Published on January 29th, 2014 | by Kim Conley
All Access with Allison: The Calm Before the Storm
That’s right, Nationals is over and it’s time for a break! The countless hours of practice and workouts, the many aches and pains and all of the mental preparation readied myself and the rest of Alabama’s All Girl team for a challenge we have never faced before: UCA College Nationals. How did we do? Well, drumroll please…we got SECOND! For our first year at Nationals, we were thrilled with the results and the bid that will allow us the opportunity to return next year!
My team’s trip to Orlando was one that I will never forget. Our experience definitely went along with the Disney tagline; we really felt like we were at “the happiest place on earth.” Walking around the world in Epcot and riding some of my favorite rides like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster took my mind off of the competition and made me feel like a kid again. But the feeling did not last long because we knew we had to get focused for competition. We practiced several times prior to competing and I was amazed at the support we received! Parents, friends and other teams would gather around as we practiced on our mats in the parking lot outside of the resort. The strength trainers that led our workouts even made the ten hour drive to Orlando to cheer us on! The clapping and yelling pumped us up and helped us to have very successful practices.
When it was time to walk out onto the mat for preliminaries, I was surprisingly calm. I admit that there were many nights where I had trouble sleeping because I was so excited about our routine and competing. But as I walked onto the floor listening to all of the screams and cheers, I felt at ease. I believed in myself, I believed in my team and I knew what we were capable of doing. I waved, put on a big smile, and took a deep breath. As soon as I heard the “ding ding” at the beginning of the music, I switched into performance mode. I don’t think my smile ever left my face! After my Tower Pyramid and the Full Up 1-1-1s hit, I knew that we would keep the positive streak going. I’m not going to lie; when I got to the dance I was ready to “werk!” We hit the end of the routine and I was ecstatic! We had one fall, but as a whole, our routine looked GREAT! The way we felt at that moment could only be topped by the way we felt when we found out we were in second after prelims. Advancing to finals is such a huge honor in itself, so we were elated to hear that not only did we make it through, but we were in SECOND!
When it was time to compete in finals, we were ready. We had one goal in mind: hit the routine. We stepped back under the lights and performed our routine one last time. Watching the video of our routine after we competed, we saw that we had a couple of falls. Obviously we were upset, but we were still proud of what we had accomplished as a team and the way we represented the University of Alabama. We definitely had some of the hardest partner stunts and some of the best group tumbling (almost full squad standing two Back Handsprings to Fulls)! We wanted to come to Orlando and be seen as a competitive team, and I definitely think we achieved that goal. As they brought all of the teams in for awards, we did not know what to expect. But as the numbers got smaller and smaller, we knew we must have placed well. Then, “In second place, THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA” was announced and my team went crazy! I’m pretty sure that we were screaming and jumping just as much as the first place team!
With All Girl coming in second, Coed finishing third and our mascot, Big Al, placing fifth, I’d say our school was represented excellently! The University of Alabama has made such a name and reputation for itself. I am so proud to be part of that tradition and represent the school that I love.
Like I said, I have been enjoying this short break since Nationals! It has been so nice to let our bodies heal for a couple of weeks and have the chance to catch up on schoolwork before practices and workouts start again. And once they do, we will be focusing full force on tryouts! But no worries, we are still having a BLAST cheering on Alabama’s women’s basketball team. February is going to be a fun month for me, as I am excited to be attending UCA High School Nationals. Being a UCA staff instructor, I always love seeing teams I’ve worked with improve and compete! Be sure to check back with me to hear more about Alabama’s All Girl team as we cheer on one of my favorite sports—GYMNASTICS! Until then, ROLL TIDE!