Competing against multiple teams or a few teams and coming out on top is a fleeting and exciting moment for us.
Picture this: You’re sitting in a circle with your teammates. You are all holding hands and squeezing as hard as you can as you await the results of your and your competitors’ routines. When you win, the screams of excitement, the hugs, the jumping up and down, can make you feel like you and your team are on top of the world.
However, sometimes that amazing “oh my gosh I can’t believe we won” moment doesn’t come. When I say you “didn’t win” I mean you didn’t get the placement you were hoping for. Whether that’s first, second, or third place and so on.
Listen, winning first place is not the “end all-be all” of your cheerleading career. I’m sure reading that sentence makes you think I am crazy. We work this hard for two minutes and thirty seconds, of course you want first place to be your goal.
Should you quit? Move to another state? Go into hiding? Rant on Twitter and Facebook about how unfair the judges are? No, no, no, and definitely not! Instead…we better ourselves, we look for the positive, and we move on.
Let’s think of it this way:
1. You went out and performed:
You had the trust in yourself and your teammates to step out onto the mat to begin with. There have been so many times when my anxiety and my nerves have made me want to run for the hills while we were standing behind the curtain waiting to perform next. Yes, your step on the floor is an achievement. You went out there, in front of hundreds or thousands of strangers and performed your routine. You stunted, you tumbled, you jumped, you danced and you owned it.
Maybe you forgot a motion, or maybe you touched down in your tumbling pass. Maybe you even dropped a stunt. But you still finished your routine. You didn’t quit! You still went out there as an important member of your routine and you did it. You showed determination and dedication to complete this incredible performance that you, your coaches, and your teammates have created.
For example, did you go to Worlds and didn’t get the placement you wanted? You still performed on the Worlds mat with your teammates and finished your routine. You still went to Worlds, regardless. That is an amazing accomplishment.
2. You Were A Team:
When your gym’s name was called and you felt devastated that it wasn’t what you wanted, remember that you and your teammates were together during that moment.
You were all supportive and hopeful of the same thing. You all wanted the same goal which shows equal dedication, perseverance, and respect for one another to do your absolute best during practices and competitions to achieve that goal. Each spot in a routine is very important. Each member has a job to do and when those jobs are done, they create this phenomenal performance.
That performance gives you and your teammates pride and a sense of worthy to wear your gym’s uniform and perform your routine in front of crowds of strangers. Your synergy helps guide the execution of your performance as well as the bond with your team.
3. We Can Always Improve:
We practice multiple times throughout the week to only have one shot. One shot of a two minute and thirty-second routine of hitting your stunts, tumbling, jumps and motions. Anything can happen, however. Stunts can fall, tumblers can touch down, and motions can be off counted. Instead of being upset and playing the blame game, look at it as a way to improve.
When your coach is given the score sheet, it’s important to come together as a team and figure out what can work, what can work better, and what everyone can do to perform at their best. Just because you touched down or fell out of a stunt doesn’t mean that you aren’t already “the best”. We can always improve and better ourselves in all aspects of life.
It important to be open-minded to change, and the benefits it can bring to you and your teammates. Giving 110% at practice will greatly benefit your performance in the long run.
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Retired cheerleader who cannot get out of bed without every bone in her body cracking. Garlic knot enthusiast and Pre-k teacher.