NEWBURYPORT — Sometimes dreams really do come true.
One minute, the city’s youngest crop of Clipper City football cheerleaders were performing a routine they had been rehearsing most of the football season for judges at the New England Cheer and Dance Competition in Boston.
The next minute, they were hearing their team called over a loudspeaker as the second-place winners, qualifying them to advance to the nationals in Walt Disney World in February.
It took a moment for the eight members of the “D” squad, made up of third- and fourth-graders, to comprehend what they had accomplished. But when reality set in, the crimson-and-gold contenders couldn’t contain themselves.
“It was hysterical,” Newburyport Youth Football League Cheerleading Director Hollis Caswell said. “They were all screaming, `We’re going to Walt Disney World.’”
The youngest Clipper cheerleaders had just finished up a season rooting on the city’s most winning football team, the undefeated and unscored against “D” team of the Newburyport Youth Football League.
Now the “D” team cheerleaders — one of 180 teams competing in Boston at the Nov. 10 event — were getting accolades, too.
Caswell said the enthusiastic bunch did its best to stand out with a number set to a modern compilation of dance tunes from Lady Gaga to Keisha. She said something about the routine struck a chord with judges.
“It was so darn cute,” Caswell said. “It was a cheer, a dance and a couple of pyramids.”
It took a moment for the parents of the cheerleaders to process the news as well, given the cost of attending the nationals. But Caswell said the parents quickly realized they had to do everything in their power to make the girls’ once-in-a-lifetime dream a reality.
At a hastily organized meeting to discuss the opportunity, parents talked about how they could ensure each child a ticket to the big show.