Cheer Your Heart Out
I started cheerleading at university with UCLU Lightning and I've never looked back.
It's an incredibly exhilarating and physically demanding team sport and I couldn't imagine my life without it.
Now I cheer with Blackout Evolution and I couldn't be happier!
Having spent the evening before packing my kit and watching our practice video over and over again, I was as ready as I'd ever be!
The very fact that it was at the Olympic Park made me nervous - we were competing where sporting legends had competed, but it also highlighted how much and how quickly cheerleading has grown in the UK, and I felt happy to be a part of the sport as it continues to flourish!
Walking to our meeting point (which was so hard to find - the Park is mahooosive!), I was a bag of nerves, but once I was with my team mates I calmed down considerably knowing that we were in this together!
When you walk into the venue, you are immersed into a euphoric atmosphere of passion and performance... and lots and lots of glitter!
Arriving a few hours before we were due to compete, we had time to explore and of course, watch other teams!
After doing our hair and makeup, it wasn't long before we were ushered into the warm up room where my nerves quickly took hold again, but this was quickly diffused by posing for loads of team photos and getting our cheer snaps (little postcards of joy from another team member).
Finally, it was time to hit the mat and I swear for those 2.5 minutes, the whole world stops moving around you and you quite literally, cheer your heart out.
As we hit our final move, I was exhausted but also indescribably happy - we did it!
Now we could relax until the results were out!
I took this time to do a little shopping...
Cheerleading competitions are awash with bows - bow keyrings, hair bows to match every uniform you could ever imagine, bows for your mum, dad, cat and dog!
I treated myself to a mini bow keyring to remind me of Blackout's first team competition (and I liked that it was in Iron Man colours!).
I also caught up with my old UCLU Lightning friends who, since leaving university have all continued their cheering endeavours with other amazing teams.
What I love most about the cheerleading world is the sportsmanship - your direct competitors will cheer for you and wish you luck, there is a great sense of unity within the sport.
Finally, it was awards time! All the teams gathered on the mat for a little boogie...
Before settling down as the results were called out in reverse chronological order... Ahhh!!!
Our coaches had reminded us time and time again that it was our first competition and it was purely for us to experience competing together as a team - "Treat it as another practice session", they kept saying but... it'd be nice to win, right?
As they called out our category, we waited in anticipation...
"First place goes to... Blackout Evolution Assassins!".
We whooped and hugged as they passed us our trophies.
Ecstatic that our hard work had paid off and excited for more cheer competitions to come, we went home knackered but with full, happy hearts!
Here's to a great Blackout Evolution cheer year!