In just a few short weeks, I will be competing in my first cheer competition ever. Needless to say, I'm FREAKED OUT! A couple weeks ago my coaches decided to have me base some stunts and it's still not there yet. All these years of watch the cheerios lift each other so effortlessly (or so it looks) has been real deceiving. It's HARD! The girl that I lift weighs, I swear, like 50 pounds but it's not easy to lift someone from knee level to above-your-head level.
So why did I decide to do something so crazy? Ever since 8th grade I've loved watching the cheerleaders and I wanted to be one soo bad. Everything that they did looked like a blast to me; the dancing, the cheering, the energy. My dad had always been against me trying out because he didn't "guys looking at my like that." Like they would haha. Last year, I was lucky enough to sit by one of my school's cheerleaders every day in my Chemistry class and I think she was one of the reasons I decided to try out. Lindsey really encouraged me to go for it. So did a couple other cheerleaders in the class. They really believed in me and that made me feel like I really could do it. I figured that I didn't have anything to lose by trying out (well, except my dignity if I turned out to be horrible). So I signed my name on the line and I filled out the paper work.
The week of tryouts were a blast. I had not had that much fun in a long time. I loved dancing. Dancing is one of my favorite things and having some real choreography was exciting for me. As fun as it was, it was also extremely exhausting; my body was not used to that kind of exercise. But, I guess, in the end it was all worth it. The day of our 'real' try-out came and we all sat in that hallway waiting for our turn to go in with our group to show the panel of teachers and administrators what we could do. That was definitely the worst part. And the waiting afterwards was just boring because I wasn't really tight friends with any of the girls. After everyone had performed we were lined up and the captains gave us each a flower and a phone number to call later that night to hear the list of girls that were to be cheerleaders.
When I walked through the front door, my mom looked at the flower and says, "Oh, I'm sorry." I asked what she was talking about and she replied, "Isn't it like the bachelor? You get a rose when you don't make it." I laughed at that. We decided that we were going to go out for a girls night while we waited for the time to come to call the number. My dad was out of town for the whole week of try-outs; convenient right? Well, we went out to eat and then sat in the parking lot of the theater (our favorite place) while we called the number. The coach began to name off the names of the girls that made the team. I waited. Then I heard it, my name. I started to scream, squeal, even cry. I was in shock almost. Was this real? I was going to be a cheerleader? Me? Did they really know who I was? I started getting texts from some of the other girls congratulating me and calls too. It was all so surreal.
All this excitement quickly turned into the biggest fear I've experienced since 3rd grade when I found out that I would need to get braces. That's another story. The day before I was to come home from my sister's house to start cheer practice for camp was when it all crashed down on me. I was terrified. I seriously considered running away when I was on my way to my first official practice. I was at a stop light and I looked at my bag and tried to calculate how far I would get with the money in it. Before I had even left my house I'd cried cause I was so scared.
I was scared of looking like a complete idiot and having the coaches regret adding me to the squad or the other girls thinking "Wow, what is this girl doing? We would be so much better without her holding us back." I knew that thinking these things was stupid because I was new and I wouldn't be expected to know everything right away but I was still frightened. This was completely out of my element because I had never done anything like it before. The fact that I wasn't extremely tight with any of the girls and that I felt super inferior to these beautiful and popular girls didn't help matters. I still struggle with that, though it has improved with the friends I've made on the squad.
After a few football games I became a little more comfortable with the whole cheer thing. I didn't feel like such a poser anymore. Soon I began to answer questions that some of the girls had about certain cheers that we did and let me tell you, that made me feel really good. It made me feel like I wasn't the only one that forgot stuff or messed up.
Ever since entering the gym on that first day of practice in the summer, I have tried my hardest to improve and get better at everything that they teach me. I go over cheers in my head all the time and I can often be heard chanting them over and over. I randomly start doing the dances that we learn. I should practice my jumping more that I do, cause Heaven knows I need help there. But I don't ever want my team or my coaches to feel like I'm holding them back. I've had a lot to learn in the past few months, things the other girls have been learning for years. It hasn't been easy but it's worth it.
I'm so happy that I finally decided to go for this dream I've had for so many years. I kind of wish that I had done it sooner so that I wouldn't be such a fish out of water this year. But you know, if I had been a cheerleader all of these years maybe I wouldn't have experienced some of the things that have molded me and made me who I am today? I don't know. All I can say is that I'm proud of my school and I'm happy that I have this amazing opportunity to show my spirit and cheer on my friends in their various sporting events. Years from now, I'll look back and remember my senior year; the year that I was truly involved in school. I'll remember all of the excitement on the sidelines of a football game, all the yelling of the volleyball games, all the basketball, wrestling, everything. I'm making so many new friends this year. And I think the confidence to do so is coming from cheering. What takes more confidence than getting up in front of your school and dancing or cheering? They may make it look easy but it takes a lot of work. If you mess up it kind of sucks. Take it from me. :) But I love it. Cheer is extremely fun. And I want it to stay that way. Thank you to the girls that make it more fun; Tori, Katelyn, Kim, Alyssa, Samantha, Emily,and Kirstyn. And another huge thank you to Lindsey and Nikki for leading us everyday through your example and words.