April 15, 2008

NDA 2008 - The Dance Team Nationals - Daytona Beach, FL

We had to go. We had to do it. We're the #1 fans of the BUDT. There's no question about that in my mind. The haters can talk, but it doesn't faze me.

And as the #1 fans of the Dance Team we had to show our support in Daytona Beach at their Championship. HAD TO.

Jesus and I emptied basically our remaining savings and booked a hotel flight totally around $400 each. This didn't include transportation, food, and any souvenirs we wanted.

It's been about a week since we left, and I think it's time we provided some insight about what goes down at dance/cheer events. Let me just tell you, my mind was blown.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

We left as soon as we were out of class last Wednesday (April 9th) and flew to Washington. Then hoped one more flight to Orlando. Once we got to Orlando we had to figure out a way to get to Daytona, which sits about an hour and half North of Orlando.

Luckily we were able to meet up with 3 of other BU Dance Team Entourage that was getting in from Boston. We were able to hitch a ride with a former Rhett who now lives in Florida. It was rather uncomfortable to start as we packed 4 in the back seat of a Sedan. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that if we saw a Sonic, we were stopping. Sure enough we pulled off an exit to get gas, and there it sat. A drive-in palace. I had been before, but only once. This time I took my time deciding my order (Sonic Breakfast Burrito/Cheese Fries).

Full of food we continued on, riding in basic fear of getting pulled over by any law enforcement. Fortunately, that didn't happen. We got to the Daytona area and realized something: it's pretty red-trash. It had all the big fast-food/sit-down restaurants, some stores, two-room houses, and then BAM - Daytona Motor Speedway. I had never ever seen a motor speedway. I expected something, hmm, smaller. That thing was a beast. It just went on and on and I just kept feeling dirty and dirtier.

Anyways, we got to Daytona Beach, saw the HUGE hotel the Dance Team was staying in, and drove about a mile down the main road of Daytona Beach. It just got trashier and trashier until we got to the Ocean Shore Resort. Now, I don't know what type of standards the word "Resort" is being held to today, but walking into the OCR, I couldn't help but feel slightly uncomfortable. First off, the security guard who was walked into the hotel after us walked with an enormous limp. I was thinking, if I did something wrong and this guy had to chase me, would he possibly be able to keep up?


We checked in and found out that we had to give the hotel a $100 deposit in cash, to insure we didn't f*ck their sh*tty hotel up. Jesus had no cash. I had no cash, so we were forced to walk 2 blocks down the main street to the closest ATM. On that walk we were inquired 3 different times about drugs. Once asking if we were selling, twice asking if we wanted any. We were also asked if we had been throwing rocks.

We got the $100 and locked ourselves in our room. All 3 locks of the door were used. This was all around 2 am.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wake up call was at 7:30. Which is far-too early for my normal functioning. It pains me to have my eyes open, much less walk a mile, which is exactly what Jesus and I had to do.

Once we got to the Peabody Auditorium (I believe that's what it was called), we paid $25 and found seats in the BU Entourage section. The Entourage was comprised of about 15 parents, 2 siblings, 2 former Rhetts, 3 former BU dancers, and Hot Dog and Jesus. Oh and the 3rd biggest BUDT fan. I think her name is Allison or something.

Regardless, we sat down and pretty much had to change immediately into our costumes. When the BUDT walked out we went nuts. As much as we could. Waving signs, gesturing frantically, screaming anything we wanted to. And then this:

That was the first performance (at 8:57 AM), which was good enough for 8.368. Pretty good. In the first round (The Prelims) top 9 teams move on. The remaining 8 who do not score high enough in the Prelims compete in the Challenge Cup with only 1 moving on. This is just in Division 1 - the top Division with emphasis on a Hip-Hop portion, a Jazz portion, and a palm (Hand Movement basically) portion of the dance. There are 5 Divisions. BU, in the top Division of schools without a football team (the only different between Division 1 and Division 1A)

However, that 8.368 that BU got was only good enough for 10th, missing the 9th place team by .024. Rediculous. This meant that the BUDT would compete again at 6:15 PM.

After the BUDT performed Jesus and I stayed and watched the remaining competitors to see if BU would be moving on right then and there. That never game and we both nearly fell asleep, more than once.

The funniest part of watching the remaining competitors (and those from Open Division 1 and II) was in Open Division 1 with Georgia Southern University. I was busy watching the lone guy dancer when out of no where a single shoe flies through the air. It's a very special moment when shoewear flies high through the air. The flying show didn't cost GSU any deductions, but it still wasn't good enough to get them onto round 2.

Jesus and I walked another mile back to our hotel and collapsed on the beds. A good 3 hours later we woke up and did it all again - walking back to the Auditorium. At that point in the day Jesus and I had only ate junk food, with no real meals. We were trying to keep it that way.

We watched the same performances over again - same routines, just a different order. No shoes flew off though, which was disappointing. The atmosphere was much different from the morning. In the Prelims they announced all the scores of each team shortly after they performed. In the Challenge Cup they didn't say any of the scores until the very end and trophy ceremony. So instead of clapping and motivating the other teams, there was some booing, some hand gestures, even some trash talk. Oh, it was heated.

The second round started at like 5:30 pm and BU didn't get on until 6:15. When they took the stage we made sure ourselves and the BUDT Entourage was huddled around the stage, making as much noise as possible. Everything and anything that I could think of I yelled, trying to get the ladies pumped up. Turns out, the mike on the stage that picks up any thing the Dance Teams might yell while performing picked up everything I was yelling. The most notable, which the dance team told me they heard backstage right before they went on, "Everyone who isn't BUDT can just go home. And suck it." Okay, I might have added the "suck it" for dramatic purposes, but the other part is legit.

