Dancing, Gremlins, and Determination

Song of the Day: Undaunted by Adrenaline Mob

Little know fact: I am an assistant director of a league drill team with girls ranging from 3 to 13 years old. Yes…I’m insane.

This past weekend we had our drill team competition. It was an emotional day for all filled with anxiety, stress, excitement, drama, and many, many tears. For anyone who has done dance/drill competition, you know there are many opportunities for something to go wrong. After all, you are only as good as your weakest link. For my team, the unthinkable happened.

doryAbout halfway into the senior team’s pom routine, the music shut off. Fortunately, the girls didn’t miss a beat and kept going—something they had been taught to do—and danced as if the music never stopped. But things went from bad to worse. The music restarted from the beginning. Again, the girls continued on as if the catastrophe never happened. Not one of them stopped. The music and the beat were completely at odds with their dance and should have been confusing and throwing them into a hot mess. Yet the smiling girls danced on, finishing with few mistakes to a standing ovation. It was remarkable. My heart shattered and swelled simultaneously. Now, as soon as they exited the  gym, as you can imagine, the tears flowed. A full gamut of emotions was felt by all dancers, coaches, directors, and spectators, alike.

We were asked if we wanted a redo. After consideration, the head director and myself decided to let the judging scores stand. They are strong. They will pull through no matter what happens or what the scores were and be better dancers for it. We didn’t tell the girls of our decision, not until right before they were allowed to take the floor for the pom routine at the end of the competition. They had worked hard all season and they deserved to let everyone see them shine.

What does this have to do with writing? Just as the gremlins tried to derail our girls from success by stopping the music, so, too, could a completely unexpected incident happen to authors. A computer crash, death, birth, illness, starting (ahem) a new job, or a one-star review from someone who didn’t read your book, or a yahoo who thought they were reading a thriller instead of a romance even when the title indicated it was a romance, or some troll who compared your literary talent to cheese whiz. Anything that disrupts or impacts your writing in a big way can be detrimental if we let it.

The point is, and you’ve heard it before, you must practice perseverance. You must not let events that are beyond your control rule you. You must be strong and stay on course. Adjust. Recalibrate. It can be hard. As Dory from Finding Nemo said ‘just keep swimming’, even if it’s against the current. You can and will pull through, prevail, even.

By the way, despite the set-back, the girls triumphed, taking first place by a large margin. And THAT brought on a whole new set of tears.

14 Responses to Dancing, Gremlins, and Determination

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Love the way your drill team handled themselves — like seasoned pros. That will be a powerful lesson each of them can take through other crises during the rest of their lives.

    We all have to ignore the hostile trolls — unfortunately a sizable percent of our population seems only to exist when they are meting out misery to others. Sad, but true. To put it into perspective: imagine how miserable their lives must be if their only glimmer of pleasure is pulling someone else down. Horrible.

    Glad you’re rounding the corner on your new schedule and circumstances. [So, next week, how about more eye candy for ME?]


  2. jbrayweber says:

    I hear ya, Jeff. It really is sad and disappointing that people have to sh*t on others to feel better about themselves. More power to ’em, because we are better than that and will prevail…even when the music stops.

    I’ll see what I can do about “accomodating” you next Hump Day Kick Start. (greedy….throw you a bone every now and again and you want the whole dang skeleton). LOL! 😀


  3. jeff7salter says:

    Okay, I’ll try to be patient until next Wed.


  4. It sounds like you’re not only a drill team coach, but a life coach as well. You’ve taught your students to persevere against adversity, succeed in their endeavors, and be rewarded.


  5. jbrayweber says:

    Thanks, Connie. It takes a team of us, especially with some of these kids being so young. But truly, this experience has made them stronger. 😀


  6. What a remarkable story, and I’m not surprised they won! Tweeted and shared on FB.


  7. jbrayweber says:

    Thanks, Ella. All their hard work paid off big!


  8. reneeregent says:

    Thanks, I really needed that!


  9. jbrayweber says:

    Awesome! Glad I could help, Renee. Sometimes we all need a reminder – including myself.


  10. odie8654 says:

    That’s amazing!!!! I’m facing the illness thing! Just found out I’m losing the use of my body from waist down if I don’t have surgery on my spine (Had 4 over past 30 years, broken back, disc, etc) Now the rods that I have in lower spine have to be removed to fix the one above that has ruptured and is pinching off my spinal cord. Of all the things, mine has to not only pinch nerve, it has to spread it’s wings and go for the spinal cord too! The loss has already begun, weakness and lots more nerve pain down legs, but the hard part besides a 13 inch incision again, and slow year long recovery, is the waiting on medical, how much do I lose before they say, “oh yea, we give you permission but……”
    So maybe please if everyone would keep me in their prayers I would appreciate it. And again, Jen, CONGRATULATIONS! What an amazing victory and obviously a coaching job well done!!!! Great group of girls obviously!!!!


  11. jeff7salter says:

    saying a special prayer for the lady with the upcoming spine surgery…


  12. jbrayweber says:

    Sending good vibes your way. I truly hope you will find a speedy recovery with very little limitations. Big hugs! And just keep swimming!


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