By: Maighan Mansukhani
I stood on the muddy field with one arm behind my back, the other across my chest, as the Star-Spangled Banner began playing loudly. Our football team was nearly undefeated this season, and tonight we faced our long time rivals. As our marching band continued to play, I took a look around me. The crowds were packed tight; every Hooligan was on their feet. You could literally feel the excitement in the stormy air. A bittersweet feeling came over me as the national anthem came to a close. Standing on that field for the last time as a Heritage High School cheerleader, I heard, “…and the home… of the… HUSKIES!” from the student section. This was my senior night.
Despite the score of the game and the monsoon of rain that came that night, I had never been more proud to be a Husky. Even when the grey clouds started pouring rain, almost every Hooligan stayed. On the sidelines, my cheer team and I grabbed our rain jackets and hats, and had even more fun than if it had been a nice, sunny day. When the scoreboard said that tonight was not our night to defeat our rivals, we cheered even louder for our football players. I can remember dancing in front of the student section with my team, as the band played one of our fight songs. Soaked from the rain, and shivering from the wind, we were still having more fun than ever. Even though we were down by a few points, when the announcer called, “And that’s good for another Heritage…” it seemed as though every fan called back, “FIRST DOWN!” at the top of their lungs. Maybe it was because all of the seniors knew that tonight would be our last rivalry game. Our last home game. Our last time cheering on the sidelines of our stadium. But I know we all made the absolute best out of that game.
When the final few seconds of fourth quarter ticked by a little too fast, I felt a heavy weight come over my heart. Although I was still excited to cheer for our basketball teams in the winter, there was something about the thought of never cheering on the sidelines for our football team again that stung. I knew this night would come eventually, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to football season just yet. This was one of the first of the many “lasts” that comes with being a senior.
Once the night was over, I started thinking about all of the great memories I have from my years as a Heritage cheerleader. I had the opportunity to cheer on our men’s basketball team in the state championship as a junior, was able to attend the greatest cheer camp with my team over the summer, and was given the position as a captain to be a role model and encourage my teammates as a senior. Since my senior night for football, I have made so many more memories through cheer. My team won our third state championship, became county champions for the very first time, and had a great basketball season. I am so grateful to have had these awesome opportunities in my life that led to me to some great friends, incredible experiences, and memories that I’ll have with me even after my time at Heritage has passed. The best advice I believe could be given is to enjoy every single moment you have as a Husky. Once you experience a “last” at Heritage like senior night, you will truly wish you could have just a few more minutes to take everything in.