I don't know what it was this time around, but here is the Dance Teams Challenge Cup performance (You can see Jesus/Hot Dog's silhouettes with signs right in front of the stage):

This was good enough for a 8.852. Let me tell you the suspense sitting there with all the competitors up on stage was intense. Mind you, we didn't know what BU scored after they danced so the NDA naming off school after school was gut-wrenching. It got down to BU and the UMass-Amherst dance team and once the judge read off "in 2nd place from Amherst, Massachusetts" the BU Entourage and Dance Team erupted in screams of absolute joy.

BU won the Challenge Cup last year and REPEATED. No matter what place they finished in the next days competition they would walk away champions of something.

Some BUDTers cried, some just smiled, some were too nervous to even speak. Regardless, the atmosphere was extremely positive - everyone was happy.

Once BU composed themselves and gathered their Challenge Cup trophy everyone walked over to the "Band Shell" which is a stage located right on the beach. There, BU practiced their routine, getting coaching from their coaches who don't exist (the only BU team that this is true for. And I'd just like to point out that the cheerleaders have a coach, yet their team doesn't even exist half of the school year).

Once BU's alloted 5 minutes on the Band Shell ended everyone went their separate ways in search of food. Jesus and I ate with some of the team and then let them get to bed, since they were waking up at like 4 am for the third day in a row to apply makeup and do up their hair.

Jesus and I walked the mile back to our hotel and watched epic hockey (not BC) in the UND/Michigan game. Not going off or anything, but both Jesus and I said, during the game, that in order for BC not to win a National Title UMich needed to beat UND - that didn't happen and now BC is one title short of BU's tally. Sigh.

Friday, April 11th, 2008

We awoke at an hour far too early in the morning and repeated our (what was seeming to become) our daily routine - shower, change, walk a mile, sit down with our eyes barely open while we waited to see the BU dance team perform.

Since the team won the Challenge Cup they were guaranteed at least 10th place. They were the first Division 1 team to perform...at 8:57 am.

The BU Entourage practiced the same procedure that they had roughly 10 hours ago - hugging the stage and yelling as loud as possible. The result:

After they got off stage Jesus and I hit up the Burger King across the street. I have to say, the BK Cheesy Bacon Wrapper is f*cking amazing. I'm salivating thinking about it right now.

We returned and sat through what seemed like 3 hours of dancing, but was just another hour and a half more. BU scored an 8.748 with a .05 deduction due to a fall at the very end of the performance. If you watch it enough, you can probably catch it.

Towson University won first place, and let me tell you this - no one could even compete with them. First off, in Thursday's Prelims, their music stopped suddenly about 10 seconds in, yet they continued dancing, without hesitation. They got a redo and owned it. Again. On Friday, it was clear, there wasn't a team that came close. My final accessment - Towson University is nothing but a bunch of dancing robots.

Towson may have been good but BU was the one who got chosen as 1/10 teams that the NDA did a feature on. And a damn good one at that:

After the D1 winners were announced some of the Entourage dispersed (some girl who thinks she's the #1 fan...like Lavey or something) others stuck around to watch the D1A and cheerleaders.

Jesus and I stuck it out. The dance team joined us (all in bathing suits :o) and we enjoyed the remaining competitions.

Cheerleading competitions are insane. "Bring It On" had to have been extremely close in it's representation because people go crazy. The area where the show was held was PACKED full. It didn't help that everyone just sat in the sun - as we had to make a couple trips back and forth between the show and the ocean. First off I'd just like to say none of the dance team knows how to take a wave. I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia but I've been to Ocean City, NJ every year for the last 12 and I have learned how to successful swim in the ocean, you know, avoid getting OWN3D by waves. It was clear the BUDT wasn't as familiar. Not like it matters.

Anyways, the band shell during the cheerleading competition - absurd. THE WHOLE AREA WAS PACKED THOUGH AND ONLY CAUSED MORE SWEAT. In addition, there was a lingering smell around the entrance caused by the port-o-potties. I'll let you guess what it smelled like.

After an afternoon with the dance team (can't give too many details) Jesus and I walked back to our hotel and got ready for dinner. This dinner included a $40 Seafood buffet. First off, since when does a buffet, of any type, from a hotel, cost that much, and second off, since when is it required to tip the waitress even when there is a buffet. I could continue to rant, but I won't.

The dinner ended with a birthday (ICE CREAM) cake for #38 Jorie Larsen, who celebrated her 20th. Nice job with the ice cream cake, Mrs. Larsen, everyone was happy.

The whole evening ended with a game of "Never have I ever" with the dance team. Let me tell you, my life hasn't been the same since that game. I can't give you anymore details, but, well, I have nothing to say - I am still speechless.

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

This morning started at 6 am. What a wonderful change. Jesus and I hitched a ride on a $35 shuttle from Daytona to Orlando. Our assholes nearly disappeared in fear though as the shuttle that was supposed to pick us up at our hotel between 6:30 and 7 didn't show up until 7:05. Everything was all good though as we made it to Orlando International with ample time before our flight and the capability to use the internet for the first time in days. It was truly magical. And I'm talking about the whole trip. It was exhausting physically, emotionally, monetarily, but I had a great time. It was fun to meet the parents and biggest supporters of the ladies on the team and it was great to see a BU team actually win something. Furthermore, after the whole competition, fortunately/unfortunately, I'm actually into watching competitive dancing. Amazing. Way to go girls.

1 comment:

Stannie said...

Hot Dog,
For the record, I definitely can take a wave. I definitely did. So lets not pretend like dance team is all weak little girls. Were strong, buff, women. haha