For the Love of Cheer

Smiling is second nature for me. I spent most of my youth as a cheerleader; then, I moved on to coaching cheerleaders.

I remember the week before a competition, in third grade, I was shit on by a bird at cheer practice. We were outdoors and my coach wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom to clean it out. Well, not til break time.

I was ok with that. I wanted to win and would dedicate myself to the team. Suck it up and deal. That’s what athletes do.

After college, I was hired as a high school cheerleading coach and inherited 25 girls aged 15-18.

It wasn’t the same. These girls were not the type to be shit on and suck it up for the team. They were the girls who left practice early to get their nails done.

After 7 years of experience, I have developed a squad that does work hard. That doesn’t complain about trivial things and works for the whole.

But, as I sit on this shaky, full school bus, I’m not as excited as I once was. I’m not pumped for the upcoming game.

I have said it before, that this is my last year coaching. But I truly believe myself as I grind through the season.

My mom was a wonderful assistant, megaphone maker, accountant, support system, and appointment reminder.

She silently helped me through the first years of my coaching, doing all the little, thoughtful things that helped turn girls into athletes and me into a damn good coach.

There’s got to be a fresh-from-college girl who has a passion for cheer and a mother who would go and sit at all the games she coached.

It’s just not the same without her and I can’t pretend I want to do it alone anymore.

So, here’s to the last season. May my shoe filler fill fully.

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