My Experience at High School Cheerleading Nationals

How I learned that there are more important things than a gold medal


Photo by BJ Brisbois

Cheerleaders practicing in the grass outside of the Wide World of Sports arena

Emma Brisbois, Birdfeed Editor

On February 8, 2018, Skutt Catholic’s entire cheerleading team, including me, traveled all the way to Orlando, Florida for the high school nationals competition. I was absolutely buzzing with excitement at the opportunity. But, sadly, sometimes expectations just don’t meet reality.

Countless hours of time, effort, and battling through endless injuries were put into the preparation for our final performances. Having an extensive cheer history beginning at the age of seven, I was more than ecstatic to hit the nationals floor. But something about this competition means so much more to me than just going out of town to do the routine again.

In all of the years I’d been competing with Skutt Catholic, our team had always done surprisingly well at nationals, usually placing in the top ten. This year, we sadly missed the mark to move to finals in both routines placing 13 and 16 place.

My heart dropped like a rock into my stomach as the announcements ended and “Skutt Catholic High School” wasn’t called. I felt a sudden rush of emotion, knowing that the season was basically finished as of that moment. There were no more second chances. It was all over.

I felt a rush of anger and disappointment. I was let down and by the tears that streamed down my teammates’ faces, I could tell they did to.

To some, this might seem like a dramatic interpretation of something barely worthy of a second thought, but I can tell you that this feeling is unlike any other. Cheer doesn’t have a season, we work around the clock, practically every day to make sure games are cheered for, pep rallies run smoothly, and that our routine is ready for competition. And when we barely miss the mark, it seemed like a 500 pound boulder was dropped on my chest.

I’ve always been a firm believer in the statement, “If you put good in, you’ll get good out.” This year, I realized that it was all true. In the spur of that moment, I looked at all of my crying teammates and realized that what happened was the good I needed to get out.

In my epiphany, it dawned on me that I had 11 of my sisters standing beside me through good times and through bad. No matter how we did, we were all going to wake up the next morning and talk about our lives, share embarrassing stories, and still enjoy being together.

While a first place trophy would’ve been icing on the cake, I don’t feel resentment towards the way the season ended. I know now that it didn’t matter how we placed. I know that I put good in and I definitely got good out. At the end of the day, I know I have a second family who will support me no matter what and stand by me through it all.


Emma Brisbois

Emma joined The Flightline in August of 2017. She is a senior this year, involved in cheerleading and show choir. Outside of school, she enjoys going to concerts, playing the piano and hanging out with friends. You can email her at [email protected]