Two years ago, I didn't even know that there was a Worlds competition for cheerleading - heck I had no idea just how big the cheer world actually was! Now here I am...a couple of years older and way wiser when it comes to cheer LOL. And this year we were able to arrange our spring vacation schedule so that we could watch the two teams that got invited to go to Worlds from Black Widow Cheer Gym (aka Ally's second home). Truthfully, I think I was just as excited to go as Ally was!
I heard from others that it was a crazy thing to experience; that the energy was insane, and the atmosphere was like no other. Believe me when I tell you that those statements are absolutely the truth. Thousands of cheerleaders, coaches and their supporters from around the world packed into the ESPN Sports Centre at Disney - awesome!
We got to the venue early, and headed to the tent where the Black Widow teams would perform. As we walked in, we caught a glimpse of the coaches and the teams - watching Ally's face light up as she spotted them is a image that I will keep forever. It was a mixture of pure joy, awe and excitement - and was the exact reason we even contemplated arranging things so we could be there.
We watched teams from Japan, Australia, South Africa, Sweden - literally from all over the world. It was pretty cool to think that these were the best of the best from these countries.
The came the time for BW Love to perform. As I watched this team take the stage, I was a nervous wreck and was teary eyed - and I didn't even have an athlete on the stage! I honestly can't imagine sitting there as a parent watching their child compete on that stage - I'm not sure my heart would be able to handle it. They performed well, and you could feel the BDub pride as they left the stage.
Next up was BW Ice. This team holds a special place in my heart - they truly are a group of girls I would define as role models. They love their sport, they are committed and hard working, and they never bat an eye when the younger girls want to "help". This was their first time at worlds - they didn't have the run they were hoping for, but heart swelled with pride as I watched them go through their routine. It was a beautiful thing to experience.
We decided to hang out for the rest of the day (awards were around 3:30 and we figured we'd hang out to see where the teams placed) - we watched other teams, Ally tumbled on the ESPN field and, of course, we picked up some swag.
Turns out staying allowed us to witness something even more incredible - we were there to watch Love move on to the Worlds Finals. They came top three in Canada - no small feat. For me, I got to watch the parents go beserk when it was announced - and I got to watch Ally cry tears of joy and pride. Absolutely an experience we will not soon forget.
For me, I'm not sure how else to describe the experience. I've used words like amazing, incredible, proud, excited...all accurate but don't go far enough. I think one of the things that warmed my heart the most (other than watching BW teams do their thing), was how much the coaches and the girls thanked us for coming to watch them. They seemed truly grateful that we were there, and it made the essence of BWFamily even more real. That day, those girls, Ally's reactions - all are things that will be ingrained in my memory for years to come. Pretty sure the only thing that will top this is when I'm back in Orlando to watch Ally compete - I have no doubt one day we will capture the picture below with Ally in her uniform, ready to take on the World :-)