20 July 2015
Competitive Cheerleading Starting at a young age, I loved to participate in sports. The first competitive team I became a part of was gymnastics. I was on a team with twelve other girls, but it was mainly an individual sport. I had my own routines for each event: beam, bars, floor, and vault. At competitions all of my concentration was on two main goals, beat my competitors and improve my personal best score. When I graduated high school, I became part of the Midwestern State competition cheerleading team. This team consisted of sixteen members, where every member performs each section of a routine together to be judged. Being a part of competitive cheerleading opened my eyes to a new meaning of team because it was no longer about me, but about the cohesiveness of the team. Standing at the edge of the dark blue mat with my teammates, identically dressed in maroon uniforms and sparkling white shoes, we prepare to compete. The lights were shining so bright on the stage, blinding my teammates and me from seeing the crowd. The gymnasium looked like it was just four completely white walls surrounding us. The temperature in the gymnasium felt like it had risen fifty degrees in just seconds, making me hot and sweaty. As I hear our team name being announced over the speakers, my team and I step on the mat and spirit to our designated spots. I stand with a big smile across my face trying to keep my nervousness in check. My stomach is jumping in every direction, and I feel like I could pass out. I look to my left where my teammate Lauren was standing next to me, and she says, “Let’s do this!” A sudden burst of adrenaline takes over my body. At that moment, excitement takes over my anxiety because I felt the support of my teammate.
The music starts and instantly my body knew what to do. I begin my back tuck at the right moment, completely synchronized with my teammates. As we all stick our landing, I see everyone’s facial expressions light up. Then we transition to the tumbling section of the routine. Once I get to my spot, my heart starts to race. From the four months of practice, I knew that I mastered my backhand spring to a full twisting layout, but the fear of not landing correctly haunted me. Then I hear my teammates beside me yelling, “You got this Lynzee!” On the correct count, I begin my tumbling pass. As I land my full twisting layout, a huge smile spreads across my face. I could see my team’s confidence growing as we make it through each section of the routine. During every transition, I was either shouting or receiving encouragement from my teammates. As I get set for the ending pyramid, I yell out, “This is it! Let’s hit it!” I am tossed more than ten feet in the air; the girls in the middle layer of the pyramid catch my feet. In my peripheral vision I see that I am in perfect synchronization with Felicia, the top girl in the other pyramid. Before I know it, Felicia and I are looking ecstatically at each other with the same facial expression. We did it! We finished with a bang! For the awards ceremony, every team is lined up in a horseshoe shape around a rectangular table with the trophies and medals. My teammates and I stand united holding hands. We listen as the three runner-up teams are announced. My hands begin to sweat as I squeeze the hands of my teammates. The third place team is announced, “Wilmington University!” My heart starts pounding anxiously. I take a deep breath, closing my eyes as I hear, “Second place goes to…” and the announcer pauses, “Midwestern State University!” A jolt of energy and happiness rushes through my body. My whole team begins jumping up and down hugging each other. The first place team is announced and the crowd applauds. I look around at my team with tears of joy in my eyes; we all begin to celebrate again. During the time of preparing for competition, our whole team experienced mixed emotions knowing whether the hard