By J1 Reporter Ellie Cusick
Bright lights beam down on her face. Music blares from the speakers, silencing her anxious thoughts. Her face grows sore from smiling so big for so long. Her toes begin to ache from wearing shoes that are two sizes too small. “5..6..7..8..”, she counts in her head repeatedly. Jackie Blossom was trying out for her second year of the dance team.
Blossom has been dancing since as long as she can remember until she experienced an athlete’s worst nightmare: getting cut from the team. Blossom’s dance career had come to an end.
Blossom got the email April 6, and her reaction surprised even herself. She did not feel intense sadness and burst into tears, she just laughed. Blossom finally felt like she had been freed from the obligation of doing dance simply because she has always done it. “I have been dancing my whole life and realized I was kind of burned out,” Blossom said.
Blossom’s passion for dance had expired. Getting cut from the dance team did not defeat her; it had inspired her.
Blossom interpreted the end of her dance career as an opportunity to try something new. As cheer season was approaching, Blossom decided to try out. She knew her time in dance had given her a similar skillset to cheer and if she worked hard, she could make the team. Although she knew it would be an adjustment to try out a new sport, she did not doubt her decision once. “Trying out for cheer was one of the best and easiest decisions I have ever made,” she said. Blossom re-ignited her once extinguished passion for sports.
Walking into tryouts on April 13, Blossom knew she might not be the best cheerleader there, but she knew that she would work the hardest. “I may not be an amazing cheerleader right now, but I was ready to learn and grow to become one.” Blossom is confident the coaches identified her eagerness to improve, and she made the team.
Blossom is now a junior and it is her second year on the cheer team. She is grateful for her experience on the dance team, but she said she didn’t feel like she was given many opportunities to grow. The cheer team challenges Blossom. She learned how to thrive beyond the boundaries of her comfort zone.
Blossom even met some of her best friends, including junior Joie Ferrara. “Jackie and I grew pretty close on the cheer team. I got to watch as Jackie grew more as a person and a cheerleader, and I’m so proud of her,” Ferrara said.
Blossom is an example for all athletes that an athlete’s nightmare doesn’t have to be a nightmare, but an opportunity, an opportunity to find a new, unexpected dream.