Photo by Jay Bailey / Chattanooga Times Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (Times Free Press) -- They stood stiff and still on the stage, the girls in the black-and-purple skirts. Then the electronic mix bumped from the speakers inside Exhibit Hall A, and the lights changed colors, and the parents on the front row cheered, and the girls backflipped all at once, starting in a circle at the center and each landing a few feet away, like a flower blooming in a second.
The 15-girl team from RAH! Spirit, small seniors division, level four, commanded the crowd's attention with spins, splits and cartwheels -- but for only about 2-1/2 minutes. That's the time limit at competitions like the National Cheerleading Championship, held inside the Chattanooga Convention Center on Saturday and again today.
But 150 seconds seems quick only if you're watching, not doing.
After drilling their routine down for about five months, Chelsea Jackson said the biggest challenge for her and her teammates is endurance. On stage, it seems as if the clock can't run much slower.