“What if I fall out my stunt?” I asked my coach while backstage. It was almost time to go on the mat and compete in the large arena in Houston. My entire body trembled, and I could feel butterflies in my stomach as I peeped at the crowd. My team gathered in a circle to pray and to encourage one another one last time before we stepped onto the mat. Basically, everyone said the same thing, “Don’t worry: We got this!” After the last encouragements were spoken by teammates, I felt less nervous and more excited to compete for a title. I felt the adrenaline and found some energy inside of me. I was jittery and had a smile from ear to ear. I was ready to take the floor; I was sure we would do well.
The announcer’s loud voice boomed over the microphone, “And next in your Senior Small Level 3 division, it’s Dynasty!” The crowd screamed and shouted as introduction music played. I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, and walked through the curtain onto the dark blue mat. Blinding lights shone on my face, and all I could see was darkness past the crowd; I could barely see my coach sitting at the foot of the stage. I approached my spot on the mat and put my hands on my hips. The music started, and I was ready to show off my team’s talent and the hard work we had put in at practice.
The first section of the routine was jumps, which the crowd seemed to enjoy; their excitement was contagious. I lifted my legs and arms into proper positions and smiled while doing so. Next up, in the two-minute and thirty second routine, was stunts; this part did not go as well as jumps. My bases threw me up into the air, but caught my feet in a way that made me unsteady. After this mess-up, my confidence lacked, and I could not crack a smile. To top it all off, I could hardly see anything because my ponytail was flipped into my face, and my hair covered my eyes. I continued to pull my flyer positions, but they were not as effortless looking as they should have been. The crowd still cheered my team on, but not as loud. Also, my coach cheered us on, but I could tell she was not as impressed as she was before. When the bases let go of the flyers and set us on the floor, it was time for tumbling, which went even worse. Since I was not a tumbler in the routine, I stayed on the side and encouraged my teammates. As the girls tumbled, I would scream out, “Come on, push, you can do it!” When a girl landed, I would yell, “GOOD!” But, not everyone landed. Some girls touched the mat, but others’ knees and hands hit the floor as they came out their tumbling. The whole team knew we had messed up, but we did not show that to the crowd. We continued to smile and try our hardest because now it was time for the dance. We made facials and acted as if none of our mistakes happened. By this point in the routine, we huffed, puffed, and gasped for air. The music ended, and the crowd screamed stentoriously.
I stood up from my ground position and hugged one of my teammates. I trudged off the mat while trying to pick up my feet. I walked down the stairs to a dark open area behind the mat. No one on my team could really speak, but we tried. My throat was completely dried out, and I felt like I was going to throw up. My body felt so heavy, and I could barely breathe. My coach asked us, “Well, how do you feel you did?” Everyone looked around at each other and did not say a word. My coach finished to explain that the performance was not horrible, and we would receive the placement we deserved; which was not high. She explained that the performance we had just put out was not an accurate representation of all our hard work and talent. After this talk, I stood alone, thinking of what I could have done better. I felt like I had let my team down, but I was just another minor mistake of the routine. After reminiscing on my mistakes, I finally remembered that I would have more opportunities in the future to do better, and my next opportunity was the upcoming weekend at another competition.