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2, 4, 6, 8...Time to get something straight

By Bethany Cobbs
On April 21, 2015

 

Photo by Taylor Eubanks 

Recently the cheer and dance teams traveled to Daytona Beach, FL for their national competition. The dance team came in fourth place and the cheer team finished in 12th.

Naturally, every team that goes to nationals wants to walk away national champions and, although that was not the case for either team this year, both teams are proud of how they performed and represented Ottawa University.

This experience is something that must be earned early in the cheer and dance season. The National Cheerleading Association (NCA) and the National Dance Alliance (NDA) hold camps throughout the summer.

At cheer and dance camp teams learn new skills and material to take home as well as competing in small competitions.

These competitions are where they earn bids to nationals. Each bid (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) is a different level of payment. A Gold bid is a full paid bid, and Silver and Bronze bids are partial bids.

When the athletes get home from camp the work begins. At OU the cheerleaders and dancers are working on skills to perform at games, learning routines to perform at games, working out so they can perform, while also trying to perfect the skills they have so they can move on to harder ones.

Cheerleading and dance are “all hands on deck” sports. By that I mean that everyone needs to be on the same page in order for things to work. They all need each other to succeed. And yes, they are sports.

Throughout the season things change, including the team itself. At cheer nationals the maximum number of people allowed to perform is twenty people, so we hold team auditions to craft the national’s team.

The competitive cheer and dance program at OU was started in 2011 and has made great progressions each year since then.

Routines for both teams are two minutes of contestant movement jam packed with choreography, skills and tricks that the athletes spend countless hours perfecting.

Dance routines must consist of a set amount of time of three consecutive styles: jazz, hip-hop, and pom. Cheerleading routines involved stunts, basket tosses, tumbling, and dance, as well as a 45 second game-day style cheer.

Both teams know and understand that going to nationals is a huge privilege that starts in August when they get a bid. They don’t get excited to go to Florida just to be in Florida; they are excited to be in Florida because they are competing in nationals for their university.

Competing on a national level for your sport is big deal and that was their number one priority when they left for Daytona.

NCA and NDA College Nationals are a very exciting and rewarding time for thousands of cheerleaders and dancers across the country. 

Cheerleading and dance are very different from other sports on campus. Our season starts in August and goes through April. We have workouts and practices over the summer to ensure that we are ready for camp in August to try and receive a good bid.

Their schedules are full and tight and ending their season in Florida is a nice treat for having a season that goes the entire school year.

As mentioned earlier, we understand that it is a privilege to go to nationals. It is an even bigger privilege to have the immense support from our school that we do. But in order to continue receiving that support we constantly have to prove ourselves and show the school that we deserve to represent OU and compete for a national championship.

First we have to prove it at camp to the Camp Staff, then on the sidelines and at half time to our faculty and coaches, then once again at nationals proving to the judges and our school that we are worthy of the title.

Another aspect of cheer and dance that makes us different from other OU athletes is that we get two minutes to prove ourselves.

We put countless hours into practices, workouts, getting ready for games and performances to do something for two minutes. And not only it is two minutes but we only get those two minutes a few times a year at homecoming, competitions before nationals, and then at nationals.

It is a different sport than football or volleyball because those teams travel weekly and their games are one to three hours long against one other team. As cheerleaders and dancers we have a short amount of time to make a memorable impression that stands out against anywhere from four to sixteen teams.

I know it looks like we are on vacation and having fun but we are at the National Championship for our sport representing and trying to win a title for our school. The fun can take place after that has happened or after we have left everything we have on the floor.

This year we did not get the results we would have liked the cheer and dance team both gave solid performances to end our seasons. Not only that but the ten seniors ending their cheer and dance careers gave outstanding performances, ones that they were proud to end on.

Our school is made up of 600 students, and 70% of those students are athletes. We are all working hard on the field, on the mat, or on the court and in the classroom so we can make our school a dominant force in the KCAC and eventually in the nation. We are all also pushing through injuries, personal issues, and mental blocks.

We have to build each other up and keep Braves Nation a strong unit that can keep growing. Taking interest and asking questions to better understand a different sport is what we should be doing. Asking questioning a team or putting them down will take us nowhere.

 

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