The Road To Nationals
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The Road To Nationals

I am a national champion.

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The Road To Nationals
Delaney Walsh

To be a national champion is something I never thought I'd be able to call myself. It is a great accomplishment which requires a love for your sport and immense dedication. Two things I have always considered myself to have when it came to dance, nationals just never seemed like they were in the books for me. Competing for dance isn't like competing for a normal sport. There are millions of dances studios across the nation, any of which could enter in any competition. Everytime that one competes it is normally agains all new teams with all new judges. These factors make it hard to be on top. Most of the scoring is based on opinion and raw talent, making preparing for competition a challenge since there are so many things to worry about. But my team saw the challenge as an opportunity for greatness.

In the summer of 2015, my teacher Miss Bebe created her highest level team of 6. The dream team. We began practicing 5 days a week to create two dances to take us all the way. Spending so many hours a day with such a small group you create unbreakable bond. I had already been dancing with these girls for my whole life, but being under these circumstances with them made us even closer. As most people know, due to the great show Dance Moms, dance can get pretty catty. There are many girls who like to make their way to the top of the food chain without putting any hard work behind it. But not for the dream team. we all had the same goal in mind, to win nationals. We pushed each other and encouraged each other when it was needed. I'll never forget the late nights in the studio with my best friends working as hard as we could and enjoying every minute of it.

The first competition rolled around and we did pretty well. we were proud of ourselves, but it was always in the back of our mind that should we make it to nationals, the competition would be much much harder. So, we took the judges comments and continued to work day after day. Then came the Groove Regional Competition. I was pretty nervous to say the least since the outcome of this competition would make or break our chances at nationals. Butterflies fluttered around my stomach as I stood back stage with my 5 best friends, we listened to the wise words of Miss Bebe. To know her faith in us was one of the most encouraging feelings. We hear the announcer say "entry number 357 Dangerous" and we take the stage.

The routine flew by. Looking out into the audience I felt so proud and confident being on stage with these girls. As we walked off stage the biggest smile filled Miss Bebe's face. She told us that it was the best she had every seen us and I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear. Then came awards. We sat on stage squeezing each others hands as they got closer and closer to number 357, and before we knew it they announced 356. and then we hear, "In first place and qualifying for nationals in Myrtle Beach South Carolina, Dangerous from Barbara Hatch School of Dance!" We jump up with joy to collect our trophy. I have never been so proud of myself and my team, but I knew the heard work was just beginning.

For the next three months we went back to the studio and put literal blood, sweat, and tears into our routine. Then July rolled around, and we knew the moment we had been waiting for had arrived. As we walked into the convention center, Groove had all of the winners trophies lined up agains the wall. The biggest one was taller than me and I remember thinking, "wow it would be so cool to take that home." After a week of classes we finally got to compete our routine. Same as regionals, we huddled back stage with crazy nerves listening to Miss Bebe give us words of encouragment. It felt so amazing to be on stage after a year of preparation finally dancing our hearts out for the very last time. As we walked off stage we all started crying, with an overwhelming feeling of joy for how well the dance went. I was on a high that i have never felt before.

A few hours later, we were informed that we scored high enough to be entered in the final stages of the competition. Each dance who scored 1st place in their category would be allowed to compete again for the ultimate title. So we danced one more time leaving it all on the stage. Then the competition lined up all the dancers on the stage and had each trophy placed from 5th-1st place for the dancer to receive once the winners were announced. I stood on stage with my best friends in the whole world squeezing their hands in awe that we had made it this far. I remember not even being able to look up I had to close my eyes waiting to hear our name. 5th-3rd place was called and my heart rate sky rocketed since our name still wasn't said. This was the moment. As they announced 2nd place and it wasn't our name i imediatly started crying. We did it. The announcer says, and our national champion for 2016 is, and as soon as the beat dropped of our song we raced to the front of the stage. As tears and hugs flew everywhere, no one could take this away from us. We spent the next 45 minutes on stage just soaking up all the amazing energy of our victory.

This experience showed me what an amazing sport dance is, and how it can allow you to push yourself to extremes you didn't even know you had. I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life. I am a national champion.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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