Cheerleading to me has always been something that I took great interest in. Anytime and every time it was broadcasted on ESPN, I made sure to watch. I even use to record the competitions that would air with my parents VHS recorder. All I knew was that one day I wanted to be one of those athletes. I wanted to experience the intensity of throwing other human beings in the air and making my body do the unnormal.
Growing up I was involved in many different sports like basketball, football, track & field, cross country, and soccer. Although I enjoyed being involved in all those sports there was still some void left in my passion for my true love for my favorite sport. Entering high school was a tough time for me being that I didn’t know who I was or where my path was going. I joined many clubs like The Key Club, BSU, Peer Leadership and even the Drama club. While I continued in some of these clubs, others were not designed for me. It was until my junior year in high school that I discovered that I truly really wanted to join the cheerleading squad. Finally coming to realize that I didn’t care what my peers were going to say about me.
However, by the time that I finally decided that I didn’t care what anyone else though about me, I set up a meeting to talk to my high school’s cheerleading coach. Since the school had already begun and tryouts had already passed, all she could offer me was a position as the school’s mascot. I wanted to be a part of the spirit squad so bad I accepted this opportunity to gain some experience on being a member of school spirit. Although it wasn’t exactly cheering it was the closest thing to it and I was learning a lot that I could put into my tryout for next season.
Before I knew it, tryouts had arrived. I was nervous about many things. Being the only guy, not making the squad, how well would I get along with the team and most of all was I going to be able to grow and notice all the skill sets. I can still remember how the entire tryout process made me feel. It was scary trying out in front of tons of my peers, but that really made me go the hardest I could in everything I was asked to perform. My tryout went by within a blink of an eye and I got the results that I wanted which was Varsity. It was a long-time goal that I had finally accomplished. Little did I know this was only the beginning.
My senior year of high school was ending and although I finally got a chance to be a part of something that I am so passionate about, the void was still there. So, I set out to become a part of a cheerleading team at the community college I was going to attend. My friend Vonda from my high school team and I went together to the tryouts. We were both very nervous but we knew if we wanted to make the team that we had to be at our best. We both ended up in the same group so that helped. We were both successful being that we both made the team. Though for me there were still some big road blocks in the way. The biggest one being that I couldn’t afford to pay for all the fees that were due at such a short notice. Especially since I had to pay for my own senior prom and graduate night expenses. I obviously had a lot to think about but no thing for sure was that I knew I’d never get another chance to attend graduate night or my senior prom. So, I had to send the most letting down email to the advisor of the cheer program explaining that I wouldn’t be able to accept my position on the team. I knew this was only the beginning and that I would be back to try out again when I was in a better position to afford it. The year after I tried out again, only this time I wasn’t so lucky due to being not selected to be a part of the squad. I was so confused on why I wasn’t picked but that’s another story. Let’s just say it wasn’t based off my cheer skills because we all know I’m good at what I do. I did not let this stop me from what I was set out to do by following my cheer dreams.
A year had passed and I was back this time better than before. I went into tryouts and give it all I had to prove why I would be a great addition to the team. The results had come out and I got the news that I wanted. I made the team and was excited about getting to redeem myself with my college cheer experience. Shortly after making the team, an opportunity to join all-star competitive cheerleading. A whole new world was right before me, one world that I planned on learning everything about.
Another year had gone by and the college cheer experience had ended. Although my all-star cheer life only got bigger. I was now competing at a level that I only ever dreamed of, going against teams that I always admired and watched on ESPN. My first-year experience was one I will always recall. I can still remember the way that I felt before my first competition or the series of events that took place leading up to that day. I remember how much of an intense feeling I had when my team got our first bid to The Cheerleading Worlds. Competing at the most prestigious cheerleading competition was a huge honor. My team and I were very determined to mark out worlds debut, and we did just that. We may have not walked away as World Champions but we walked away with the experience and memories of a lifetime.
My second year was a great year full of many accomplished and fulfillment of goals. My team and I only had a taste of what being the best version of us was. We set out team goals that we felt were realistic goals on attaining by the end of the season. Throughout the season, we faced very many difficulties which only brought us closer and made us a true family. We got to travel a little more this season and go to bigger competitions than the year before. NCA will be something I’ll never forget. I remember feeling like my heart was going to come out of my chest while waiting it take the stage.
It was time for worlds again and we were more than prepared, or at least we thought we were. Our goals were to make top ten out of U.S. trials to advance to semifinals. What happened next was not at all what we expected. We came out of trials not only being a part of top ten but as the bronze champions in the U.S.A. Something many dream of and usually takes longer for a team to achieve. The rest of the weekend followed with more great success, like placing 2nd in semifinals and advancing to finals and being crowd as bronze champions of the world. I still till this day can’t believe that this was all possible for me to experience but it was real life.
Shortly after all the success a new season was starting only for me it was the end. One night at practice I went to throw a skill to validate myself, which resulted in my breaking my leg. It was compound fracture that ended my athletic journey as an all-star athlete. A very said day that I never imagined would come. I knew one day I would have to stop but I didn’t know I’d be focused to do so. I told myself that there will be a time when I could use my expertise in cheerleading elsewhere like being a coach. I always wanted to give back to other young athletes and be the coach I never had by teaching them the values of cheerleading and how you can infuse these lessons on life and not just cheerleading.
Now this story may seem corny but in present day I get to be in children of all ages lives, sharing this gift and passion we all have for cheerleading. Nothing else gets better than that, and although that I do miss being on that cheer floor, I wouldn’t trade being a coach for anything. Unless its fashion, food, or travel ha-ha. But who knows maybe my future cheer journey has more in store for me. I guess we will all have to wait and see……
Until next time xoxo,
Love The Unknown.