Sunday, April 14, 2024
HomeTheGoodStuffThe Good Stuff by Shelley Bennett

The Good Stuff by Shelley Bennett

by Shelley Bennett

As a mom of a senior, there have already been many lasts this year with my daughter Sofia. Last Saturday was especially bittersweet. We were at the Northern Nevada Cheer and Dance Classic held at Damonte Ranch High School and our team was preparing to compete in the Hip Hop Division.

The girls were getting ready; slicking back their hair, applying matching lipstick, and transforming from sleepy travelers to fierce competitors. There was laughter and snacks, filming Tik Toks and going over last-minute choreography questions.

I sat quietly and took it in, thinking back to Sofia’s first time at a dance competition in 2006 when she was about 6 weeks old. She wore the cutest purple dress with “Grizzliettes” embroidered on it (thank you Karly Millar!), sat in her stroller, and slept through most of it.

One of my current freshmen dancer’s mom (Parker Foreman) was the captain at the time.

I don’t remember what song we performed to, but I do remember thinking that I hoped my baby girl would someday have an experience like this. Maybe it wouldn’t be dance, maybe it would be basketball or softball or speech and debate or Science Bowl. I just hoped she would be surrounded by good friends, be part of a team that becomes a family, and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction after a job well done.

And now she is here as a captain with her friend Renee Delgado by her side, leading their team to a second-place finish out of five in their division. According to the judges, the Grizzliettes had amazing facials, great energy, cool tricks and transitions, and were “fun to watch”. One judge even commented, “I wanted to join you!”

I was so proud as I watched from the sound table! Our new members Brianna, Parker, Grace, and Addy were poised and confident as they danced next to our team leaders.

Kaylee, Hailey, Cori, and Madi added an extra layer of sass with their stage experience and leadership. And Sof and Renee… well I have another story about them.

Four years ago, I took the then 8th graders to this same competition. We were there as spectators and I wanted to see if it would be a good fit for the Grizzliettes. The girls giggled and watched in awe in all day. At the end of the day, we all agreed that the Grizzliettes could compete here.

Then Covid shut down the world and the future of drill team and competing looked bleak. But our incoming freshmen (Sofia, Renee, plus Camber, Aubrey, and Mary) gave me hope.

From trying out via video to learning one of our most difficult dances on Teams meetings, they persevered and made the most out of every season.

There have been so many times I have been brought to tears just watching them dance and let it all out onstage. They gave me something to hold on to and believe in and I am forever grateful.

At the beginning of our competition dance, there is a roll off of dancers popping their heads up to counts. Sofia and Renee are the last ones to go and it completed this full circle moment: from sweet, giggling 8th graders to young women who own the dance floor, telling their story with a series of facials, aggressively sharp movements, and synchronization.

Grizzliette alumni and former captain Gracie McCoy and master of dance Seanne McElrath poured their hearts and souls into this team with their hard-hitting and creative choreography. I can’t say thank you enough for their positivity and belief in these girls.

We did miss the rest of our team: Camber, Aubrey, Mary, Julienne, Kylee, Allie, Bailee, Amelie, and Alyssa. They’ll all be back together and burning up the dance floor on Wednesday, February 7th at halftime of the Boys Varsity game. Come check them out!

One of the most incredible things was that after the awards were given and a quick stop at In-N-Out, this team traveled home and went directly to the NCCA Crab Feed where they served salad, soup, and all-you-can eat crab to 250 people! It was a full day and they killed it.

Remember when news was ‘newsy’? When you read about weddings, family events and engagement announcements in the newspaper? If you have something that might be newsworthy, please submit it to [email protected] and I’ll do my best to include it here in “The Good Stuff.”

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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