot of courage, especially being the only one. I really had to just say okay, I love this and I'm just gonna go do it, and I just had to do it...But at the end of the day, it all came back to me making those decisions, and just throwing myself into something that I loved.