Baton twirling is a dangerous sport. Or it used to be.
When I was in high school we twirled flaming batons that were hot! And yes, I singed the hair off my arms a few times and caught the burning wick by mistake once and suffered a second degree burn. But did it keep me out of the half-time show?
No frelling way!
I smeared the burn with fresh aloe, wrapped my hand, popped a few aspirin, marched out on the football field, and flicked my Bic when it came time for the majorettes' fire-baton routine. And no one over reacted to the incident, either.
I also twirled knives. They're not actually sharp, but the hook on one end impaled my hand once. Again, I took the injury like Wonder Woman and kept on going.
Another time, I was hit upside the head in a dark gym by a flying roll of toilet paper during a pep rally where we majorettes were performing a routine with glow-stick batons. Sure, it took me by surprise and hurt like a son of a gun, but I took my lumps--literally--and kept on twirling.
Lighting up fire batons INSIDE the school was prohibited due to fire regulations. But not at the MALL. I auditioned for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus with not one, but two, flaming batons at an indoor mall my senior year of high school. And won. No one was killed or injured during that performance.
Another danger with fire batons was having to sling the excess gasoline from them right before they were lit. The goal was to sling it away from you, not ON you or IN your eye. Nowadays this kind of twirling is banned in many places, but I began learning to twirl fire when I was TWELVE. And guess what? It didn't kill or maim me.
More often than not, I prepped my own batons. Took the gasoline can, poured enough gas in a big glass jar to cover the wick on the end of the batons, stuck the batons into the gas, and covered the top of the jar with aluminum foil to slow evaporation.
After the wicks on one end had soaked several hours, they were wrapped tightly in aluminum foil so that the other end could soak. Sometimes the gas would leak from the foil and run down the shaft of the baton. Boy, would that ever make your baton slippery when it came time to twirl.
Considering how overprotective everyone is these days, it's kinda laughable to think about middle school and high school kids handling gasoline, cigarette lighters, and flaming batons. And we'd lacquer our hair with hairspray before performances--also highly flammable.
But we not only survived, but thrived from handling knives, fire, and gasoline.