Being on a team means more than doing what you love.
Growing up, I was lucky enough to be a part of a team starting at a young age. Although I probably didn't realize it at the time, being on a youth soccer team at the age of four was just the beginning of discovering what the role of a "teammate" really meant. Through elementary school, I played soccer competitively, danced, and began cheerleading as well. At the time, I looked at these after-school activities as something that took my mind off school work, and of course that was fun for me. As I began to mature, I realized that not only was I doing something that I loved, but I was also with people who shared the passion with me.
Once high school came along, it didn't take long for me to adapt to the change of scenery. Joining a Varsity cheerleading team as a freshman seemed terrifying and I was not sure what I would be getting myself into. I did not realize the amazing friendships that would be made along the way.
Until high school, I attended a small Catholic elementary school. When I moved on to a public high school, I was introduced to different cultures, personalities, attitudes, etc. and meeting new people who had different interests than me outside of cheerleading was an eye-opener. It made me realize that being part of a team brings so many different types of people together to do what they love. Going into high school, I never would have expected to be friends with people who has such different interests as me.
This aspect influenced me not only in the gym but in the classroom as well. Because I came from such a small middle school, I was nervous to meet new people. Being a part of a team brought me out of my shell and helped me become more outgoing, especially when meeting the friends of my teammates I didn't share the love of cheerleading with.
So, being a part of this team didn't just introduce me to the girls who I was on a team with.
On top of meeting people with various interests, being on a team also taught me many things about myself. Being on a competitive cheerleading team, you tend to focus more on your team as a whole, rather than one at a time or just yourself for that matter. As our team got stronger, I noticed that when members of the team began to succeed or master new skills, it brought a sense of joy not only to them, but to myself as well. There was such a sense of accomplishment as a team when just one member or one group would succeed. This is something that could be taken out off the mat and brought into everyday life, whether it be in the classroom, at home, or the work place.
These aspects of being on a team taught me a lot about everyday life. Being on a team, especially in high school is important because it gives you a sense of diversity. The things that I learned from those on my team shaped me into the outgoing, loving person that I am today. Being a part of a team also caused me to aspire to work well with others and be a constant advocate of positivity, something that I believe is needed in everyday life. There will always be hard times, but with a strong support base, there will always be success in the end.
Without being a part of a team, I would not have realized these things. I am forever grateful for my teammates who helped shape who I am today.