13 Things Only Baton Twirlers Will Understand

13 Things Only Baton Twirlers Will Understand

From twirling on the football field to competing internationally, baton twirling is an unsung sport.
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Most people, when you say baton twirling, think of a majorette wearing white boots marching in a parade. Or, they don’t have any clue what it is. What they really don't know is that there is an international network of competitive baton twirling across the world and it's nothing like what they imagine. So, here are 13 things only twirlers can understand!

1. Having to constantly explain your sport.

Baton twirling is not a well-known sport, so when explaining to outsiders, it is often simplified down to doing turns under a spinning metal stick in the air. It could also be compared to rhythmic gymnastics or dancing with a stick. No matter what, there is always the lady who, when you say you twirl baton, says she twirled in parades when she was younger, too.


2. If you can’t dazzle them with your smile, then blind them with rhinestones!

A twirler can never have too many sparkles, and we spend hundreds of dollars on rhinestones per costume. This means that our costumes weigh several pounds.


3. Nails? What nails?

You learn early on in your twirling career that you will never have a glamorous manicure. Popped blood vessels under your nails happen frequently when you catch the baton with the tips of your fingers. Fake nails and gels are also a bad idea; those hurt when they break off unexpectedly, and it defeats the purpose of getting them.


4. My baton is special.

We can tell which stick is ours in a pile of other batons just by the tape. Each person has a different thickness, width and length of tape that they find preferable. It may not seem like it to others, but my tape is just the way I want it. Don’t touch it.


5. When you hear a loud noise in the gym, you duck and run.

When a baton hits the rafters, it either gets stuck up there or comes down fast. Ducking is how you avoid getting a baton to the head and a resulting knot on your forehead. When the baton does get stuck up in the rafters, you have to chuck another baton up to try and knock the other one down.


6. What off season?

Twirlers spend 11-12 months training for a few minutes competing in front of the judges. On top of that, you stay at baton competition for more than 12 hours even though you are only on the competition floor for about 15 minutes total.


7. You must always smile.

It doesn’t matter if you were just hit in the eye or you broke your wrist while on the floor, you keeping going and you keep smiling to hold back the tears. Don’t let the judges see your pain!


8. No, my parents don’t abuse me.

"I’m not sure where all these bruises came from." Twirlers are also able to figure out which trick they were practicing by the placement of a bruise on their body. Darn you elbow pops.


9. Feeling like you’re 90 when you’re only 17.

You constantly experience back pain, knee pain, hip pain, shoulder pain and ever other type of pain. You might even develop arthritis by the time you turn 18, but that doesn’t mean you stop! You pull your hamstring doing too many dives? Go do 50 rolls sections in the corner until they are perfect.


10. Baton twirling is a sport

One will never be able to comprehend how much athleticism goes into baton until they endure a 12-hour practice non-stop. Constantly straining your muscles, leaping through the air, sprinting across the floor – we always make the second effort to catch the baton and be our best, and your hands being too slippery from sweat is not an excuse to drop the baton. There is no such thing as "not full out." Every practice we have, we give it our all.


11. The satisfaction of finally catching that trick you’ve been working on

For weeks the baton has been slapping your hand, but you just can't seem to close your fingers around the metal rod fast enough. Nothing feels better than when it finally lands in your hand!


12. Making friends across the country

And then only being able to see them until you compete against them. The twirling community, although unseen to the average person, is a vast and tight-knit community. We grow up competing against the same people starting when we are just 5 years old. Sometimes your friends (and competitors!) live on the opposite side of the country, but that just makes the reunions that much sweeter.


13. Coming off the competition floor after a no-drop routine.

As you enter your last section, you start to get a little nervous about that closing trick. It's been a flawless routine so far, you want to end with a bang. You pull up for the toss, rotate under the baton and catch! The baton lands in your hand, and you end with a salute, grinning ear to ear.

Baton twirling gives young girls (and boys) a chance to perform in front of hundreds or thousands of people, either at a baton competition or at a halftime show at a football game. It gives them confidence, teaches them dedication and commitment and provides them a network of love and support that will be there for them in every aspect of their life.

Cover Image Credit: Julie Charlebois

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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The Heart Of A Champion: Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods inspires millions with fifth Masters title and the comeback of a lifetime.

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Tiger Woods. What do you think of when you hear that name?

For me, it is golf, champion, goat. Tiger Woods rose to success and won his first masters in 1997. The hunt was on, and the mission, be the best golfer the of all time. But Tiger's story started long before the 1997 masters it began as a toddler learning the basics of golf from his father at the ripe young age of 3 years old.

At that age, Tiger had one dream. Become a better golfer than Jack Nicklaus. With this win in 1997 Tiger began his quest to be the greatest of all time. He picked up back to back masters wins in 2001 and 2002 and a fourth in 2005 tying that of famed golfer Arnold Palmer. Along the way, he picked up 14 major championships as captivated audiences everywhere. Tiger put golf on the map in the 2000s and brought new energy and a new attitude towards the game.

Suddenly at the pinnacle of Tiger's success and as many thought, he would soon surpass Jack Nicklaus tragedy struck. On Thanksgiving of 2009, Tiger was in a car accident that was caused in part by his wife discovering that he had been cheating on her. This was only the beginning for Tiger's downward spiral. As more and more mistresses came out claiming to have slept with the golfer and being caught driving under the influence, his reputation and image continued to be tarnished.

When Tiger finally returned to golfing he just was not the same.

He lacked passion, excitement enthusiasm. He was just plain bad. He missed putts, drove balls into the woods and was facing competition tougher than ever. He was among a host of new faces in the PGA. Professionals that had grown up inspired by Tiger and not afraid to challenge him. Tiger would go on an eleven-year drought without winning a single major competition and had many believing Tiger would never return to the dominance he once held. With numerous nagging injuries, it seemed that all hope for Tiger's return and his lifelong goal of beating Jack Nicklaus and becoming the best golfer in history seemed utterly unattainable.

However, after five years winless in PGA tours, in September of 2018, Tiger wings a tour and had many speculators wondering if Tiger was on his return. Tiger went into Augusta this past weekend at 12th in the world and from the beginning of the tour on Thursday all eyes were on Tiger. He seemed laser focused and played with a determination we had not seen from Tiger in over a decade.

As the final round on Sunday approached Tiger had placed himself in the running tied for second place. Sunday it was Tiger's day. He came dressed in the classic red shirt that he wears on every Sunday at the Masters and there was a feeling that it was Tiger's show. Sunday he came in poised and determined to win and played with a passion that only Tiger has. He was gaining roars from the crowd with each stroke. Finally, after 11 years Tiger had done it. He won his fifth masters only one behind Jack Nicklaus and first major in 11 years.

On Sunday Tiger taught us to never give up on a dream and that through adversity and hard times you that through hard work and dedication you can still be the best.

Battling through the injuries, the scrutiny and the tarnished reputation Tiger was able to once again inspire millions and show that we are all humans we all make mistakes and he taught us to apologize for our mistakes, learn from them, make you better and that everyone deserves a second chance because nobody is perfect but through hard work, determination, the drive to never give up and having passion for what you do and understanding that you do make mistakes and how you learn from them showed millions of fans young and old that you can do anything you set your mind to.

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