Isn’t This The Best Feeling?

pre performance with Dee 1NCA ALL STAR NATIONALS 2012

We gathered in a huddle, arms around each other with our right foot in the middle. We sang our traditional songs and sited our special prayer to satisfy our superstitions. Our coaches gave their pep talk and left us to see us “on the winning side,” as Dee anticipated.

Legs shaking, hearts pounding, we know any minute it’s our time to shine. “Let’s welcome to the floor Senior Level 4 Spirit Explosion Fury!” a man projects over the crowd of individuals screaming and clapping.  We run on the floor in our traditional pairs, seniors first. Hiding our nerves behind our smiles, we greet all the eyes watching even though we can’t see anything but the bright shining lights. Hugs are given for the last words of encouragement before we get to our spot on the floor. We get to our line or space like ants in formation, tightening our ponytails, wiping the sweat from our hands on the souls of our shoes, checking our shoe laces. Taking a deep breath we bow our heads. Our arms are squeezed tight against our legs, not letting any air escape.

warm ups

The arena grows silent and still. You feel the heat from the lights brush against your face. Thoughts race through your head; deep breaths escape your mouth, listening to each one. Your hearts jumps out of your chest, beating a mile a minute as your stomach is tickled by the butterflies. You anxiously wait for what seems to be an hour yet, it isn’t even a minute, for the music to begin. “Who’s ready?!”

The first words blast out of the speakers initiating your nerves to double, your heart to drop and your body explodes with adrenaline. I snap my head up, lighting my face with excitement, and punch out the first skill. Blood runs through my body. My muscle memory takes control, remembering every motion and skill. Over and over again the voice in my head repeats the words of my coach and the counts of the routine. The adrenaline explodes in our bodies, keeping us up to beat. We go through piece by piece hoping the routine is hitting with faultlessness. The cheers from the crowd fade in and out of focus. It’s like a gauge, when our stunts hit, the crowd grows louder; if a stunt falls, the crowd grows quieter. At this point it’s louder than ever. We know that we can do this. We push each other to give everything left inside. The pyramid hits and the crowd goes crazy. We move to dance knowing that we just performed with perfection. The music ends with the last word “FURY!” Excitement runs through our bodies. Our smiles no longer hide the nerves; they express the happiness within us. At that moment we knew that we had just accomplished what we had worked for all season.

winners circle in stuntShortly after our performance we are brought back onto stage, this time with nerves of what place we got. The announcer gets to our division. We impatiently waited to hear our name. One by one we continue to get closer to the top. The top two were left. It was between Laredo and us. We knelt down and bowed our heads. Squeezing each other’s hands and praying in our heads. “In second place…” Our hearts drop. We squeeze tighter. “Laredo!” We did it. All of the days of dedication and exhaustion paid off. “Congratulations to our first place team, Spirit Explosion Fury!” We jumped like kangaroos, screaming with happiness as tears of joy rolled down our cheeks. The announcer handed over the banner and trophy as confetti trickled from the ceiling. We had just become National Champions.

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Cheer NN is proud to publish this story from Cheer NN reporter Heather Snialdowski! Heather cheers for Spirit Explosion in Pennsylvania. We love cheer and we know you do too! Help us to inspire others and share our passion for cheer! Tell us how cheer makes you feel! Become A Cheer NN Reporter and submit a story about how much you love cheer. Cheer NNFor cheerleaders!  By cheerleaders!