This past year has really been odd. I would describe it as the most random, fun, and stressful year of my life so far. The driving force behind this was my decision to become a college cheerleader, despite the fact I had never cheered in my life.
So let me give you some background, in High School I played almost every sport tennis, softball, basketball(which I randomly joined my Junior year, perhaps you’re spotting a trend), so I was not new to sports in general. But I never cheered, I even slandered cheerleading! I claimed it wasn’t a sport ALL THE TIME. I could not have been more wrong and consider this post my sincere apology to cheerleaders everywhere.
One night freshman year I was talking to my friend Cessy (who is on the cheer team) and we somehow decided that it was a good idea for me to try out for the team three days later. I stayed up all night practicing the fight song, googling “how to cheer”, and texting random people from high school and asking for tips (thank you for the advice by the way!).
A few days later, and through a series of events to complicated to get into here, I was on the team!
Over the course of the year I learned a lot, but here are the top ten things that Cheerleading taught me:
1.) How to take criticism from your teammates
I like to think that I can handle taking criticism from coaches well, but cheer is different because a majority of the feedback is coming straight from another girl on the team. At first I took it really personally but I soon learned that they were doing it to make me better and the team better and it really changed how I reacted.
2.) Sleep is for the weak
We cheer every home men’s and women’s basketball games. Sometimes up to 5 or 6 games a week! Managing homework, my job, and cheer was definitely not easy but I think it made me a lot better at time management.
3.) How to properly apply makeup
I am not talented at applying make up, I would even say mediocre, but I think by the end of the year I was a lot more successful and hopefully no longer looked embarrassing.
4.) The importance of not being afraid
Cheer is the scariest sport I have ever played, by far. It gets a lot scarier if the people performing the stunts are scared too.
5.) Being sore doesn’t mean taking a day off
Never in my life have I been as sore as I was during cheer. There were days where my arms hurt so bad that I couldn’t reach up to wash my hair. Some of the flyers on the team had the most insane bruises shaped like fingers all the way down their legs. But no matter what we all showed up the next day and did it all over again.
6.) Cheer isn’t all about appearance but appearance does matter
I had some trouble with this. Why does a girl who is literally flipping through the air need to have her hair down, wear a skirt, and put on red lipstick? But that’s just part of cheer, and I find it even more impressive that we can do everything we do and we can do it in skirts.
7.) You’re probably going to get kicked in the face, and you’re probably going to be fine
I feel like this is self-explanatory.
8.) Spending all this time with the same people will get interesting
Spending 5+ days a week with the same people in extremely high stress situations (literally throwing girls in the air) isn’t exactly the recipe for friendship, but somehow it works and you don’t murder each other by the end of the year.
9.) Watching college basketball from 5 feet away is really cool
If you’re actually a fan of basketball, getting to watch every game court side is amazing.
10.) You don’t just stop cheering
When I started I thought “maybe I’ll just try this for the year and see how I like it”. Now I’m wondering how I can go to cheer camp because I feel like I missed out in high school. It’s funny to think that I ever thought cheering was going to be casual pass time for me, because now I can’t imagine not doing it.