I’ve been skydiving!

I’ve just been in an airplane and thrown myself out 10 000 feet above ground. And it is godammit the coolest thing I’ve ever done! My gosh, it was wonderful and fantastic.


A couple of weeks ago me and Sahar sat during a lunch break discussing different things you can do here and that we wanted to do. We talked about skydiving and she started to look it up. Since her birthday is February 27 we wanted to do it around then and decided on Friday the 26th. We also got Jocke on board as well.


So we have known about this for a while. But we haven’t told anyone. Part cause we wanted to be our little secret but also to keep it calm back home. If I had said that I was to skydive my mom would not have been able to sleep for several weeks.


So today was the day. We have been worried about the weather the entire week. If it was to be bad weather we would not be able to go up. Today it was a little cloudy, but that was okay they said.


The road there was very beautiful with lovely green mountains and hills.


When there we had to sign a bunch of papers that basically all said the same thing: You should know that you might die and if you die it’s not our fault and you cannot sue us. It was kinda fun to read those papers and sign them. Then we watched an instruction video with some amish santa. It was impossible to take it seriously. Then we got instructions from the instructors as well.


Then we got our suits and straps. Unfortunately we could only go up two paris at the time, so Jocke had to wait on the ground while me and Sahar went up. It was a little plane and a bumpy ride. Both of our tandem jumpers were very chill and cool. It felt like they really knew what they were doing.


Sahar was first to jump. She jumped backwards, so her tandem jumper lept backwards and then she just came along. IT was cool to see her disappear just like that.


And then it was my turn. I was to jump forward. So I stepped up to the edge and put my right knee and left foot at the edge an look out. It was high up in the air. And then I just had to push forward and throw myself out to the world.


My god how awesome it was!


For about 40 seconds we just fell. No parachute, nothing, just fell straight down. Such a powerful and amazing feeling. Then the parachute developed and it was time for the gliding. Once again, so astonishing. Everything was so beautiful. The nature, the landscape, the sky, life. And quiet. So quiet. I was surprised over the complete silence. I could talk to my tandem jumper in a normal voice.


Our landing was a little bad. We missed our spot by a few yards and landed in some bushes. But that was kinda fun. Then we went to wait to see Jocke’s jump. Me and Sahar were still in seventh heaven and were so jealous at Jocke for being up there in the air. We wanted to do another jump!


Unfortunately I have neither photos nor video of the jump. To get that another guy needed to come along and that would cost a extra 100 $and we decided not to do that.


Still now a couple of hours after I’m still totally excited. So are the other two. It was the first time for all of us, but definitely not the last one. We have to do this again. It was the most wonderful feeling in my entire life! Totally amazing.



Right now I’m sitting in a car heading for Long Beach in a car with Cecily, Vaios, Elyse and Riley. Lauren will come later tonight. We are to celebrate Cecily’s birthday and on Sunday there is another cheerleading competition. I just had a chocolate-coffee cupcake. Now when I’m done writing I will write some emails for my interviews and then just have a nice car ride and weekend. Don’t know when I will write on the blog again, but maybe we hear in the weekend. More probably on fb first.


By for now. And once again: wow!

My articles!

My articles have now been published!


They are both in the paper edition and the online version.


The first one is about bad maintenance and leaking classrooms. I wrote it together with Jayne after a long waiting to get an interview.




The other one is my column on the cheerleading competition and how people look at cheerleading as a sport. And that many people doesn’t even see it as a sport.


Yesterday after soccer I stopped by in the arena where the women’s basketball team played their first playoff game (which they won by large numbers). There were also the cheer team and after the game I talked to them and everybody loved my article and thanked me for writing it. They also hoped that I was to come with them on Sunday, which I will.


Yesterday we watched the hockey fiasco and then went to Sharkeez to celebrate Franco’s birthday.


Today it’s Cecily birthday. I will go out to dinner with her, her mon and our friends in a little while. That will be nice.


Tomorrow I will maybe go away in the morning. Depends on the weather, if it’s good or not. If not, I will go with Cecily and the others to Long Beach for the cheer competition. But if it’s sunny I have to meet them up in LA at the train station in the afternoon. What I am to do I can’t tell you yet.

Looks like it will be a nice week



The weekend was fun. And I have hopes that even this upcoming week will be very nice too.


Today and tomorrow it will be a lot of studying. Today I have classes with the schoolpaper and photo, so that is nice.


