On the final warm up mat, 10 minutes before they were set to compete in preliminaries one of our athletes (Destiny) suffered an injury on the mat while warming up her tumbling. It was completely a freak accident, especially since she is one of our best tumblers. Upon review from the competition trainers she was not cleared to perform. As you can imagine, our team was heartbroken. We worked so hard, and traveled so far, and now their chances of competing on equal standing with the rest of the nation (being short 1 stunt and 1/2 a pyramid) were shattered. There were defiantly tears, and concern as well for our injured teammate. Many of the other teams from across the country also shared in our heartbreak and offered many kind words of encouragement in the spirit of good sportsmanship. With minutes to gather our composure, we pulled together as a team and made the decision to go on anyway. We had to mark a few of our stunts and water down our ending pyramid to make it legal with 11 athletes. Of course formations were off and we all knew that at this point the goal was not to pass out of prelims, but to hold our heads high and follow through for our our school and ourselves. Culver City took the floor unified as a team and committed to doing what we came to do - "hit our routine."
I am proud to say that our girls did just that... They hit their routine to the best of their ability and went from being devastated minutes before to full smiles on stage. Destiny sat with me screaming words of encouragement for her teammates as they powered through their routine. It was one of my proudest moments in the 22 years I've been coaching. They had dedication, heart, and team unity on and off the floor. I don't think many teams would have been able to go out there and pull off that kind of performance after suffering such a loss. They left the floor proud of their accomplishment and inspired by their experience.
Thank you to all of our cheer and dance families for your support and well wishes. This experience (this was the first time Culver has attended Nationals in 7 years) was inspirational to say the least, and such a wonderful experience for all that attended. Next year we are making some important changes to the program to specifically address some of what we encountered at Nationals and we will be sharing all of this information with interested returners at the cheer meeting tomorrow 3:30-4:30. I look forward to finishing basketball season with ALL of our cheerleaders and dancers! The last season game is tomorrow and we will update you about playoffs.
Thank you again for a great season!