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I'm a college athlete?

You heard it here folks.

This quiet, book reading, ballet loving, boyband obsessed old soul is a college athlete.

What does that entail you ask?

Well football has always been my passion, and you see,

Just kidding.

I go to the college in my hometown, UND. I always knew I would go there, and didn't really think much of it. I knew they had a dance team, but I always thought they were waaaay too good for me to try out. My high school didn't have a dance team, so I have no experience in doing school team dance. Which, from what I've learned is very closely related to cheer, and very performance based, rather than taking focus in technique and tradition. (No ballet here!) This is very different from the mix of performance ballet and competitive dance that I've done before. There we focused on technique, telling a story, it was something I fell in love with.

But the idea always interested me. I've been lucky enough to co-choreograph routines for the high school dance team in Mandan, giving me a basic knowledge in the field. The team based setting was really admirable. I never dismissed the idea, but I didn't think it would ever end up happening.

I think I remember wanting to give it a shot my freshman year, but missed the deadline by a week. I let that idea go and continued with school and taking dance classes at my old studio here and there. That was, until a year later when my boss and close friend who was co-captain of the UND dance team when she was in college, encouraged me to do it. She told me it would be a really good experience for me, and I would meet people I would know forever. That sounded great to me. And when I thought of it, I could do with some school spirit.

I loved high school. It was really a home to me. The people, the teachers, my friends. Just being around people I would see everyday was so fun to me. Going to school every day was enjoyable, and I didn't hate any of it. Towards the end of my senior year I really started to get involved with school events like going to state hockey, (we won. #3peat) and even prom with some of my best friends. It was probably the best time in my life at that point.

I didn't feel the same at UND.

It wasn't a home yet. It felt like this place I had to go to take class and then leave. Which is exactly like high school, but high school was so much more personal. It's easy to get lost in the crowd of thousands of people attending UND. I felt disconnected from school. It showed in my school work, and mental health.

That's why I tried out for the team.

I was SO excited. I had planned to have help filming my tryout video, she was going to set up her tripod, I would nail all my turns, and it would be perfect.

Then I had to go into quarantine.

Now let me tell you, filming a tryout video in your living room/back deck, during the midst of a pandemic, while in quarantine, not knowing if you have covid-19 can be pretty challenging. I think I broke down and cried more than a few times! At this point I hadn't danced in a few months, and hadn't done some of the required try out material for a while. This including pirouettes, a la secondes, calypsos, the school song, etc. My mom will tell you we filmed this COUNTLESS times until I thought it was perfect. It took two days to film this five minute video. After that, I had to do a one-on-one zoom interview with various coaches and talk about my previous dance experience. Then came the waiting game.

The day the teams came out I woke up with the worst neck pain I have ever felt. Like think you're paralyzed pain. This happens once in a while, I just can't move my head and bend over. (I should probably get that checked out, no?) But checking facebook had adrenaline pumping all through me.

I ended up making the team!

I want you to imagine me, laying in bed unable to move, screaming and awkwardly doing. this weird combination of ants in my pants and the happy dance because I did it. It was a sight to see.

Now came the hard work.

I was a little worried I wouldn't be as good as I was when I competed in high school. From dancing 4 hours a night to only dancing a couple hours a week if any, can really change things. That and a global pandemic. I think you get it.

Anyway, flash forward to three nights ago, September 15th. Our first practice.

It felt so weird getting ready. Getting the bobby pins from the back of the cabinet. Slicking my hair into a bun. I had forgotten that this used to be my daily routine. All black attire, just like I used to. Driving there gave me feelings I would have when I would drive to performances in high school. That's how nervous I was. I walked into the gym. I got lost so I was one of the last ones there, but I ended up in the right place.

It was the best feeling getting back into it.

I didn't miss a step. We worked on our sidelines, which I quickly learned are little mini routines that we do on the field/floor during games. (studio raised dancer here!) I got to use pom poms for the first time, and we turned and turned and turned. Best day ever. I am so so happy I tried out. I think this is going to be a really cool opportunity for me. (btw I'm still very sore)

This is my message to you. If there's an opportunity, or event, or activity that sparks your interest, don't ignore it. Even if it is something you wouldn't even think of doing before. Give it a shot. It may be your next adventure. It worked for me!

Sincerely, a college athlete. (me)

ps, here's another picture of Oscar and I to make your Friday. What are you doing this weekend? I wanna know!

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