Canadian Cheer Nationals.

I am so proud of my team! We had our best performance of the year and hit zero at Nationals. I am really going to miss so many of my friends next year.

He said

Emelia’s entire season of Cheer all down to this, the biggest competition weekend of the season. Up until this point the team had been working through adversity and not getting the results they wanted. There had been injuries, people left the team due to more serious injuries, and multiple major changes to the routine. And in the last few weeks they even lost a coach. To say this season has been an exercise in dealing with constant adversity would be an understatement. We’re so proud of how the girls soldiered on and especially Emelia has she really matured in how she approached those obstacles and more importantly not getting the results she felt they deserved.

The lead up to this week, we could sense that Emelia was getting more and more nervous. She knew that with a lot of her teammates ‘aging-out’ at the end of the season, and others going off to university, this was the end of the road competition for at least ten of the girls. On top of wanting to have their best result ever at the biggest competition, Emelia was also wanting her friends leaving the team to have their best experience of the season too. Suffice it to say, it mean a lot to a lot of the team.

Thankfully Emma, Emelia’s Cheer bestie that had to leave the team because of a back injury at the start of the season, was able to come down with us for the weekend and be there to cheer on Emelia and of course her former teammates. She is such a good person for Emelia as it brings Emelia’s nerves down and she has someone who knows intimately what the cheer comp is all about. Plus, as an added bonus she can explain to Danielle & I just what the heck is going on. Since, Emma was coming we decided to make a full weekend of it heading down Friday night after everyone’s days were wrapped up.

Saturday they didn’t compete until 8:00pm so it gave me time to go for a bike ride on the Niagara River Parkway, and then for all of us to do some shopping at the outlet mall before getting into cheer mode. Their performance on Saturday night was hands down the best routine they have done the entire season! And the best news was they Hit Zero (meaning no deductions for mistakes). The smiles on the girls faces after the performance was worth all the disappointment we saw them go through all season long. We went for dinner after to celebrate the great first day (and to watch the remainder of the Leafs game).

Today’s performance time was a lot earlier (3:00pm) but it still gave me time to go for a bike ride before we got checked out and over to the convention centre. With a Hit Zero performance on the books the stress and pressure was definitely there today for the girls we could tell. When it came time to go, aside from one, 1 point deduction, they threw down another great performance. They left it all on the floor and I would say had their best 2 performances of the season when it mattered most. While placing 4th overall was not the result they wanted, the reality is they were up against some very solid programs. The team that took 2nd had won every other competition that CheerStrike was at this season.

So while, there was a lot if disappointment for the girls, especially as it is the last time a lot of them will ever compete together, but we are so incredibly proud of what they were able to accomplish this year and how they came together when it mattered most. And with Emelia specifically, I am proud of how she learned this season to work through the emotions very differently. So as much as she doesn’t have the hardware that she would like to proudly hang up, but what she did gain goes well beyond the things she could show off.

She said

This weekend is the one the girls realistically are training all season for. This year has been a hard one, the girls had so much thrown at them, they lost some of their close teammates (for Emelia especially her bestie Emma), they did not get replacement athletes for most and add in other health and injuries throughout the year meant they had to overcome more than most teams. The girls never gave up, even when they thought everyone else had they never stopped working hard. This season they got better every competition and even with some medal finishes the girls wanted to really kill it at Nationals.

The week leading in for all of us has been so busy. Emelia continued training for rugby between cheer training as well as work and tests at school. She was burning it at both ends. I am always blown away what she manages and thrives at. Rugby is really ramping up as they get closer to their first game of the season. She is loving everything about it again this season, we cannot wait until seeing her in her first game.

With everything going on the last few weeks Nationals really snuck up on us, the girls had been so focused at cheer and before we knew it we were at the big weekend. Emelia and Emma had stayed super close since Emma had to leave cheer, we always promised Emma she could come to any of the competitions with us as our guest, so we were so thrilled that she was able to come with us this weekend. Once Emma arrived on Friday we packed the truck and were on our way to Niagara Falls. The girls settled in for the night, we had a great night letting the girls catch up in the hotel and Emelia chatted Emma’s ear off about everything that is going on in her life. I love their friendship and how even when they cannot see each other all the time they still click right back into the same groove. We finally all crashed out after midnight.

The next morning the girls and I had a lazy start of the day while John went for his ride. Once we were all settled back in we decided with so much time to kill and the weather not being the greatest for Niagara Falls touristy stuff we would head to the outlets. We found some fun deals and then headed back for a late lunch and then Emelia started getting ready for day one. We got to the convention centre and the girls were ready to hit the floor. Apparently they had a chat before the hitting the floor, about putting it all out there, to put in every ounce of hype they could, to do it for each other and to leave nothing left. And man did that talk work. The girls did a routine like we have never seen before, it was crazy high energy, crisp and they hit zero on day one! The crowd were loosing their mind and the girls came off the floor the happiest we had ever seen them. Emelia jumped at us and said she was so happy. It was a day I know she will never forget!

With day one in the books the girls were feeling great, they knew no matter the results they had put it all out there, they pushed themselves hard and were ready to take on day two. This morning Emelia got up and was ready to get to the venue to take on day two. The girls were all happy, loose and excited to take the floor again. Day two they had one minor dedication and another incredible run! They were in incredibly difficult competition so they knew it was going to be really hard to come out on top. They were aiming and hoping for third, sadly there were just short of that goal and ended up 4th. I know they felt is wasn’t a win but as parents seeing how far they had come today was a big win!!!!

So we wrapped up another cheer season, they will begin assessments soon for next season and then Emelia will join Cheer Strike for their 13th season, her 5th and last year as a competitive cheerleader. It will be a bitter sweet year. Being parents of an athlete is exhausting and expensive but honestly we wouldn’t change all of it for the moments we have had over weekends like this. Sports has given Emelia so much, it has brought her out of very dark places and given her a drive to excel, it has taught her to handle adversity and delayed gratification. And most importantly it has given her a sense of belonging. We are so proud of you boo!!!

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