Both the performance and the memories were the epitome of the word blur.
Clear vision or not, nothing was going to stop FHMS (Forest Hills Middle School) from getting last. The end of the season was coming to a screeching halt.
Where had the time gone?
The Saturday morning of our second to last cheer competition was among us; it would hurt tremendously if such a successful year ended on a horrible note.
Shortly after our team started to arrive at Kalamazoo Central High School, the location of the competition, the inevitable locker room search began. Walking from hallway to hallway, locker room to locker room, we finally found the right one. That is when reality hit me in the back of the head; the piece of paper on the door to our locker room was distorted.
With high standards and a lot of confidence in my mind, it was a perfect time for a retinal migraine to strike and tear me down. Retinal migraines make a simple task hard. And the real cause for retinal migraines is unclear, but so is my vision.
During our pre-competition “pep talk,” I could feel the confidence and standards in my mind crumbling. I was bound to mess up in front of the judges; I was going to be the reason FHMS placed so low.
Panicking, I tried to keep calm. It wasn’t the first time this has happened, but this competition meant more to me. We wanted—needed—to win. One minute, my team is practicing, and the next, we are on deck.
A sudden feeling of nausea washed over me as we sprinted onto the mat. The beam of bright lights from the gymnasium only made the sea of parents and the judge’s table in the front more colorful and hard to see, but I continued on as if nothing was happening.
From there, I have no recollection of round 3 or breakfast, only of awards. Before our team circled up, held hands, and folded our bodies towards the mat, rumor had it that our coaches did not look too happy, implying our score was low. The pressure, anxiety, and migraine intensified as the placements were being announced.
Midway through the event, we were all an emotional wreck. Some, like me, were more nervous than others—the reassurance of being in the top five kept our fragile confidence from shattering. Fourth and third place was announced, this left two teams for the top spot.
Crying, screaming, and a little confused, FHMS had won with a total of 390.38 points. After feeling discouraged and close to quitting because of the blur, it had rewarded me and my team first place.
Amid our victory meltdowns, we received our first place trophy and blue ribbons while “Party In the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus played. Not only had we beaten the home team Kalamazoo Central by a landslide, but I was not the reason FHMS placed so low.