So if you follow any of my social media accounts, you know that this past weekend was the National Cheerleading Championships in Niagara Falls (I posted lots this weekend!). This competition officially marks the end of the 2016-17 cheer season - and I couldn't let it pass without somekind of a post :-)
This year has been a little crazy - Ally was on 2 cheer teams - a youth level 3 team where she was a base (SuperYumberry) and a senior level 2 team where she was a flyer (Freeze). For anyone who is wondering, you hold your breath during every performance whether they are flying or catching the flyer. Both are equally as nerve wrecking! And there were challenges that munchkin had to deal with - a mental block with her tumbling, learning to be a flyer, a concussion and moments where fatigue took over. Watching her deal with it all was tough - but I discovered what a tough kid I'm raising. And I discovered what an amazing gym we are part of - Black Widow Cheer Gym helped her through each of these. They were patient with her block, they pushed her to get over her fear of flying, they made her sit out until she was truly ready to come back after her concussion and they reminded her how great she is whenever they saw her struggling. They also cheered her on loudly every time she needed it. I know...I'm gushing again, but the coaches at this gym always make me want to gush. They are awesome!
Now on to Nationals - 3 jam-packed days of cheer teams from all over Canada vying to become National champs. For us cheer parents, it means 12 hour days at the venues listening to cheer music in two and a half minute counts; it means heading to the swag area to load up on Nationals gear; it means lots of hairspray and blue glittery eye shadow; it means pep talks, hugs and lots of pictures; it means holding our breaths while they are on the mat; it means screaming like mad when they hit.
For the athletes, it means taking everything they have worked hard for over the past year and putting it out there, and leaving their hearts on the mat after every performance (each team performs twice at Nationals). It is a truly crazy experience to be a part of.
For Ally, both runs on day one were not ideal. They worked really hard, but both teams had bobbles, and it wasn't what they were hoping for. We spent some time Saturday night chatting about what to do day 2, and then the girls went for a swim. They needed to just chill out and get ready for Sunday - so that's what we did.
Day 2 was magical. I cried after both of Ally's teams were done. I hugged every girl I could find. I jumped up and down on the sidelines, and I lost my voice from screaming. The first team up was SuperYumberry - and they hit better than they had all year. They had a zero deduction run, and came off the mat with their heads held high (well they actually bounced off as 9-12 year olds do). They ended up placing 6th in a division that was crazy hard! And this one was extra emotional for me - it was Ally's last time at Nationals as a youth athlete...so yes I cried.
Then came Freeze - oy vey! This team went through lots of ups and downs this year, and we all really wanted them to do well. The girls were fine - the coach and us team moms were a wreck LOL. They hit the floor - and they nailed it. Like really nailed it! A zero deduction run for them too - and yes I cried when they were done. This team came 2nd - was an amazing way to end their season. Needless to say this mama was drained after Sunday - but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Now comes the gushing again - I started this post out with saying how amazing BWCG was, and how awesome the coaches were. I can't tell you enough how over the moon I am that a friend convinced me to bring Ally there to try it three years ago. We have found a place where she feels supported, challenged, pushed and loved. I've watched her grow as an athlete, and this year she started helping out with the little ones - and I watched her take everything she has learned from her coaches and impart them on the littles. It made for some proud mama moments.
And don't get me started on how amazing the families are. Parents who are as dedicated and as crazy as I am - and who I now consider part of my circle. And to the athletes - know that I'm always a cheer mom you can find if you need anything. #BWFamily is a real thing!
Now on to getting ready for next season - but first, we get to take Ally to watch Worlds in Orlando so we can cheer on the two BWCG teams who are there competing. Truth be told, I'm as excited as she is to watch these girls hit the mat at the Worlds stage. Bring it on!!