By: Kelly Gomez
For Indiana University All-Girl, the holiday season and the New Year means one thing, it's time for two-a-days! Over the holiday season, while the majority of the students are going home, we stay and practice every single day, twice a day. While most students would be sad about having to stay at school, as a team, we are really excited to get down to business and have nothing to worry about or focus on except for the team and perfecting our Nationals routine! Two-a-days can be really hard on your body, since as our coach Tony Nash says, "There is nothing that can truly prepare you for the routine, except the routine", and so we like to take extra special care of our bodies during this time by taking daily ice baths and eating right. As a team, we always stay positive during this time and do all we can to become a close 'family' while being in Bloomington together. We love to do team dinners hosted by our seniors, secret Santa gift exchanges, and even stay at each other’s houses/apartments when dorms and sorority houses close for the break. But usually, our best bonding time is always spent while in ice baths!
When preparing for Nationals, we're constantly reminded by Tony that our goal is never to win, our goal is to hit; so it is imperative that we do our best to always get as many reps of stunts in as possible, be as clean and sharp as we can be, and to just 'be Indiana'. We have a constant running joke during practice that even when we hit solid skills, they are only "average" and could be better. I like to think that, as a team, this mentality keeps us on our toes and ready for anything, since we never become complacent. This also makes the long days and an endless number of practices barely noticeable since we leave each practice anticipating the next and wanting to continuously be better and better. Our team's strong mentality and constant support for one another is our best strength and it is always so exciting to see the freshman develop over two-a-days from being a little anxious and unknowing of what to expect to strong, passionate, and fearless young women by the time we are prepared to go to Florida.
Even though it is a long, hard, and exhausting process to get ready to compete for a National Championship, there isn't any other group of coaches or teammates that I could imagine doing it with. Originally being from Florida, moving to Indiana to go to college and join this amazing team has been the best decision I have ever made and I am so excited to take the mat in January with Indiana across my chest for a third year!