11 Stages Of A Cheerleading Competition

11 Stages Of A Cheerleading Competition

Cheerleading isn't just a sport, it's a way of life
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Cheerleading has a secret universe that only a few lucky people get a glimpse of. We even have our own set of "Cheerlebrities." Every cheerleader, whether they are in an All-Star program or they cheer for their high school or college knows the thrill of getting the competition schedule at the beginning of the season. I happen to be one of the lucky few that get to see all the crazy, amazing events that go down during the competition season. Here are the stages all cheerleaders go through the weekend of a competition.

1. Packing.


You never know what you’ll need and who will forget what, so packing can seem never ending. Will someone forget their socks? Double check. Triple check. Do you have your Under Armor? I know we wear red lipstick, but what if I need my neon green lipstick? Just bring it all to be safe.

2. Driving or flying.


Nineties throwbacks, country, or pop hits -- the fight for the aux cord is more intense than trying to get to the terminal on time. The trip to the competition is very sacred because you get to spend hours bonding with your teammates, not to mention pigging out on fast-food and candy. Plus, the music determines the mood of the entire car ride.

3. Staying in a hotel.


Four cheerleaders in one room with a pool open until midnight. What could go wrong? A better question is what could go right? Staying up late having pillow talks, watching movies and having crazy dance parties, that’s one recipe for exhausted cheerleaders in the morning.

4. Getting ready for the competition.


Hair higher than you ever knew possible, and make-up more intense than you would ever think to wear. Everyone needs to look in uniform and put together, and you can be sure that if you don’t look right someone on your team will be ready and willing to fix it. That’s why you’re a team.

5. Checking into the competition.


Nothing beats that sweet smell of hairspray, totally bad for you concession stands, and Icy Hot sprayed up and down each athlete's body. Seeing all the teammates teasing each other's hair, dancing in a huddle, and meeting up with friends from other teams; the cheer world is a strongly intertwined community.

6. Watching other teams compete.


Although any cheerleader can tell you that it’s bad luck to watch your competitors perform, they will most likely tell you they do it, anyways. Whether you’re watching to see your friends compete or to see if your rivals will fall, watching a team perform will always pump you up.

7. Warm-ups.


Five minutes on each mat, five minutes to make sure your stunt is solid, five minutes to pump yourself up for tumbling; that's all you get. Fifteen minutes, total, to prove to yourself and your team that you won't let anyone down during the performance.

8. Performing.


Two minutes and 30 seconds to show the judges and everyone in the crowd that you have what it takes to win first place. All the late night practices and early weekends spent in the gym are for the short amount of time you have on the mat. It's your time to shine. Lock those legs, point those toes, and fight for first place.

9. Dancing before awards.


All the teams are on the mat getting ready to see who placed and who didn't make the cut, but not before a giant dance party. From Cupid's Shuffle to the Wobble, dancing in giant circles with the other teams unites us all. We are one big cheer family. Yet, we know that when the music stops, fierce competitors come out.

10. Awards.


Holding hands sitting in a circle with your team, all simultaneously praying that your team's name is announced for first place, is an indescribable feeling. With your heads all down squeezing each other so tight your hands go numb, your team is one. You're with your sisters and brothers. Your team is a family.

11. Post-competition crash.


Adrenaline running through your body for seven hours straight at a competition can take a lot out of even the best cheerleaders. While walking out of the competition, your carpool is already figuring out who gets to lay on who to sleep on the ride home (sorry drivers, you don't get a break until you're home). The weekend is over and now you can relax -- well, until the next competition.

Once you start cheering, it's almost impossible to stop. We love what we do. It takes a lot out of us, but that will never stop us from doing it all again the following weekend.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Felix

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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6 Best Feelings You Get When Playing Volleyball

While you're avoiding getting hit in the face, you just might gain something in return.

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Volleyball can be intimidating to get into, especially if you have had zero experience before. From the extremely bruised forearms to knee burns, it's understandable why people try to avoid this sport as much as possible sometimes. However, after the initial few weeks of struggle, the bruises will disappear, and the knee pains will feel much less terrible. In fact, after experiencing these six feelings, you will get hooked onto the sport.

1. When you get the perfect set

Every team needs a good setter, because without good sets, it is incredibly hard to get good hits. Every once in a while, when you do get that perfect set, you don't have to worry about repositioning closer or further away from the net or where to hit the ball. Instead, all you have to do is swing your arms and hear that satisfying bounce of the ball hitting the floor on the other side of the court.

2. When you dive for a ball and actually save it

Sacrifices to the knees are a must in volleyball, but a lot of times, they're sacrifices in vain. When a dive actually turns into a save, it can be one of the best feelings in the world. Not just because your knees didn't just take another bruise in vain, but because your reflexes have actually improved and you just saved your team a lost point.

3. When you get your first ace

Whether it was your serve that was too fast or the other team that just made a mistake, there's just something extremely satisfying about being able to serve a ball that others cannot return. It may also be due to the fact that you wouldn't have to run back onto the court or spend extra energy on this point, but nevertheless, the pride you feel when you get that ace is priceless.

4. When you find a good team

Some people work better with certain people than others, and when people on your team somehow naturally know how high you liked your sets or covers the areas that you can't at certain moments, as a team you will play much better. This can be attained through training and practice, but when you meet those people who naturally work well with you, you know the game is going to be good.

5. When you get a good rally going

When the ball is going back and forth for five or six times with 3 hits on each side, you have a good rally going on. At the end of it, even if your team loses the point, you'll feel an intense satisfaction from all the adrenaline still coursing through your veins. It's not every day that you can get everyone on the team on their feet, passing, hitting and making great plays!

6. When your teammates become some of your closest friends

This is probably the best reward that you can ever get from playing any sport. Whether it's a group trek to the local donut shop or just walking home together, you could end up meeting some of your closest friends. Volleyball is a team sport, and that bond established through numerous games is something that is irreplaceable. You'll naturally gravitate those who you work well with and find out that honestly, you guys get along pretty well off the court too.

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