Thank You Cheerleading

Thank You Cheerleading

A thank you to the countless hours I spent on the mat.
Cat D
Cat D

For all my cheerleaders out there, this is for you. I'm sure you feel the same about our sport.

Thank you cheer for all the lessons you have taught me. I am old and "retired" now, but I love looking on my newsfeeds and seeing old teammates or teams excel. Cheer was such a huge part of my life and I just want to say thank you for everything you taught me on and off the mat.

Cheerleading taught me sportsmanship. There's nothing quite like cheer where half your sport is literally cheering on other teams. You learn about every other team at the school, know their star players and their best games. If you're at an all-star gym, you know every other team there, too, and love watching them succeed at practices. You truly are invested in your school or gym pride because your job as a cheerleader goes beyond what your coach tells you to do.

Cheerleading taught me trust. Have you ever trusted someone to chuck you in the air and then catch you? Cheerleading is a crazy trust exercise where we toss around people for fun and for competition. The trust comes in for not only flyers or top girls (the girls on top of the pyramid) but for the bases and backspots too.

If you're a backspot you may have the most trust in your stunt group trusting, err-hoping that your flyer doesn't nail you in the face with an elbow. Those flyer elbows are bony. (Sorry Carson and Britt H.)

Cheerleading has taught me strength. Although we smile and run around the mat like we're not tired, we're exhausted and are just trying to get to the end of the routine - zero deductions. It's a straight cardio sprint for 2 minutes and 30 seconds... but in those minutes, you sprint, you do a few lifts, and tumble into the air for a bit and jump as high as you can until your toes are above your waist.

Not to mention if you're game day style you also cheer at the top of your lungs to an entire arena at 99% random strangers asking them to yell colors back at you making you completely out of breath before you can even start. No mouthing the words either, it's all yall.

Overall cheerleading has taught me love. I love cheerleading. I love every practice, every failure, every success, every teammate I've ever met. It's a family love and I will always be grateful to have had this experience. Looking back at choreography days, sweaty summer camps, or even crazy kiddy camps I would 100% do them 100X over.

If you are thinking about cheerleading - do it. If you're a cheerleader now, take it in. If you're a "retiree" like me - isn't it amazing?

Cover Image Credit: TriStar CVHS

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.

I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time

Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Dear Oklahoma, Please Take Care Of Jalen Hurts

He's one of the good ones, we promise.


Dear Oklahoma fans, coaches, and players, please take care of Jalen Hurts.

When Hurts graduated in December of 2018, everyone in the Alabama fanbase knew that a transfer was coming soon. After showing his distinct character and loyalty to the Alabama Crimson Tide by choosing to play the 2018 season, even though he would be second in line to Tua Tagavailoa, Hurts deserves this chance to make the best decision for himself. The selection process regarding where Hurts would end up this upcoming season was kept relatively private, which of course open the doors to countless predictions from fans and analysts.

However, I can confidently say that I was not the only one shocked at his choice, but I whole-heartedly support it.

Home to two Heisman-winning quarterbacks, Oklahoma is a more than a smart choice on Hurts' behalf. Within that program, he will be given ample opportunity to improve his craft in order to put himself in the best position for a successful career post-college. The Sooners obviously have an incredible program that leads players down the best paths to be as successful as possible, and that is all Alabama fans want for our beloved quarterback.

With all this being said, I, as an Alabama fan, just ask the Oklahoma Sooners to take care of Jalen and realize how special of a player he is.

With Hurts at quarterback, you will never have to question his effort or loyalty to his teammates. He will always carry himself with grace, no matter the situation. If you give him an opportunity to succeed, he will put forth all of his effort in order to take advantage of it.

Jalen Hurts is one of the most special players, and young men, to ever wear an Alabama Crimson Tide uniform. All that we ask is that you support him as we have these past three years.

Roll Tide.


Every Alabama Fan

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