Friday, December 11, 2009

Lady Panthers!

It's Texas, so we have Drill Teams. I know other states have drill teams too - but not the way Texans do it! Football is King, and Drill Teams are the female part of that equation.

When Alyssa first thought about going to High School, joining the drill team was huge on her Wish List. She watched football games and half-time activities. She knew that her years of dance and competitive cheer would help her if she ever were to try out for the drill/dance team.

So, last month, she came home with the forms. Dance/drill team tryouts would take place over three days after school. They would be taught a routine, work on their splits and their turns, and learn all they could for the 3rd day - the actual tryout.

Alyssa's P.E. coach is also the Dance/Drill Team Coordinator. Early on, she told Alyssa that she had a good shot at making the team.  She would let the girls who were interested in trying out go to another room and practice their splits and turns.  She and four or five of her friends were excited about trying out. Coach MacDonald emailed me telling me more about dance team, how she liked Alyssa, and how she hoped she would do well. She felt that Alyssa needed a core group of well-supervised young ladies as friends, and thought the drill team could provide that.

So off too Target we go to buy the obligatory black dance pants and tank top.

Monday, Day One, rolls around and Alyssa and her friends run off to the gym. They are all given the routine and allowed to practice. They're put in groups of about 15 each. The officers of the drill team then are supposed to pick the top 4 in each group. (There were 55 trying out.) Alyssa was one of those 4 from her group of 15. Having been in Competitive Cheer certainly helped her with "Showmanship." She could smile, and look happy, regardless of how she really felt about her performance. This really made her feel great, being pulled out from the group.

Then a few new groups comprised from the top four of each original group performed together while the others watched. Then from each of THESE groups, the top four were chosen. In the end, Alyssa was one of the Top Four chosen from the entire group. That was pretty exciting. She said she couldn't really even look at the other girls, it made her nervous. They weren't all that thrilled for her. Still she pressed on.

After Day 1, Parent Meeting time. Discussion of costs and expectations. Cost is about $700 with the possibility of an additional $1000 if they take a trip to Los Angeles or somewhere like that. The team has done this in the past. When the parents winced at the money, the coach reminded them that nearby schools charge as much as $1500 and there are several extra expenses and trips along the way.

So Day 2 goes by well. No singling out, just performing and performing.

Day 3 - we have to get a Sports Physical and then she makes it back just in time for try outs. Alyssa doesn't know the other three girls in her group. But they head on into the private audition room with the judges. Alyssa asked the Coach to make faces at her so she keeps smiling. She thought it would help her with her nerves. She is good in groups, but when she is performing by herself or with small groups, she gets nervous.
Her kicks are high, her splits are low, but when she does her turn she loses her balance. The coach asks, "Alyssa, would you like to try that again." "Yes, ma'am."  She can't even remember if she did it right the second time, but she thinks she did not. It didn't matter, she didn't lose her balance, and even if she turned wrong, she planted her feet and didn't budge.

So that turn issue worried her all night.

The next day at school, she and her friends went to look at the list of who made it. Her friend covered up her name. Alyssa pushed her hands away and sure enough! There was her name on the list. She made the Lady Panther Dance Team!

Next semester, her schedule will have to change around so that all new Lady Panthers - called Lady Cubs - are together in 2nd period. This will be fun!

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