Tomorrow the next issue of the schools newspaper will be published. I have two articles in it. One of the bad maintenance at some of the schools buildings and my column on cheerleading. Some of my photos will also be published. The texts will hopefully also be posted on the papers website, thechannelsonline.com and there will also be a slide show with my photos. Sat yesterday to complete the slideshow.


There are many birthdays this week. Sahar has her on Saturday. On Friday morning we will celebrate her, me and Jocke. But that depends on how the weather is.


Wedenesday is the 21st birthday of Franco. He turns alcohol! Yay!


Thursday is the birthday of Cecily. That we will celebrate the whole weekend.


Cause this weekend we are going away again. It’s a new cheerleading competition coming up. This time in Long Beach. That’s another nice things about me being able to come to the competitions. I get to see new spots in California.

The article on the Cheerleading

My article on the Cheerleading weekend will not be published. Instead I am to write a column about it. That I will show you next week. There will also be photos on the web and in the printed paper.

But just so that my article won't go to waste, I here publish it on my own. Enjoy!

Written by Johan Hammerby

Staff writer


After a weekend stuffed with extensive practice, tough falls, long waits and brutal competition the Santa Barbara City College cheerleading team was awarded the 2nd-place trophy in their first National competition in Anaheim.


Over the Valentines weekend, representatives from high schools, colleges and all-star teams from all across the United States gathered in the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA for the USA (United Spirit Association) cheer and dance competitions.


The SBCC cheerleading squad is comprised of a group of hand-picked girls with varying and impressive experience, skills and abilities. They are the high school Varsity captains, the well-traveled competitors and the decade-long gymnasts all come together to form a squad that SBCC can be proud of. Many girls on the team have been gymnasts for as long as 16 years and some have been involved in competitive cheerleading for at least 10. Experience ranges from previous National competitions in Anaheim, CA, Orlando, FL and Austin, TX to name a few, and the SBCC cheer squad is well-known for trouncing 4-year cheerleading teams in previous competitions. This year, the squad has upped the ante with as much as 8 hours of practice a week. One reason for the frequent practice is the pressure to keep up the winning title they achieved last year.


Last season Santa Barbara City College was awarded 1st-place at Nationals. This weekend was the first of many competitions of the season for SBCC, who currently have almost an entirely 1st-year team. For some people it was the first competition they’d ever attended. Nervousness was a common theme, but even the experienced competitors expressed anxiety.


“I was the team captain in high school, but I’m more nervous now than I ever was then”, says Mariam Youssef, a back-spot. “Back then I couldn’t show any anxiety because I had to hold everything together. Now I’m openly nervous,” she says with a small smile.


And there were good reasons for anxiety. The team has had many girls quit in the last few months and has had to re-arrange much of their routine. Since the beginning of last semester as many as seven people have dropped from the team. Despite tough practices and routine changes, SBCC coach Coral De Alba has big hopes for the team.

“I have been at SBCC for eight years and this is the best routine I’ve seen so far” she said right before the first competition. “It is visually appealing and different, and also crowd pleasing and fun”. De Alba, a veteran gymnast, dancer and cheerleader herself, choreographs all of the squad’s routines.


Before the first competition everyone gathered backstage. In a huge, empty hall the cheerleading teams waited before it was their turn to enter the arena. The girls from SBCC start to warm up and stretch, the air is still and punctuated by silence. In every girl’s eyes you can see the tension and expressions that indicate that “this is for real”.


But once they arrive to the first of two warm-up mats they’re allowed access to before competing, it seems that all the anxiety disappears. Everyone lightens up and smiles and happiness can once again be seen in their faces.


“Santa Barbara City College!” one of the officials then yells. “This is it!” An indication that SBCC is one of the next few teams to perform.


The team enters the arena and performs their routine. Most of the dances and stunts go very well, but some nervous moves and personal mistakes are also apparent.


After their performance the team gathers in the lobby. There is a TV showing the performance from the stage with a 15-minute delay, enabling the teams to see how they well they performed under the bright lights of the competition floor. SBCC comes up, and most of the girls seem positively surprised about it. Duprel Nave-Kilpatrick, a base for the team, is one of them:

“It looks really good so far. It looks a lot better than it felt when we were doing it.”

According to her it wasn’t perfect, but it never is, she thinks.

“This was our first competition as a team and the first time is always the worst. Watching this now helps us prepare for tomorrow. It can only get better from here.”


In the evening De Alba announces the results of the day. In their group of 4 they’re in 3rd place, a staggering .7 points after number two. A feeling of disappointment can be seen in most of the girls. A team meeting is held at 11 P.M. where weak points are discussed and strategies are formulated.


