I was put in the back of the formations.
I never got the front row.
I was replaced a few days before the competition because you thought I was the problem in my stunt group.
I showed up to every single practice and game on time.
I know that I was a burden on you, and I felt sick every time I remembered that while I was putting blood, sweat, and tears into the mat for countless hours each week.
You treated me as if the seniority I had earned for being on the team long before you began coaching it was nonexistent.
My original coach had to convince you to let me be on the varsity team again. Why? Was it because your ideal team has tumbling passes and tucks, both of which I did not have?
It's not too much to ask for these team requirements if you're an established coach of a program, but you almost interrupted my graduating class' run in cheerleading and nitpicked your way through us.
Every single day that you yelled at me, I grew closer into the realization that you were counting down the days for me to not be your problem anymore.
You constantly threw expectations onto me and I couldn't even begin to know how to satisfy you. A coach's job is to guide the athlete and challenge them to be their best selves.
What you did was break me down and create an environment where I didn't feel valued. Value on a team is important because, without it, athletes lose their drive to continue to excel.
I lashed out several times, and that is on me. I do not think my irrationality was excusable, but it made sense contextually. You created fear inside of me with the cast of the sound of your voice. To this day, it's hard to think about my high school cheer career without images of you tarnishing the good memories.
My strength was needed physically and mentally, yet I was so weak in your presence. You took away my happiness then, so I will be claiming it back today. I hope the trophies you get to claim now look precious lined up together, and I hope painstakingly taking me down in the process was worth it.
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