Coaches play substantial roles in young peoples' lives, and every once in a great while, you find yourself blessed enough to cross paths with a coach who changes your life, perspective and values--for the better.
I'm thankful to have had that coach during my junior and senior year as a high school cheerleader, and I have many things to thank her for. Here are just a few...
Thank you for pushing us to run our halftime routine “just one more time.” You helped instill in me the work ethic that now keeps me in the library studying for “just one more hour.”
Thank you for not going overboard with praise or compliments on our stunts or our routines. This taught me that, even when I do well, I shouldn’t expect praise, and that a need for praise should never be the reason that I do anything.
Thank you, on the other hand, for complimenting us when we did exceedingly well on something we had worked hard toward. Your words of encouragement kept me going and ran through my head even during bad practices when I couldn’t seem to get anything right.
Thank you for being so hardworking and for being so dedicated to us despite your busy work schedule and family life. Seeing you juggle your personal life and your professional life on top of all that we threw at you was inspiring and made me aspire to be that kind of woman “when I grow up.”
Thank you for wrangling us when we started running impromptu sprints across the gym or singing One Direction at the top of our lungs on road trips or crying in Sheetz when we didn’t know what chips we wanted. We needed your guidance and supervision, even if we thought we could handle ourselves.
Thank you for not letting us give up on our full or our lib. It taught me not to give up on anything, no matter how far out of reach it may seem at first, and it taught me that I truly can accomplish anything I put my mind to, with a little help from my friends.
Thank you for fighting for us. Cheerleaders are a widely disrespected, stereotyped group that doesn’t garner nearly the appreciation other sports do. But you fought against those who treated us like less than we were. You continue to do so for the girls you still coach, and I greatly admire you for this, and for so many other things.
Thank you, at the same time, for keeping me humble and reminding me that no matter how much I accomplish, there is always work left to be done and things to improve upon, and that nobody owes me anything; that I have to work for everything that might come my way.
Thank you for making sure our squad was always focused not on our trophies or our earthly accolades but on our heavenly crowns. You helped us remember what really matters instead of getting caught up in temporary glory.
Thank you for the influence you had, and continue to have, on my life.
Once a Wildcat…always a Wildcat.
Your Former Cheerleader