• Mickey Fridley

#NationalChampion! What does that really mean?

So as I sit here early on this June 5th morning drinking my Starbucks brewed coffee and scrolling through my Instagram feed; I wonder to myself WHO IS GOING TO NATIONALS THIS YEAR? WHO IS OUR COMPETITION? WHO WILL WE HAVE TO BEAT TO CAPTURE THAT TITLE - THAT HASHTAG I WILL GET TO USE THAT WILL CLAIM US FINALLY NATIONAL CHAMPIONS? Then I ponder even deeper with my thoughts What does National Champion truly mean? Are you really a champion when your in the Novice Division or the Intermediate Division and you land a top 10 overall placement or the first place title but you still don't make the Parade of Champions lineup?

For the past few years we have attended the Talent On Parade Nationals in Kansas City. This will be our official third year attending. Over that time we have placed very close but never 1st overall in our divisional line up's. We have gained 2nd placements, plenty of 3rd's - 10th's, tons of judges awards and even captured a spirit award last year on Hashtag Day but we have never been able to hold that First Place Overall Check in our hands yet.

Will we ever see those lights dim on the stage when it's our turn to be in the parade of champions? So for those teams that gain that title that have won what we have yet to hold in our possession. What does it mean to be a National Champion? Did you really win out of all the dance studios from all across the united states? Did you really go head to head against everyone in the Nation? Is it truly like the parade of athletes we see at the Olympics ceremonies? Can you truly say your the best in the nation?

Heck to the yes you can! You are a national champion. You attended a Regional event and qualified to attend a National one.

Anyone who attends this competition against you is hoping for the same opportunity to be first. To have their claim to fame as being called a NATIONAL CHAMPION. So what does that really mean? It means nothing more than a goal that you set for your dancers and your studio and you accomplished that goal. You start out the new year in the fall and you say to your dancers "IF YOU WORK HARD THIS SEASON AS A TEAM YOU CAN WALK AWAY WITH A FIRST PLACE OVERALL - YOU CAN TAKE HOME A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE." There are many blank faces that stare you back in the face and their reactions are all pretty much the same thing in our dance studio "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT COACH?" So you spend months and months of pumping up your kids confidence - you take them to various regional competitions so that they can get those NATIONAL JITTERS over with then you spend the last month and half before nationals cleaning, fine tuning, perfecting technique even more and possibly even scratching a few routines that you and your dancers can honestly say "THAT ROUTINE? THAT ONE HAS NO CHANCE AT EVEN BREAKING THE TOP 10 LINE UP - SO LET'S NOT WASTE ANY MORE TIME ON THAT ROUTINE." And you hang up that costume in the closet and focus on the ones that your gunning for that shot at breaking into the Top 10 overall lineup's instead.

But what does that overall 1st place title really honestly mean? For us it's something we have never achieved yet so we as a dance studio can not express how much it would mean for one of our dancers any routine to take a first place! Especially when we have been so close before! 2nd Place and 3rd Place titles are great but their not that brass ring! They don't have the same bragging rights as being called FIRST PLACE or NATIONAL CHAMPS! So what if the divisions are super small? Does it mean the same?

Let's be honest here dance coaches - How many of you actually are in divisions that have over 50 dance routines your up against at a national competition? Oh Shoot! THAT IS US! SO YEA WINNING A FIRST PLACE TITLE WHEN THERE IS OVER 50 ROUTINES EVEN OVER 20 ROUTINES OR HECK EVEN OVER 5 ROUTINES OR JUST US AND ONE OTHER ROUTINE IT DOESN'T MATTER TO US AND IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER TO ANY OTHER DANCE COACH EITHER! A National Championship Title is still a National Championship Title - Big or Small - A first place is still a first place! And from someone who has never had one at a TOP Nationals we will take it!

For The Dance Spot dancers from Kansas taking a first place title in the Novice or Intermediate bracket will mean so much because of the really tough season we had this year. From dancers quitting mid-season, to one of our Dancers getting seriously ill and hospitalized days before a regional competition, to another dancer getting injured at practice and almost tearing her MCL - It literally has been one crazy event after another for these Diamond Company girls. But through all of that craziness they have had their most successful and award winning season to date! We grabbed our first Platinum Adjudications (Basically a Double Diamond in TOP competition terms) we captured several 1st place regional titles across the board in both Novice & Intermediate levels and then to top it all off we won not one but over 10 TALENT ON PARADE SCHOLARSHIPS THIS YEAR to their Holiday Competition, Dance Directive, Progessions & Pre-Pro Workshop weekends. THAT'S CRAZY HUGE FOR US!!! So getting a first overall at Nationals isn't that far out of reach for our dancers it's just something that would be the icing on the cake to what has been one insane year!

We at this point could care less if it's a soloist who gains that 1st place title, a duet or trio routine, a small group routine or one of our 2 large group routines. WE DON'T CARE! We just want 1 please and anything after that - BOOM! SUCCESS! Double Diamonds, Diamonds, Judges Choice Awards, Parade of Champions - NONE OF THAT CARES MORE TO US THEN JUST FINALLY SAYING WE ARE THE KC TALENT ON PARADE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS and so what if it's in the Novice Division or the Intermediate Division - Those are just as hard for us as Competitive is for the bigger studios and when our little small town dancers beat your big city studio that drops down into our brackets because you think it's gonna be an easy win - HA! EVEN SWEETER! So to the Dance Gods I call upon you one last time this season - Give us that FIRST PLACE TITLE our dancers so deserve and grant us that opportunity for the first time ever to call ourselves NATIONAL CHAMPS! And to our dancers who just might happen to read this.... LET'S #GETSUM ! KEEP WORKING HARD AND WHEN WE WIN THAT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE REMEMBER HOW FAR IT TOOK YOU TO GET THERE AND WHAT IT TOOK TO ACCOMPLISH IT AND NEVER EVER FORGET YOU DID IT AS ONE TEAM WITH ONE DREAM!

Love you all - Coach Mickey

Check out my predictions for this year's upcoming Nationals!

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