I tossed and turned in my bed as I anxiously waited for my clock to slowly, but surely change to 10:30 p.m. I repeatedly refreshed the drill team home page to see if the lists had been posted. I became anxious as I ran through all the different possible outcomes. I wanted to be confident in how my tryout went, but not too confident that I would be shocked if I got cut. Finally the lists were there. I scrolled up and down the page looking for my name. I had been cut.
My stomach flipped and my face grew hot, sending chills down my arms as I was unable to swallow and tell my mom the news. Why? How? I was in shock. As the tears streamed down my cheeks and dripped onto my phone screen, my messages were flooding with texts reading “I would give up my spot for you,” “Don’t let this define you, you are more than drill team” and “Ellie, you do not deserve this.” But somehow none of those things comforted me.
I danced since I was two years old and was on a competitive team from fourth grade on, quitting basketball and soccer to focus on it more. All the time, effort and money. After spending the majority of my childhood in the basement of Dancerz Unlimited in the Corinth shopping center, learning dance after dance year after year, it was over.
At first I didn’t understand, but I had to. I had no other choice but to move on. By no means was that easy, I cried for several days just thinking about not having drill team be apart of my life. I had to understand that it was a blessing in disguise. Now I would be able to be involved in Harbinger and gain skills that I would not get otherwise. I could dedicate time toward student council and the international business organization DECA. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade those two years as a Lancer Dancer for anything. Even though I got cut, I have found other activities to fill that missing piece of me, recreating the puzzle.
I have made so many connections outside of the basement drill team room that I never dreamed of discovering. I took 21st Century Journalism my sophomore year, not really sure if I would like it. After being cut from dance, I knew instantly journalism was something I had to take part in. I quickly made 84 new friends that I wouldn’t have otherwise. At a large high school like East, there are so many opportunities to become involved. I realized that I didn’t have to be confined to just one activity. I could become involved in so many groups.
Without being cut, I wouldn’t have the ability to put forth time and effort into planning each school dance being a committee chair— whether it’s homecoming, morp or WPA. I now enjoy a nice, warm doughnut each Wednesday morning at 7 a.m., instead of having to put on the uncomfortable tight uniform for a basketball game day. By being Senior Class Vice President, I can dedicate my time toward making sure that people will come to activities by having free Chik-Fil-A and planning class reunions in the future.
Drill team takes up a full year long elective, which means that I would not have been able to participate in Marketing One or DECA. Being apart of DECA has taught me what it will be like to be in the real world as a businesswoman. I can now bring skills like the four R’s of Marketing and knowledge of successful media types to college and my future careers. I have learned that being confident is the majority of getting a job. This international organization is one that not everyone gets the chance to participate in.
My schedule is now still just as full as it was with drill team. I am able to dress the theme each football game and not have to wear out my arms doing cadences during the entire game. I am able to have free time after school instead of heading straight to dance practice for four hours, constantly searching for any excuse to skip.
I am a true testament to thriving after losing something that I once cared so much for. I still care about dance. I sit in the audience of the Lancer Dancer Spring Show and support them just as I did before. After being cut, I have realized how many great talents I have other than dance.
I have an appreciation for the Lancer Dancers who made it instead of me. All of those girls deserved to make the team, and proved their worth throughout the year. I smile proudly as I watch the girls walk out as one. There are times that I wish I was up there with them, but I know now that I have other things to do besides drill team.