I stood at the side of the deep blue floor in front of my partner. White tape stuck to the floor in front of my toes. The white tape lined the floor to make a square border. As I stared at the tape I could see my stomach move up and down as I took deep breaths. The smell of hairspray lingered in the air. A velvet, blue leotard hugged my body. It sparkled in the bright white lights of the arena. I looked up to look out at the crowd. Bodies crowded the circular arena as if they came to watch a concert. The tremendous crowd added to the nerves I already felt. I then directed my eyes to the judges table. Black curtains hung from the tops of the tables. All the judges looked down at their papers and rapidly wrote on their sheet. Slowly they all looked up, passed their papers down, and the middle judge raised a green flag signaling me to walk on.
My partner and I slowly raised our hand to salute. As we began to walk I could hear the announcer articulately pronounce our last names into the microphone. Once the announcer finished the crowd began to clap. The cheers of my teammates stood out. They yelled encouraging words to help boost our confidence. We walked onto the soft, carpeted floor and took our place. I crouched down in a squat and waited for the music to play. When the music began, I felt as if my eardrums would burst. I had never heard the music played this loud. My partner and I started completing the choreography that we had practiced for so long. Neves started to take over me, and all I could bare to look at was my partner. We came together to build our first skill, and her hands dripped sweat like a waterfall. She slightly bent her legs, put one hand over the other, and rested her elbows on her knees. I walked over to her, put my foot in her hands, and rested my hands on her shoulders. Pressure could be felt at both sides of my foot as she started to toss me in the air. I quickly flew up and came back down. When she caught me, I could see she felt just as nervous as I did. Throughout the entire first skill I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest; but, we did the skill without any falls. I could hear the crowd clapping behind me. It brought me back to my first competition I ever did. My partner and I competed and got first place. I got through that, so I could get through this. The only thing that had changed was the size of the crowd. After that I finally gained enough courage to look out at the crowd and the judges. The longer I was on the floor, the easier it got. By the end of the routine I felt amazing. We hit out ending pose, saluted, walked off of the floor, and took a seat on the tiny love seat next to our coach. The crowd roared with applause and yells behind us.
When I sat on the couch, the leather material stuck to my skin.
“That was amazing.” My coach congratulated us. She grabbed the pitcher of water in front of us and filled two tiny dixie cups. I picked up the tiny cup and drank it faster than I should have. The cool water soothed my dry, scratchy throat. It tasted refreshing.
“I’m so proud of you both.” My coach kept praising us. Another routine had started on the floor, but I couldn’t look away from the huge, projected screen. I couldn’t look away from the bright light of the projector. It held me in a trance, while I waited for my score. When our score popped up, my lips tugged up in a smile. My partner and coach leaned over to hug me. We had an outstanding score. This felt so great. Our hard work had payed off. Nothing had ever made me feel so good. I couldn’t wait to keep performing for people.