To the sport I never thought I would become a part of, thank you for teaching me discipline, how to count (only up to 8, unfortunately), teamwork, how to crack a cheesy smile and most importantly, for teaching me the meaning of a second family.
But cheerleading is not the only thing I can thank for that—I can also give thanks to my amazing coaches. You were able to teach 35 of us and 7 of you how to become a family. Thank you and cheerleading for giving me memories I will cherish for a lifetime. Cheerleading, you've caused me to shed a thousand tears, crack a million smiles and laugh an infinite amount of times. You've allowed me to feel such an adrenaline rush that I had to keep coming back for more -- 6 years, but not even close to enough. You've taught me to appreciate those hard losses and use the defeats to come back even stronger, to hold that first place trophy high enough to reach the stars and be grateful for each experience you've given me.
You truly are a bond that can never be broken. From you, I've learned how to lift more than I thought was possible, how to sell my dance the best that a girl with no rhythm can, and how to give one hell of a performance to leave the crowd wanting more. Waiting in that dark tunnel and feeling things you didn't even know existed, spiriting out to those glimmering bright lights that make you feel like a movie star, hitting your entire routine and hearing the crowd go wild as your coaches are on their knees crying because of how proud you made them—it is a dream.
The best of all? Sitting in a circle with your team at awards and you hear, "In first place, the Keyport Indians," amplify the entire arena as confetti falls from the ceiling. Thank you, cheerleading, for giving me this rush of excitement and the happiness that comes along with performing in front of a panel of judges and an entire arena to show how great my team and I were, and knowing that all of the hours of hard work and dedication had finally paid off. As most people say, it is truly impossible to put the feeling you get into words; being called in first place is absolutely indescribable. Cheerleading, you have made me wish that I was the one still hearing my coaches say, "one more time," to "STS," or the one still able to perform in front of spotlights and a stadium full of people. I have found something that has truly left a lasting impact on my life and will always hold a special place in my heart. So tell me, have you ever wondered what it feels like to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard