- The final bell rings to signal class is over. Finally my favorite part of the day! I excitedly make my way to the locker room to get ready for practice. The locker room is buzzing with athletes in their respective sports. Some soccer players, tennis players, basketball players, but I have my own practice. Cheerleading. The other guys make fun of me for being a male cheerleader. "Wow how gay!" they would say. I finish getting dressed and head up the stairs to our practice area. None of my teammates are there yet. There is still twenty minutes to practice so I begin setting up the mats. Each mat weighs around 100 pounds. I push all nine of them out of the closet and onto the main floor. I unrolled three of them when the team captain and my best friend Cody came upstairs. He helped me flip the mats to the proper side and apply the Velcro tape to keep them together. Finally the rest of the team shows up. We all sit together near the center of the mats and start chatting. Greg complains about his upcoming math test. Amber laughs about how cute her boyfriend is. In all there is seven boys on the varsity team and nine girls. I ran down the stairs to get a drink from the water fountain. My coach comes in the door then and I offer to help carry the team speaker up the stairs. When we reach the top my coach plugs his phone into the speaker and plays some music. All three of our captains, Cody, Amber, and Abby lead warm-ups. Stretching is extremely important. We rotate our shoulders and press our wrists. Finally we line up at the edge of the mats for tumbling warm-ups. We do handstands down the length of the mats and cartwheels back down. The girls then line up and do standing back handsprings while the guys do wall sits. Now it's the guys turn, yet they do standing tucks while the girls do wall sits. The second coach arrives to practice and tells us to get into jumping formation. After numerous jumps everybody is already sweating. The coaches allow us 90 seconds for a water break before we get back to practice. Amber, Evan, and I go down the far side stairs for water because the rest of the team went to the nearest side. Evan propped open a door to get some fresh air and I offered to let Amber get water first. "Ugh my knee is already bugging me!" She complained. After we all got water we rush back onto the mat to begin the real practice. "Alright we are going to start with game sim!" Our head coach warns us. All the guys grab a megaphone and the girls grab their poms. The head coach starts calling out situations in a typical football game and the captains must agree on the appropriate cheer. After a few cheers have been called out the girls begin to do some of their dances while the guys head down to the weight room. Some of the guys head straight for the benches to work their chests. The rest grab weighted medicine balls to work their abs. I spotted one of the guys trying to break the school record for bench. Although he doesn't quite make it he has worked up a sweat, as well as the other guys. We head back upstairs to meet with the girls for stunting. My favorite part! I grab one of the flyers, Vanessa. I explain the stunt sequence to her and grab her hips from behind. "ONE, TWO!" I yelled. Vanessa dips and jumps as hard as she can. I throw her as hard as I can. At the top of the toss she flicks off my wrists and goes flying. I quickly follow her feet with my hands and grasp them of the way up. She settled onto my hands, standing there proudly. A solid partner stunt just feels magical. "Extension, one, two!" I called out as I press her up even higher. My arms become fully extended as my teammates cheer. "Cradle, one, two!" I yell up to her as I dip my legs. I once again tossed her from my hands. She seemed to gracefully float in the air for but a second. Then she comes crashing back down to earth as I catch her in my arms. I set her out and the captain, Cody, takes my place with another flyer. He decided on a sequence of stunts with his flyer and begins his toss. He easily threw the girl seven feet in the air and caught her feet the same way I did. "Cupie! One, two!" He called out as he dipped with his legs. Suddenly he extends only one arm as the flyer pulled both her feet into his massive right hand. When the stunt stopped moving he held her over our heads with only one hand! The flyer's foot suddenly slipped from his grip. She went tumbling down sideways. Greg and I dove to catch her. She landed on us with a thud. We all stood up and made sure everyone wasn't injured. Finally we all burst out laughing. All the guys took turns now doing partner stunts. Once it was my turn again I chose a different flyer. This time Marissa. I asked if she wanted to try a roll-up. When she nodded excitedly I helped her to sit on the ground. She curled into a ball and I bent over and took one of her feet with both my hands. She tenderly reached up and clasped her hands behind my neck. Sweat began traveling down my back as this was the one stunt I dropped at tryouts. Marissa just smiled at me and told me I could do it. I nodded back and began. I dropped my butt and lifted Marissa above my head while she was still curled up. I let one hand go free and she turned in my other hand. I caught her foot with my free hand and drove both feet straight up. Suddenly the world stopped. I stood there, and had a huge grin on my face. "Front!" I called out as I tossed her straight up. I caught her hips in the air drove my elbows into my core to slow her descent. She turned around and jumped into my arms as the whole practice erupted into cheers! I hit the one stunt that drove me insane! The coaches called everybody together then. They explained the plans for the next day's practice. We pushed Nic to the middle of the group to give him practice honors for throwing his standing tuck by himself. After our short cheer for him we all put our hands together in a circle. "Great practice today guys! You all make me so proud to be a coach!" Our head coach said before we did our end of practice chant. "Three.. Two.. One.. LEAVE NO DOUBT!!" We all screamed. Practice was over. I went to the locker room. I changed into my regular clothes then in the quiet locker room. All the other sports ended practice long ago. I started on my way home. And began looking forward to tomorrow's practice.
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