Earlier this year, I had an opportunity greater than any other. A position for a cheer coach, at a nearby jr. high, had opened up. I was a cheerleader in jr. high and for two years in high school, before I had injured my back. I have always wanted to be a coach, and knew it was an opportunity I could not pass up. One Friday, I took the time to go in for an interview, and lucky me, I was given the job on the spot. I had impressed the advisor and assistant principal so much that they literally gave the job to me on the spot. Never in a million years did I see any of that coming. Little did I know, the job came to me for a reason, and it would be something I would never forget.
So I began coaching THE most amazing 25 girls.. Not exaggerating. From personalities, to kindness, to talent, to beauty, they all were and are just so amazing. The year went on and just like most teams, we had our struggles. Actually, we had a lot of struggles. But I believe those struggles helped build a stronger, more humble team.
Lets skip over some time and talk about last weekend already. Friday they had 5 hours of practice, and me being the coach I am, was not going to let them practice that long the day before a competition. So, I planned some activities. One of my first activities was our “LJH Strength Jar.” This jar was more of a last minute idea, so I found a jar around the house and put a bow on it. I had each girl write on a piece of paper a unique strength they personally have to help the team do their best in the upcoming competition. I felt it was important to have each girl remember that they are something special in our team. Each girl stood up, read their paper, and put it into the jar. I got papers from girls that said they had great tumbling, they cheer really loud, they perform really great, they stay positive, and other things like “I have a lucky shoe.” Haha! So fun and such a great activity.
I also found how great it was to give the girls a 15 min break and let them listen to their choice of music on our speaker. Lucky me, I had the girls listening to “Dora The Explorer” on repeat… HA. Seriously, the cutest thing ever. If the videos weren’t so personal, I would totally load them onto my blog. They spastically danced around to music, and I think it was fun for them to have fun with each other instead of being stuck in cheer mode all the time.
The next activity I planned was a motivational. This motivational, as shown below, is a letter from a person who struggles to write letters because the “E” key on their keyboard does not work. Every time this individual types, the “E” key types a “X.” It shows how important it is to have every key working or else the letter does not look the same. This is applicable to a team because without every teammate doing their part, the ending piece will not turn out the same. Every cheerleader has to do their best and pull their own weight to have a successful routine. The girls loved the motivational.
That night we practiced the best we could and practice was followed by a Parent’s Night. The parents came to watch the girls before the competition the following day. It was a great way to involve the parents and get them excited for the competition. After Parent’s Night, the girls had a spaghetti dinner and got some needed sleep.
Competition day! Finally. The girls began the day with hair and make up beginning at 5 am. Super early! Then, when the time came, we met at Roy High School. All was going good, and we went through the typical routine of competition warm ups.
Now, I had been so grateful for these girls even before this day. But, when those girls got out on those 9 mats and nailed their routine perfectly.. I don’t think there’s any greater feeling. It was like the cheer gods had sent angels on that mat. Every stunt hit perfectly (one came down a little early, but that’s still amazing considering it was a hard routine!), the energy was up, tumbling looked awesome, everything stayed clean, and the girls remembered every detail and advice I had given. I don’t think I even cheered for them, I literally screamed for them the ENTIRE time. And I still get chills when I think about it. THEY ROCKED IT.
Awards were coming up, and I was so unbelievably proud of the girls. I didn’t even care if they didn’t win, because they did their best, and could not have done better.
(Just look how freaking cute they are!)
But in the end. IT REALLY FEELS GOOD TO TAKE 1ST PLACE.
And that truly made this blessing of being a cheer coach even better, which I didn’t think was possible. I am forever grateful and proud of my girls. SO PROUD. And leading a team to a win, I think, was a pretty good self-esteem booster.
(1st competition and 1st win as a cheer coach, I was still just so excited)
All in all, it was a very stressful week, but the intrinsic reward you get from being a cheer coach, does not compare to anything else. Forever grateful.
P.s. This was me at the end of the week. Yes, I did celebrate by going to Scrud’s in Ogden, and eating the most delicious well-deserved burger EVER. And yes, that is what my hair looked like at the end of the day…..
Xoxo, from this very happy cheer coach.