Nationals 2013: Two Minutes to Prove Yourself to the Nation

“The time is now, we have worked this entire year for this moment.” said my co-captain as we waited backstage. Three teams are in front of us. Grasping my poms, I could feel sweat taking over my palms. I go over the dance in my head a million times. Two teams in front of us. I felt as if I were in a dream. Nothing felt real, I could not believe that we were finally here. It was to be my last time performing on a national stage and I knew I had to make it my best. One team in front of us. Lost in my day dream I finally noticed the 15 pairs of eyes staring at me, looking for some sort of guidance or words of wisdom. At first I didn't know what to say to them; my teammates, my best friends. I closed my eyes and tell them that we are ready; “We as a team have worked so hard to get to this exact moment. Giving our best is one thing, but giving our all is what we do best. Go onto that stage and perform like you have never performed, dance harder than you have ever danced, and most importantly just have fun.” We start to move closer to the stage as I realize the team before us has finished. Zero teams left. We had 2 minutes to prove ourselves to the nation. I could hear the crowd cheering as they announced our name. “Now taking the stage from Mt. Pleasant Michigan, the Central Michigan Chippewas!”

It feels like it was yesterday that I heard my name being called as I had made the 2013 nationals team. I'll never forget the butterflies in my stomach and the giant silly grin that spread across my face. I ran into the studio to join my teammates that had made the team and everybody seemed to be thinking the same thing; we did it. I spent more time with those 15 girls on the national's team than I did anybody else. Having practices four nights a week for three hours in the beginning of the school year did not seem so hard, but as the year went on and Christmas break rolled around, we had practice every day for eight hours. This made everybody a little crazy. Through the fun crazy times we also had extremely hard working times. In those practices I pushed myself harder than I ever had before. I never knew it was possible to be so exhausted physically and mentally. Having to think about all the changes and specific placements while hitting each move with every bit of power you have, can feel so horrible yet so amazing. There is nothing better than finishing a dance and knowing you put everything you had into it. That is what my personal goal was for national's. I thought about this goal from the moment we started national's practices until we were in Florida getting ready for the competition. At those moments, when we were prepping for the competition, knowing that we have practiced all that we could and worked as hard as we could, nothing else mattered. Before I knew it, I was on that stage ready to give it my all and nothing else mattered.

A flash of light and the dance was over. I ran off the stage feeling exhausted, excited, and wanting to cry. There were so many emotions that I didn't know what to do with myself. My teammates and I gathered around a little T.V. back stage to watch our performance. Screaming at every movement we hit, tears began to run down my face as I knew I had accomplished my goal. I had performed that pom dance the best I could. Gathering with my team, what seemed like hours, we waited 30 minutes to hear the results. We were waiting to hear our placement in the nation. An announcer went down the list of the top 20. "Placing fifteenth in the nation, the Central Michigan Chippewas!" We all jumped up screaming and crying. In that moment I knew I would remember for the rest of my life; the day I was on the team that placed fifteenth in the nation.