Two Minutes, Thirty Seconds

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Passion is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about cheerleading. Other elements of the sport are thrill and anticipation. The anticipation of being able to live out one’s passions.

When I walk into a strange school to compete, the tension in the air can be cut with a knife. The bathroom smells thickly of hairspray and hairclips are scattered everywhere. I see curly hair, straight hair, real hair, and fake hair. I can hear and see the other teams practicing their routines. I see flashes of the gold, silver, blue, black, and other colors of the various teams as they run by, trying to find their extra hair gel. It’s chaos, but its home.


The announcer allows us to take the mat. And suddenly, there’s screaming and jumping until the team settles into their spots. In my spot, I’m standing on the big blue mat with my head down, waiting for the music to cue me to start. My knees are suddenly jelly, and my head is pounding. My stomach hurts, and I think of all the possible ways the routine could go wrong, and all of the possible ways it could go right. This isn’t pain, though. It’s comfort. The comfort of knowing that I’ve run this routine literally hundreds of times, and knowing that I’ve nailed it more that two thirds of that. I hear the starting beat of the music, and I hit my first motion. After that, I don’t think; I’m on autopilot. I never get into this mode at practice, only on the mat, but it’s incredible. My legs carry me from stunt to stunt, spot to spot. My arms swing where they’re supposed to. I throw up a flyer, watch them stick a stunt, and catch them. It’s amazing how a routine can become second nature to somebody.

Other sports practice five days a week, and they have one or two games a week. Cheerleading practices the same amount of time, but they have two or three competitions all season, and they perform the same two minute and thirty second routine at all of them. Though at practice the team runs the same routine repeatedly, it’s never boring because there’s always something to work on since there is so much packed into a routine. During each team’s short time on the mat there is throwing, screaming, flipping, dancing, jumping and smiling so hard that one’s face hurts, all to impress four people whom one has never met, and will most likely never speak to. It’s the thrill of a lifetime.

Everybody has something in their life that they never want to stop doing. For somebody who is passionate about cheerleading, including me, that one thing is competing. My favorite outfit is my uniform; my favorite shoes are my Nike Tumblers. My favorite thrill is competition, because I’m a cheerleader.





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