Standing like soldiers at the edge of the clear azure mat with my teammates, almost indistinguishable in our crisp, sparkling white shoes and clean, neatly pressed uniforms, we prepare to compete. My hair is tightly pulled up into a sleek ponytail of spiral curls, now firm as a result of the layers of hairspray. A shimmery ribbon is carefully tied to perfection around my ponytail. There is a hint of rose blush against my cheekbones and smooth raspberry lipstick across my lips.
I stand with a big bright smile across my face trying to disguise or maybe even forget the nervousness I feel inside. My stomach is jumping around in every direction possible and I feel like I could pass out any second. I run my deep scared eyes past the hundreds of anxious spectators and envy the calm, relaxed teams to the sides of me, knowing that they are all secretly hoping we have a horrible performance. Suddenly it’s as if the already blinding lights are beating down on me and the temperature raises twenty degrees. My palms begin to sweat, and the butterflies inside speed up. Indistinct sounds surround me but I cannot obtain any of this, my mind is a black hole. The mysteriously stern looks of the judges, sitting in a neat row without even the slightest upward crack of a smile in the corner, frightens me even more. I inhale a slight trace of the concession stand with the tangy, sour mix of sweat, and perfume as a current of refreshing air blows by my face.
Although we have only been standing at the mat for a few minutes it feels as though it has been hours. My jaw begins to tighten from smiling and I shake with anxiety. I run through the routine once more in my head and pin point all the little details I must remember. I take one more deep breath of the stuffy, bland air to fill my lungs with the oxygen I will need to complete the routine. I hear the announcer blast over the loudspeaker that we may take the mat. I smile a big flashy smile to my teammates as we hurry on. As my feet touch the wool-like cover of the spongy mat I get a burst of adrenaline so great all my fear vanishes.
With the encouraging fans cheering as loud as they can and my coaches standing behind the judges I feel a rush of confidence. As we begin the cheer all else is forgotten and my mind is focused strictly on what I am doing. I am so filled with energy the usually exhausting routine has little affect on me. When the cheer ends my team and I quickly rush off the mat that had just given me such a high. Out of breath but pleased with my performance I hug other teammates who are just as excited and take in deep gulps of the refreshing air. We are all anxious for the results to find out how we did.
Being at a cheerleading competition is one of my favorite places to be because I feel so many emotions, but once I hit the mat none of these matter anymore. The rush of adrenaline I get out there is stimulating, I feel as though I can do anything. I forget all my worries and nervousness and it all comes naturally as a result of weeks of practice. I have to remember that even if a mistake is made its ok and I just need to move on and not make one little mistake worse. Having confidence, trust in everyone else, and even a little attitude really makes the routine unique. There is a lot of hard work put into learning and practicing a routine but in the end when I do it on the mat in front of all the spectators and get the rush I do, I know it’s all worth it and that it is definitely one of my favorite places to be.
Courtney from Study Moose
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