The Road Never Ends
By Tyler Bridges
On April 5th, I had the opportunity to travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the University of Minnesota competitive ballroom team. The reason? The University of Michigan was hosting their annual MichComp. Our team traveled by coach bus, leaving that Friday morning. The competition was all day long on Saturday, and we arrived back in Minneapolis by Sunday morning. It was a trip of endurance, scrambling for food and water between dances, and it was a great time.
The bus ride was an incredibly long, difficult trip, filled with little sleep. I cannot stress enough how difficult it is to fall asleep sitting up on a bus that is traveling on a bumpy road. It was a ten-hour trip (one way), and by the time we reached our destination, I was beat. Still, as a team we dealt with the lack of sleep together, and we bonded because of it. I’m happy to say that our team spirit is very strong. Conversing with my teammates and toughing out the bus ride together brought all of us closer as a group. Thankfully, we arrived in Ann Arbor with enough time to sleep for about seven hours, which is more than I can say for most competitions I’ve traveled to. I’d need every minute of those seven hours, it turned out.
Since the competition was packed into one day, there was absolutely no downtime or breaks in between styles. The order of events was smooth, standard, rhythm, and then Latin. Bronze kicked off each style, followed by gold, newcomer, and silver. The ranks were divided in such a way because several competitors competed in bronze and silver, silver and gold, or bronze and newcomer. Of course, when this happened, it created a marathon of dancing, especially when these competitors received callbacks.
I’d like to take this space to thank my partners, Sierra Kimbrough and Shelby Gilliland. They were absolutely perfect (as per usual) at this competition, and it was fun to dance with them, as well as watch them sweep the competition with their other partners. I’m always lucky to have such wonderful ladies to dance with, and that has never been truer than now.
After the competition, we all piled onto the bus again and began the long ride back home. This time, we were all thoroughly exhausted, and the bus was quiet until we made it back to the U of M. In the end, it was a wonderful experience, and a great trip that bonded our team.