The next day, the team gathers early in the morning for their final performance. All the team members are eager to do whatever it takes to bounce back to 2nd-place.

“Today we have to give it everything we have” says Mariam Youssef. “We have so much incredible talent. It would be a shame to waste it”.


The performance goes much better than the day before. The girls are more synchronized and work better as a team than previously. But when watching the video in the lobby many team members start to feel pessimistic again. Emotions run high here. Every little mistake or stunt that isn’t perfect is commented on by the girls, and this upsets Duprel Nave-Kilpatrick.

“I don’t want to hear this pessimism. We haven’t lost. We’ll make it.”


And she’s right. At the awards ceremony the ranks are revealed from last to first, and when Fullerton College is declared as third, the SBCC team starts to shout with joy. They finish second after Mt. San Antonio College, which had roughly 10 more team members than SBCC, but the large trophy and red medals are pure victory for many of them. Outside the stage area, everyone gathers together and positivity is everywhere.


“I didn’t expect to feel so good about a second place, but I really do.” says Duprel Nave-Kilpatrick.


In their first competition as a team they finished second. A good start with much potential, to use the words of the coach. And the team now has experience that will be very important in the numerous upcoming competitions that will be held all across California. A video of the team’s award-winning performance can be found online. For more information, contact Coral De Alba.

A wonderful cheerleading weekend

Santa Barbara's Cheerleading team that I have hanged around with this weekend


As I had hoped for I got to have an increadible weekend that was almost all about the cheerleading competition in Anaheim. AS you know I went there to both support my friends and also to write a story.


But Friday we had the Victoria House Beer Pong Tournament. We had made a real good job to prepare it with schedules, team, entering fees and other stuff. It went very well and a lot of people, everybody had a good time and the whole shebang was won by Team Pettaldo Peres. Congratulations!


But Saturday it was time for Anaheim. Me and Cecily left from here by noon and thought we would be there in a couple of hours. It took 4. To Los Angeles was no problems, but then you have to go all the way through LA too. That almost took longer time than getting to LA. The freeway only had three lanes and that is way too little so it was mostly just a lot of cars standing still.


But we arrived and that was nice. Almost immediately the girls was to have practice so I had a couple of hours by myself so I just wandered around in the neighborhood. And it wasn’t just any neighborhood. We were next to Disneyland! I wandered around there as far as you could go without having to pay. Also looked at all the mountains in the distance. It’s cool to see snow covered mountains and then warmth and palm trees underneath.


In the evening we had some spare time. Laurens dad was there so they went to have dinner. Me and Cecily met up with her friend Shanna and Shanna’s boyfriend Andrew. We ate at Bubba Gump. I’ve been to the restaurant in NY before, and it’s a shellfish restaurant inspired by the movie Forrest Gump. Very nice food, and a very funny night that was crowned by Disneyland’s fireworks.


It was meant for me to stay in Cecily’s and Lauren’s room. But their coach was very strict and didn’t allow any other in the rooms but the girls. We know this before so I stayed at another hotel. The Hilton, actually. With Cecily’s mom!


At first it felt kinda odd, but it turned out to be very good and we got along very well. She had heard about me and I about her from Cecily many times before, so felt like we almost knew each other already. We sat talking for a long time and had a nice time.


Sunday it was time for the first competition. I talked to the team before their performance and got some good interviews. I also got an all-access-band so I could come with them backstage. I also had my press ID on my shirt the entire time. It was nice, and soon it was time for their first performance. It went pretty well, but a few personal mistakes. Out of four teams in their group they came in third on the first day.


It was a long day with much waiting and the they ended late. Then the girls went to a dinenr with their coach, but no one else could come. So I sat at the hotel watching TV eating pizza. Happy Valentine’s Day…


Monday it was time for competition again, early in the morning. This time their performance was much better.  Then there was more waiting for the results. And they came and Santa Barbara City College came in second in the USA Nationals! Off course they were very happy and then we took a lot of photos with their medals and the trophy.


During the entire weekend I’ve had a lot of fun. I have hanged out with the girls between their performances and have eaten good and lived in a nice place. It was great weather and we’ve had a lot of fun.


I came home now in the afternoon and have written the article, been to the gym to work out/swim/sit in the sauna and now also skyped and written this blog entry. Tomorrow it is school again with a lot of home works to do. But it’s only three school days since today is a holiday.


I’ve had a fantastic weekend and got to know a lot of new friends. It’s often like this here. Love this life!



One of all the stunts

More perfromances

Cecily and Lauren with medals and the trophy

More photos will soon appear on facebook and The Channels website