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Nationals

The combination of dance, gymnastics, jumps, and lifting is one of the best things created. “Ashlan, cheer may not take you far in life, but as long as you find something you love, are passionate about, and stick with it, it will be worth it in the end. You will learn lessons that I couldn’t teach you myself,” is what my dad told me when I was eight. Cheer has been my home, family, and passion for more than seven years now. Some seasons I never wanted to leave, and others didn’t end fast enough. I worked my butt off day and night to be on the top team, senior level four. Getting all the way to the top would be almost impossible, but I knew I couldn’t give up. I got my standing tuck and my round off back handspring tuck over summer. When try outs came, I was more nervous than ever, but I couldn’t let my nerves get to me. The night of try outs results were posted. I had made the top team! I had never felt so good about something. I called my dad, “Dad, I made the top team! Can you believe it?” I said, trying to hold back the tears. “Great job Ash, I knew you could pull it off! I’m so proud that you pushed yourself. Now you know you can achieve anything if you really set your mind to it.” The season started off, and we were so far undefeated. We wanted to go to a competition with tougher and stronger competition. The day I saw the Disney World nationals on TV made me want to be there more and more. It all started of with our first competition, our national qualifier. Once we found out that we were eligible to compete at Disney Worlds Nationals we scheduled in as many practices as possible. “We aren’t anywhere near the condition and shape we need to be in to take 1st place. I’m kind of worried about the whole thing,” I told my coaches. “You guys just need to learn how to push yourselves. I’m not say that it is going to be easy by any means, but I know you guys have what it takes to go far,” Drea replied. With some much work to be done, all 35 of us had to give 200% in every part of the routine. At one point almost half of us reached our breaking point, but a sprain, a break, or a pull wasn’t going to hold us back even the tiniest bit! The struggle continued for more than five months. When the day finally came to leave for Florida, we were all excited to get out there and show the other teams our skill. After the five our plane ride with all my friends, we arrived in Tampa. Driving passed all the Disney World signs got everyone’s hearts racing. It was almost impossible to imagine our team competing at the second largest competition in the world. We practiced day and night, at the hotel, so the routine was engraved into our minds. We knew we needed to practice as much as possible no matter how horrible it was. Although we got to go to Disney World for two days, free time was not why we were there. We made sure our head was still in the competition. Our day of competition had arrived. We woke up bright and early; hair sprayed our ponytails, put on our outrageous make up, and finished our look off with our uniform and bow. “Do you think we can really pull this off?” my teammate Taylor asked. “I sure hope so. To be honest I’m nervous, but I think we can make it happen!” I encouraged. So far the day was perfect, besides the rain. As we approached our destination, my adrenaline was starting to kick in. Still not behind stage, I was already nervous. Once we got to Disney World, we went straight back to warm ups. That meant only 30 minutes until we performed. We practiced our stunts, tumbling, jumps, and pyramid, everything was hitting solid! While our hopes were up we were directed to walk towards the stage. One more team was in front of us before it was our time to shine. As the team came off the floor, we knew it was it. We all grabbed hands and prayed for each and every person on the team. “You got it, I have you!” I told my flyer. “Okay, thanks,” she still looked nervous. “I promise I will not let you fall, I care about you and the team too much to let that happen,” I reassured her. “I believe you. Thanks a bunch!” she sounded more confident. Our captains were able to get two last words in before we went on; “NO REGRETS!” is what they yelled. We walked on the floor with a warming smile on our faces. The music started…. I landed my tuck, “YES!” First stunt, “SOLID!” Running tumbling, “PERFECT!” Pyramid, “AMAZING!” Jumps, “ALMOST DONE!” Dance, “WE DID IT!” The crowed roared as we cheered off stage. Our co1aches were as happy as ever as we approached them. Everyone hugged and some even shed tears. Next, were awards. This was the moment we had been waiting for. When they announced our division, an instant silence grew over our team. We grabbed onto one another. So many emotions ran through us. Nervous to find out our place, sad that the season was over, happy that we had made it so far, scared that maybe we got your hopes up. “Sixth place goes to Arizona All Stars!” We stood and cried, not even knowing why. Although we only beat seven other teams, the experience was overwhelming. We gave it our best and came out of it feeling like champions. We all had come so far, and we grew so close to each other. All my teammates turned into best friends, which eventually turned to sisters. I will never forget the girls of 07-08 (Senior Royals)