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Rachel Braden, 11, and Delayna Doolin, 9, enjoy their time in the spotlight during their performance in the pre-game show of the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Washington Wizards game Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Regina N. Ortiz

Combat Center’s Cheer/Dance Team performs at Staples Center

25 Mar 2006 | Lance Cpl. Regina N. Ortiz

The Combat Center’s Cheer/Dance Team performed in the pre-game show at the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Washington Wizards game at the Staples Center March 25. The team of more than 30 girls between the ages of 7 and 12 participate in their final performance of the season.This event was the culmination of what began more than three months ago when the Cheer/Dance Team began practicing twice per week with their coaches, Sheila Keim and Nicole Brown, as well as performing at men’s and youth basketball games once per week.Since the start of the team, parents and children knew about the performance at the Staples Center and have been looking forward to it ever since, said Keim.“Its feels good to finally be here,” said Alyssa Parker, an 8-year-old student from Condor Elementary School, after walking into the Staples Center. “I’m not nervous. I’m excited!”While some of the girls huddled around the coaches asking questions, Alyssa and a few of the other girls practiced the routine. “We really like it when the crowd cheers with us,” said Bailey Hartmann, 10-year-old student at Oasis Elementary School. However, not all of the girls shared the same enthusiasm as Alyssa and Bailey.“Some of the girls are really nervous,” said Keim. “All of a sudden, their ‘tummy’s hurt’ and they keep asking how many people are going to be there. We keep telling them its not going to be that bad. It’ll be over before they know it.”Then the girls were rushed backstage and pompoms were handed out. The coaches quickly checked every girl’s hair, while reassuring them it was going to be quick and fun.“We reassured the girls they know the dance,” explained Brown. “And it was going to be fun.”Suddenly, the Cheer/Dance Team was introduced to the entire stadium and the girls ran out with smiles, running and shaking their pompoms. The girls performed a two-minute cheer and dance routine to the song “Shake Your Tailfeather” by the Cheetah Girls in front of more than 1,500 people, said Keim.“Afterwards, the girls said ‘that was it?’” she explained. “The girls all thought the season and the big performance went by really fast.”The girls and their families watched the rest of the game. The game ended with a Clippers victory over the Wizards, 116-101. “It went really well,” said Keim, on the bus ride home. “It was great to see the final product of the three months we’ve been working with the girls.”Both coaches said they were happy with the outcome.“We’re really proud of these girls,” added Brown. “They’ve come a long way since the first practice. They knew the song and were able to let their personalities come out in the performance.”The girls enjoyed the season and look forward to next year.“It was over really fast,” said Kayla Juris, 9-year-old, Oasis Elementary. “I’m going to be on the team next year.“I got to meet a lot of new friends and I love to dance and cheer. I had so much fun,” she said.Plans for next season will start being discussed by the Marine Corps Community Services’ staff in September, until then there are no dates available for 2007, said Joe Roselli, youth sports director.