By TJ Stice
Senior prom is the dance to top them all and one of the few events most seniors look forward to. It’s a way to kiss senior year goodbye and have one final celebration with the friends you have gained through high school. However, I have exchanged my tuxedo with a cheerleading uniform and my boutonniere for an anticipated World’s medal.
For the past seven years, I have devoted my life to the sport of cheerleading with the hopes that one day I would be able to attend The 2013 Cheerleading Worlds located in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort. Finally, my dream has come true. My cheer team and I have received a bid to compete three days in a row starting on April 27, the day of prom.
Deciding whether to be on the dance floor or the competition floor April 27 was tough, but I knew competing at World’s instead of attending my senior prom would be the best option for me.
This whole situation has been extremely bittersweet. I have spent the last four years of my life with the same people, in the same environment. I have gained friends who I will cherish and this would be my last opportunity to go to a dance with all of them. While all that sounds nice, cheerleading was, and currently is, my everything. The amount of blood sweat and tears I have put into my cheerleading career easily surpases any amount of commitement i have devoted to anything other aspect of my life.
Day and night: I live, breathe and think about cheerleading. Every award ceremony that follows a competition is filled with anxiety wondering if this would finally be our opportunity to compete at World’s. Now, everything I have worked for has finally paid off; the practices that seemed to never end, the blood, sweat and the tears. I have achieved my ultimate goal and passing it by seemed nearly impossible. I previously decided this would be my last cheering, so this made it even more tempting.
Part of the reason I chose World’s over prom was all the hassle that goes along with prom. I enjoy school dances, but prom has become more of an expense than an experience. The one night dance has left many high schoolers scrambling for money.
Once tickets, a dress, a tuxedo, hair, makeup, dinner, transportation and an after-party are all added into the total expenses, the night doesn’t seem quite worth it. I would rather go on a relaxing, cost-efficient date than go through all the stress for one night at prom. If I had currently been in a relationship things may have been different, but being single, there were no outside influences encouraging me to go.
If I didn’t have the opportunity to go to World’s, I’m unsure if I would end up going to prom. While prom is an experience that is significant for seniors, I think prom is so hyped up because its the last dance of the year, mostly seniors go and it is much more formal that everyone makes it out to be something so much more special than it really ends up being. I believe prom to be just like every other dance except there is nicer clothing and more expenses.
While Worlds can be a bit pricey, you get more “bang for your buck.” There is hotel, airfare and admissions to disney worlds included in the total cost. All these factors are understandably expensive.
All the extra expenses and pressure to ask your date in a creative and unique way has made prom seem more like a chore. As a senior class, the overall anxiety of prom could be minimized if the expensive clothing and unrealistic expectations. Prom should be like every other dance, except more formal and for the senior class only. There are only three other seniors on my team and they both will be attending their prom since it is at a different time. However, they both seconded my decisions to go to Worlds.
Overall, I believe prom has become a overpublicized high school dance. The atmosphere changes but overall the people and situation is the same as Homecoming or Turnabout. Having attended Homecoming, I feel I have experienced enough school dances. While the idea of missing prom is bittersweet, I feel that I have made the right decision to miss my senior prom in order to compete at World’s.