June 8, 2012

Day 12: Something You're Passionate About

I absolutely love cheerleading. I really do treat it as an outlet and way to escape reality for a few hours. There were so many times during my cheer years where I had an absolutely awful day, and I would go into the gym feeling sad and sorry for myself. But for some reason I was always able to put my problems aside and forget about them for the time I was at the gym. Even if I didn't want to, it still happened. When it came to cheerleading, nothing else mattered except my team and my determination to always be the best.

I started cheering in 6th grade on the middle school team at my school, and in 8th grade I was voted captain of that team. Also in 8th grade is when I started tumbling and joined a competitive team, Cheer Camden. I was on that team for three years before switching to Coastal Georgia Athletics, a gym in my own town, and I stayed with CGA for my last two years of high school. I also cheered on my high school team through my junior year when I transferred schools. My freshman year at Kennesaw I was on the competitive cheer team, and very recently I've started working with Cheer & Dance Atlanta JayHawks.

CGA is where I really grew as a cheerleader, and my passion for the sport truly came to life. The years I was at CGA were also the first years of the gym's existence, so I have a deep connection to the gym. I was at CGA from the beginning. I was the first cheerleader in the gym to have a standing tuck. I was one of three girls to be the first CGA graduates. And I coached the first mini team my senior year. I was so involved, and seeing the gym grow every year is awesome because in a way I feel like I have had something to do with it. My senior year I was at the gym every single day from the time the gym opened to well after closing, and even though we didn't have official captains, it was obvious to everyone (athletes, parents, and coaches) that I was a leader for my team. My teammates looked to me for guidance and help when they needed it. It felt incredible to know that so many people trusted me and my knowledge of the sport. I couldn't get enough. I was obsessed with being the best I could be, and it feels amazing to know that my passion is obvious not just to me but to others as well.

This past year has been so rough. I've thrown my back out three times now, so I've had to retire from my sport. It's been devastating. I still cry about it. So I've done a lot of searching, and I finally managed to get a job with a team in Atlanta. I've only worked three days so far, but I already feel so much better knowing that I have a gym to go to and be part of. I'm so excited for the upcoming season. I'm entering the next phase of my cheer career. I'm only hoping that my passion as a coach spreads to the athletes at the gym the same way it did when I was on a team myself.

I will always be part of cheerleading. I plan on coaching for a long time. I just can't see myself not being involved in any way. Cheerleading is everything to me. It offers me stability and an escape. I'm in love with the sport, always have been and always will be. In the famous words of Torrance Shipman, I am only cheerleading!

*Part of the 30 Day Challenge

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