The Time I Made History in All-Star Cheerleading


Khloe Mitchell, Writer

We were at the Cheerleading Worlds, competing against some of the best teams in cheerleading history. The nerves were coursing through our veins, lighting a fire in our souls and strengthening our desire to win.

We had put out two great routines both days in front of loving fans and jealous haters. The lights shined bright, and the music filled our ears, along with the crowd screaming our music, giving us the confidence we deserved. Chills sprinted through my body as I saw the crowd with their eyes on me.

Everything seemed to slow down. My ears began fading out the sounds of the crowd, the music. I could only hear my breathing and the brush of my cheer shoes against the soft blue mat. My stunt sequence had ended, and my time to shine was creeping closer. The part of the routine that made me well-known in the cheer world. All eyes would be on me. Then quickly, we were at the next part of the routine. The team moved to our jump formation. We clapped for our hurdler, then clapped again for our double toe-touches.

And there I was, jumping at the front and center of the mat, right on top of the Cheerleading Worlds logo. Orange is known for its jumps; mine were on display for the whole world to see. Seeing my coaches at the front of the floor, giving me thumbs up, screaming for me to keep pushing, finish the routine, finish strong, breathe, and focus on one section at a time, gave me this drive to continue doing great.

Then seeing my mom in the crowd, clapping so hard, knowing her hands would be sore. She had tears streaming down her face as she saw me proving everyone wrong. All the coaches and teammates that told me I would never be enough, with or without tumbling, all of them saying that I wouldn’t be able to make dreams come true, were about to be proved wrong. Despite years of suffering from a mental block, I was accomplishing things that those coaches and athletes never did.

The adrenaline made my heart beat faster and faster, filling me with so many emotions and causing my eyes to water a little. Then, the floodgates opened as the routine came to an end. I realized I had performed for millions of people to see. I put out an outstanding performance at the Cheerleading Worlds with millions of people watching. I then realized that was the last time I would perform that routine with this team. The season was over. That was it. We now had to leave it up to the judges to decide who gave their all and left the best routine on the mat.

My team and I huddled up next to the big screen that was showcasing the teams that were performing in that arena. We stood under a giant palm tree to try and relieve our skin from the burning sun. We were already sweaty from competing just an hour or so prior, then walking around the ESPN center in 90-degree Orlando, Florida weather was not helping.

My coaches brought us together to discuss our new and final score. I stood there with my hands on my hips, shaking as I was coming down from my adrenaline high and from the nerves of what was to be said.

Our coaches told the team that we had lost two points from our day one score. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but losing even .1 of a point from our score could cost us the entire win.

“Wipe the sad looks off your face and continue being proud of the routines you put out this weekend. No matter the outcome, you still have something to be proud of,” Coach Evan said, trying his best to keep our hearts feeling light so we would not dread walking into awards.

But it didn’t work. We all walked into the awards arena, knowing we had lost the Cheerleading Worlds. We knew that our biggest rival would get a kick out of us losing after Orange had won the previous season.

The announcers of the award ceremony brought out all four teams onto the floor and allowed us to choose where we would stand as the final placements were announced.

The team everyone thought would win, Stars, went and stood around the Cheerleading Worlds logo. Our competitors pushed Orange to the side.

After they announced the 4th, then 3rd place team, us and Stars were left on the mat.

This was it. The Orange Rays were about to be devastated. We had tears in our eyes, and our hearts ached; we held each other.

“Stars! Stars! Stars! Stars!” The crowd was going insane, cheering for the team everyone knew would win.

The announcer continued with placements, not announcing 2nd place, just going straight to 1st.

“The 2022 World Championship… is going home with…” the suspense continued to rise, “The Stingray All-Stars Orange!”

Orange, our fans, family, friends, and coaches didn’t even let the announcer finish.

We began jumping and screaming, rolling on the ground, and crying. So many of our dreams had just come true.

Confetti shot from the ceiling, covering me, a world champion, in gold. We took a team picture, then were led to the championship club to get sized for championship rings.

That’s when I saw my mom, my biggest supporter and number one fan.

Her green eyes were glazed over with tears. She took me into the tightest, most loving hug. We held each other, hearts filled with so many emotions that words were not strong enough to express them.

My team and I got sized for our rings, put on our world championship medals, and took thousands of pictures. We all had mascara under our eyes and red lipstick smeared down our chins. The sweat across our hairlines glistened in the sun.

I called all my family and friends and showed them my medal, and they cried, too.

I stood there, admiring my teammates. The smiles, the tears, the laughing, the hugging, and the pictures with the big trophy, made my heart ache.

This was a bittersweet moment. That season, we accomplished many great things, like winning the three biggest competitions and overcoming many obstacles. I gained 37 sisters while proving everyone who ever doubted me wrong.

But then, everything was over, and it was time to prepare for tryouts for the upcoming season.