This is for all the cheerleaders out there who have hung up their uniforms, and said goodbye to the one SPORT that was once the biggest part of your life. Here is my story.
As long as I can remember cheerleading was the biggest part of my life. So many 2-3 hour practices working hard to show off the routine to so many people. Starting off as a town cheerleader was just the beginning. That's when my world changed for the better. Endless practices in the hot summer sun, working on cheers, stunts and tumbling for the big game coming up on Sunday. Starting as a Micro making my way up to juniors and seniors was the plan for me.
At cheer camp I had won a jump competition with my best friend Zhane. We both were picked by UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association) to perform at The Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a young cheerleader it was an experience that was unforgettable. I have learned so much from athletes all around the world and even got to perform on the steps where Rocky was filmed. It was definitely a memory that I will never forget.
The drive to become better was always something I wanted. I became an all star cheerleader when I was about 10-11 years old. It was a big transition from youth cheerleading to All-Star cheerleading but I was determined to put in the work. I practiced at least 2-3 times a week in a gym filled with trampolines, a tumble-track, 2 blue mats and 2 coaches who have trained some of the most incredible athletes. These two coaches have helped shape me into the cheerleader that I am today and I can't thank them enough for what they have done.
I started on a level 3 and made my way up to level 5. I have improved on skills that I never thought I could throw and it was an amazing feeling. I decided when I was a sophomore in high school that I was going to stick to high school cheerleading and let go of All-Star. It was not that I didn't want to cheer anymore, it's just it wasn't the same for me and I felt less stressed if I just stuck to high school cheer. I cheered all throughout high school starting as a varsity cheerleader my freshmen year. My goal as a little girl was to be a cheerleader for varsity at Robert E. Fitch High School, and when I accomplished that goal I once saw as a dream, it made me feel like I could do the impossible.
As a cheerleader I was a flyer. The girl you see up in the air soaring high above the ground with a smile on her face. I was usually the smallest girl on the team but I always told people that I was small but mighty. Corny I know but it was true. I have received several awards as a cheerleader becoming a 3-time Eastern Connecticut All-Star for my conference. It was one of the best feelings receiving these awards because it's a recognition that is given to girls who perform at their best in front of the judges. My coaches have never steered me wrong, I took criticism and worked on it. I didn't complain. I was taught that the only way to get better at what you do is to take the criticism and make something of yourself.
Year after year I got better and better. Friday nights under the lights was something I wish everyone could experience. Every year I know I had to work my hardest and fight for my spot because there was someone out there better than me that wants it as bad as I do. I received the nickname super-fly my senior year by fans who have been watching me since I was just a freshmen. As I approached senior year of high school my days of cheerleading started to come to a close. The thought of cheering in college was in the back of my mind but I knew that with a new team and a new uniform it would still be the same sport I fell in love with. I ended up not cheering in college but miss the memories of cheerleading til this day.
I want to thank all of my coaches who have coached me throughout the years. You have inspired me to become a better athlete and always give 110%. You have taught me that winning is a team effort not just accomplished by one person but all. Success is not given it is earned by those who work for it. No matter where life takes me you will always find me reminiscing about those memories that where a big part of my life. I will always have a passion and love for cheer and the feeling of walking onto a mat for the last time will always be a memory I wish I could take back.