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I have been in competitive cheerleading at Ultimate Dance and Cheer (UDC) for about six years now and this specific competition has by far been my worst. I went to Kansas City, Missouri for a cheer competition once, and I was super excited at the beginning because I had never been there before. We competed on Saturday and Sunday meaning it was a twoday event. Day one counted for twenty-five percent and day two counted for seventy-five percent of the total score. I had to leave school early because my family and I had to leave at two pm on Friday. It only took six hours to get there, but it felt like a whole day!

Then, we got to the hotel and it was amazing! The rooms were so big! We got there early so we had some time to swim. We got our swimsuits on, but when we got down to the pool it was closed and the trip was already off to a rough start. We went to sleep and before I knew it, it was Saturday morning and it was time for me to start getting ready. I got my costume on, my makeup done, and my hair done. Next, it was time for us to leave. We got in the car and drove to the convention center. It wasn’t that far away because we were staying downtown and everything was so close together, and the buildings were so tall. I went in and started getting my regular shoes off and my cheer shoes on, meanwhile, my mom was getting her tickets. After that I had to go with my coach to go and perform my first routine; “Quest” and it went pretty well.

Then, later in the day it was time for “Endeavor.” I went with my coach and did warmup; warming up for Endeavor was pretty good too. All of a sudden, it was finally time for us to perform. We were backstage and the pressure was on but I tried to encourage my team as much as I could.

“Ultimate Dance and Cheer; Endeavor, please take the floor,” the announcer said. Then we ran onto the floor and everyone cheered and that made me really excited, but then they all stopped and stared at us and then it got so much scarier. “You don’t want to mess with us…” the music started and the spotlight felt like it was beaming right on me! The first thing that went wrong was that I skipped one of my passes. Then, all of our elite stunts fell. Lastly, one person touched down on their back tuck! After our performance I was so exhausted because I felt like I let my team down. It felt like a catastrophe.

Then, when me and my mom were on our way back to our hotel, she told me I can’t hold onto it forever and that life has to go on. The next morning came and I did the same old get-ready routine that I did the day before. We got there, went to warm up and then we were backstage and my coach told us some words of encouragement before we went on stage. We went on and performed. It really felt like we did better on the second day and that was good. We still got last place, but I did not really care because I knew that the worst was over and I knew that I could count on my teammates to not get mad at me. They could also count on me to not get mad at them, because they really didn’t do anything wrong. This competition just wasn’t our luckiest.

Most people in America try to do things independently, and sometimes it works, but most of the time people need teamwork to get the job done. So this story relates to being American because bad things happen once in a while but people can’t make a big deal out of it and hold onto the little things that happened in the past. I have gotten over the situation and it has made me feel so much better because I had the weight of letting my team down on my shoulders and now it’s gone.

© Lily Quale. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.