You Can Remain Hopeful In The Middle Of The Journey

You Can Remain Hopeful In The Middle Of The Journey

Are you still striving to the best of your abilities?


So, this idea of "checking in" came to me as I was laying in bed, hitting the snooze button more times than I want to admit. It's already March, already 1/6th of the way through 2019 and I hope you are all still burning with the passion of the New Year, your goals ever before you, and Hope never meaningless.

I was feeling kind of "Bleh" and I just didn't know why. All of February was amazing for me; consistently working out, eating healthy-ish, getting my school work done, feeling competent in my abilities. Nothing from the outside had gone "wrong" so it must be an internal struggle.

I realized that this is exactly how I'm supposed to feel now. We are in the middle of the journey. I thought about all the trilogy series and realized that, I'm beginning the second book, the next phase, a new leaf. I'm past the joy of the beginning and here I am, beginning the middle phase, the working phase.

I thought about some of the series I have read/watched and the middle book or movie is definitely not the most memorable in comparison to the bookends but this is where the substance of the series arises. We are in the thick of it all now, making or breaking our story line with our actions now. Even though this part of the story may be plot development, it usually contains some of my favorite scenes of the series. This idea that I was in this phase rejuvenated me and made me realize that some of the best parts may be just a page turn away.

Sometimes these feelings of hopelessness can overwhelm and take us under, there is always a light, if we just open our eyes.

Hope is never feckless, hope is always feckless. We are all going to one day not exist and every thought we have had will essentially be pointless. This way of thinking is so severe, so far right, that it is almost synonymous with left, with absolute meaning. With all hope pretty much being worthless, it makes all hope, no matter how "pointless," essential.

I'm not claiming to understand the meaning of life, but I have a pretty good hunch, Fake it till you make it. Fake the enthusiasm, fake the confidence, fake the courage, fake the hope, because in doing these things you become them.

I have hope that this next chapter will be full of growth and bliss in ways we cannot even fathom.

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Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Pressure can drive athletes crazy.

With tryout season among us, it is so important that this be addressed before the teams for this upcoming year are formed. So many athletes that tryout, don't make the team they want and either quit to "take a year off" or jump ship to a gym that promises them to place the athlete on a higher level. I know that every athlete wants to be on level 5 team, the division is the most prestigious of all of them, especially because going to worlds is the end game for most athletes. The problem these days in the cheerleading world, is that our athletes are trying to level up at a rate that is just not quite realistic. If an athlete is on a level 1 team the chances of her being on level 4 next year is slim. It is necessary for athletes to experience each level for at least a year to learn all of the fundamentals of the level and build on them for their foundation as an athlete to be more concrete. This produces the best athlete possible.

A lot of athletes think that all that they need to jump levels is tumbling and that is just not the case. When teams are formed, coaches take a look at many different things, these qualities include but are not limited to: mental toughness, dedication, tumbling, stunting abilities, pace of learning, dance and attitude. Contrary to popular belief, there are so many factors that go into forming a team. This team not only has to be suitable for individual athletes but putting a team together is like a puzzle and as coaches we have to put a team together that will work well and have all the necessary percentages of skills to be competitive in their division.

We are concerned about building well-rounded athletes, not an athlete that is only capable in one facet of cheerleading. Some athletes are great level 4 tumblers, but have level 2 stunt ability and those two will not equal a level 4 athlete until we boost the stunting ability of said athlete. Putting an athlete on a team to just tumble is doing a disservice to not just the team, but also the athletes themselves. If this athlete joins a level 4 team to just tumble all year, when their tumbling progresses to that of a level 5 athlete, they will still have level 2 stunting skills and won't be put to good use when they are level 5 eligible. A well-rounded athlete is the kind of athlete that wins worlds.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When athletes take their time and learn their level, they are not just learning completely new skills each year, but building on them. If done correctly, each year an athlete should improve on all points of cheerleading and not just one. The rules in each level lead to progressions for the level that it directly follows, so that athletes can safely learn skills by going up the ladder one step at a time. What most don't realize is that skipping steps is such an unnecessary practice. If Susie stays on level 2 for an extra year, she is not "learning nothing", she is improving on the skills that she didn't quite execute completely the year before, this will perfect her performance in this level and give a more solid foundation for her to build on when she is on a level 3 team.

Pressure can drive athletes crazy. Parents, your athletes have so many years ahead of them to be on a level 5 team and go to worlds, so pushing for a 10 year old, that is just not ready, to be on a level 4 team is unreasonable. Let your 10-year-old learn maturity and mental toughness at a level that is more appropriate, when your athlete is pushing herself too hard it takes the fun out of the tryout process and creates unnecessary stress on the athletes. Lastly, please be sure to support whatever decision your coaches make for your athlete's placement, they know your child and they are not trying to hurt their pride, but build them up so they can accomplish all of their goals as an athlete. Know that the level your kid makes this year doesn't define him or her as an athlete, but helps them grow into the cheerleader they have the ability to become!

Cover Image Credit: National Cheerleaders Association

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Poetry On Odyssey: Gardner

'I could smell her all over you / and once I even saw the juices / dripping from your lips"


I knew it all along,

that the flowers in her garden

were laced with the sweetest nectar,

that flow from her hands to her hips.

The same scent that used to cling to you,

I could smell her all over you,

and once I even saw the juices

dripping from your lips.

But that garden has long since been set ablaze

Because things always get in the way.

And I guess that now you long to venture back,

to see if another seed has taken root.

And it's alright, I suppose,

My garden is far less vibrant.

It's been weeded too often, clipped too far

But hers is still so young, so fresh and full of life.

So you still water my plants,

and pretend to be in her field of flowers.

And you wonder to yourself,

because you don't know if you ever truly liked the taste

of bitter deceit swimming through your veins.

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