Something Had to Give


I was spending full-time preparing for halftime, but whose team was I on?

“Five, six, seven, eight.” The music started, then stopped again. We had been practicing all morning!

“Sally!* Turn out more! Anne, your kicks are too low! Bethany, it’s a triple pirouette. Get it right! Give me 50, and do it again!” We sighed. We still had half an hour more of this.

It was my junior year and my first year on the school drill team. Being on drill team had always been my dream. We performed at basketball and football games, and everyone knew who we were! Being on the drill team would make my life fun.

From day one our coach informed us that we would call her “Mrs. Smith” because first names were too personal. Dancing was strictly business. I put everything I had into the practices. I was always on time and ready to work.

When Mrs. Smith passed out competition costumes, I felt sick. “What is that? It’s like a skimpy piece of fabric!” This was going against everything I had learned in Young Women. Life was crazy. During the week, it was school and drill team. On weekends it was competition. I had no time for church or family.

My older brother received his mission call, and we were all so excited for him. He told me when he would report to the Provo Missionary Training Center, and my heart dropped. It was the week before regional drill competition. I knew if I wanted to see him off, Mrs. Smith would cut me. I talked with her and hoped she would understand, but she threatened to take me out of all the routines. I was sorry, yet I didn’t let it shake my decision. I went to the MTC with my brother and family. I also danced at region and state competition, where our team took second both times.

At the end of the school year talk of tryouts began. Everyone expected me to try out again, and I assumed I would.

One night, as I was lying on my bed doing some scripture study, I felt strongly impressed to read my patriarchal blessing. As I read, I thought about the past year. What kind of person had I become in the past year? I was wearing immodest clothing for performances. I wasn’t going to church anymore. My relationships with my family had deteriorated. I had forgotten who I was. Where was my testimony? What were my priorities?

I went to my mom’s room and flopped onto her bed. We talked about what I had just discovered. We made a list of pros and cons, but she told me the decision was up to me.

That night many thoughts swirled inside my head. I knew what the right decision was, but I didn’t want to give up the popularity, the status, and the prestige of drill team. Did family and church mean enough to me to change?

I didn’t go to tryouts the next day. Never had I felt such relief and comfort about a decision. Although Mrs. Smith and my team accused me of abandoning them, I didn’t regret my decision. I had abandoned myself for too long and was ready to straighten out my priorities.

[photo] Photograph by John Luke, posed by models

* Names have been changed.