What's it like to push yourself every day at practice and competitions, and then see it all pay off with a trip to Florida?
How rewarding is it to be talented enough to earn an invitation to go against the best in the entire country?
That's what thousands of young athletes ages 8-15 live through every year as part of the Pop Warner Super Bowl and Cheer and Dance National Championships in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The organization invites hundreds of Pop Warner-affiliated teams to compete against peers from all over the country, each shooting for the title of national champion.
The 2009 national championships feature 64 football teams and approximately 40 dance and 250 cheer squads. Competition takes place at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando.
Many, like Lexi Bone of San Diego, had never been to Florida before, making her first trip extra special. As part of the Torrey Pines Falcons in the PeeWee division, Lexi was part of a 30-girl squad that nailed their 2 1/2-minute routine at the 2009 Wescon regionals in Ontario, Calif., to earn the golden ticket to Florida.
Lexi has done gymnastics since she was 3 and also dances. But never before has her athletic ability earned her trip across the country from her home in California.
There are countless stories just like Lexi's--football players boarding a plane for the first time, or cheerleading squads who bonded as a team throughout the season and now get to enjoy each other's company in sunny Florida.
Many of the competitors realize it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip. And that's what makes the Pop Warner Super Bowl so special for thousands of lucky youths across the nation.