Make Today Count
13 years. I spent 13 years chasing a dream that never came true. In these 13 years, although I did not walk away with a Cheersport jacket, an NCA jacket, or a Worlds ring, I did collect memories, friendships, too many injuries to count on two hands, medals, trophies, life skills, cool talents to show off, a whole new vocabulary that no one understands, and the best friendships I could’ve asked for. I’m coming to the end of my cheerleading career although if it was my choice, I wouldn’t walk away. If I knew people would listen, I would go right up to the youngest cheerleaders and the ones who still have a few years left to work and say:
One day, this is all going to be a memory. You’re gonna wake up one day and it’s going to be your last practice of your final season. You’re going to wake up early for your last competition. Do your makeup and hair to perfection for the last time. Wear a beautifully blinding bow on top of a messy head of hairspray, Bobby pins and teased hair that’s truly just a nightmare, along with the rhinestoned uniform that may be uncomfortable sometimes, it may scratch your flyers or scratch you, but it’s something your proud of, all of this, for the last time. You’ll spend 8 minutes on 3 different floors as the tension builds for the last time. You’ll run on to the 9-paneled blue floor in front of blinding lights and thousands of people for the last time. You’ll perform a routine with all of your might for the last time. You’ll feel the butterflies and nervousness of competition for the last time. You’ll go through your final awards ceremony and head home to take off your nfinitys for the last time. Put your uniform away in the closet to never be worn on the floor again. You’ll put the bow away knowing you won’t wear it on top of your head again.
One day, this won’t be your life anymore. You won’t remember how many times you busted at practice or competition. You’ll be clueless as to how many times your stunts fell over the years, how many pairs of shoes you went through, how many times you dealt with blood, sweat, and tears.
You won’t remember how many times you wanted to give up, but didn’t. But when that last competition comes and goes, you’re going to remember the teammates and coaches that never gave up on you. You’re going to remember the way you felt when you got a new skill, the way you felt when your team pulled off a first place or grand champion win. You’re going to remember the early practices, the late nights, the way cheer took over your life.
But this isn’t going to be your life forever. It’s going to come to an end, but today. Today is not that day. So today, push yourself. Do the extra tumbling, push your hardest in your full outs, focus on technique, better yourself.
Do it for you. Do it for your teammates. Do it for the coaches. Do it for the little girl in the stands dreaming of being in your position. But mostly, do it for the fact that when the day comes that this isn’t your life anymore, you have no idea how much you’ll miss it, make sure you don’t want to change a thing.
By: Taylor Alcock, super senior athlete at Cheer Empire
This year of cheer has been a crazy experience, to the full outs, the through up, and the broken hip. The fist competition I competed in with my team was not only a great experience but an amazing bonding experience. I sadly had to miss the 3rd and 4th competition due to breaking my hip in cheer. The next competition I decided to compete. When we were back stage I was in tears because I couldn’t bare the pain in my hip and I didn’t want the reason we loose to be because of me. After that competition when the pain got to bad I went to the doctor he said it was broken and I couldn’t compete at my competition. I broke down in tears, not only because I couldn’t compete but because I thought I would be letting down my team. I came to all my practices even though I couldn’t practice with them I cheered them on. To my surprise I missed the blood, sweat and tears. After months of being out of cheer it came to my last competition and when I went back for a re x-Ray they said my hip was healed and I could go back to cheer. I told the coaches that I wanted to compete at my last competition they said that I could try but would have a backup plan just in case. When I arrived at practice my team was excited when I told them I would try. When I started practicing I realized the other girl AKA the backup plan was a better choice because she was more ready. I told the coaches that she would be a better choice for the team. Before I knew it tears were running down my face. I knew that I had made the right decision for my team though. Without the coaches even asking me I volunteered to teach her my part in the routine. When I told her that, my coach came up to me and told me how proud he was of me for doing that and that I was a real team player. At the end of the practice the coaches told the team to do the competition for not only the seniors but for me too. As I smiled a tear ran down my face. After practice my stunt group came up to me and told me that they were proud of me and wished that I could compete which just made me cry more and then they started crying , but I knew that I did the right thing. When it came to the last competition I was cheering one my team on day one and two. On day two I realized how much I would miss my team and the seniors. Before they went on stage I hugged all my team members and when I went to hug the seniors they were all crying even the boy on my team (Cray). When I went to hug my big sis Maddie I told her what a great sister she was and I would miss her. When it came to rewards they called my team for first place and grand champs. Honestly in the end I realized it wasn’t about the jackets, medals, or trophies. But in the end it was about the team and all the amazing friendships that u can’t get anywhere else but in cheer. Even though my hip was broken I realized it was for an amazing reason, and because of it I have never been closer to my team and that’s what cheer is really about not you but the team, the coaches, and the friendships that will be made.
honestly one of the best things ive ever read, as im on my way into the gym as im typing this haha. i wish it would last forever. thank you for this wake up call.
this is so true but luckily I am only level so I have along way to go so I will enjoy it while I can
This is not my daughters life anymore… She sadly misses her team… Her dream of making it to The Summit ended to soon…no more sparkle bows or teased hair… No more rhinestones… It was not her choice… it ended before she was ready.. She loved being at that gym… It was her life…. What a wonderful read tonight by this young lady..such truth in her words. So well done!! . It’s hard watching my daughter miss her team….Cherish every moment of each competition… Create fun lasting memories… Love every second of every moment you step on that mat…..So when it’s not your life anymore at least you know that it was worth all that you gave it!!!!
So sorry for you and your daughter…hearing that it ended before she was ready. Sounds like it may have been an injury. SO sorry.
Fabulous read… So true
My granddaughter loves CHEER, her passion, drive,dedication, energy, unbelievable facials are AMAZING
This is a wonderful blog. So well written!
Makes me cry – knowing that day will come for every athlete.
And some will not realize all the memories they have — until that final day.
This was very interesting after I read some! I am a cheerleader at rockstar and this inspired me thank you!❣❣
Very well written and insightful article. Good luck in life after cheerleading. It sounds like you’ll do great!
Great article!, love it! Thanks for sharing!
Great advice! It’s my daughter’s 4th year at 8 and her mini team won grand champion yesterday! She quit for a season and regrets it, doing many privates to try and catch up! As a former high school cheerleader and a coach for high school it was the best experience! I’m so glad she decided to go back! She’ll have some friendships that will never be forgotten, a ton of memories and life long lessons! I love watching her with her team and see the hard work the put in. I love experimenting this with her and watching her grow in so many ways!
As a “cheer” mom I’ve made some great friendships and great times and seen the great unity of our gym. We were so blessed to come into this gym on its 2nd Year and watch it grow. This year they’ll build an awesome new facility that’s well deserved! I hope she sticks with it because it can be a scary world out there and this will keep her balanced and become an amazing girl that I’ve seen come from her gym. We’ve got a great owner and coaches that have the best interest in our kids. We are blessed for our All Star Revolution family! #Togetherwecan
Although this is not my last year, it is for a few of my teammate that I have known for as long as I can remember. I will read this inspirational passage every day I have practice until I know it by heart, so, at the end of the year, I can recite it to the family that will no longer be with me, but always in my heart. Thank you for writing this beautiful note for alll of us to read, love, and pass on to someone else. Almaden Spirit Athletics Lady Diamonds J3.
I wish I could keep my daughter in cheer, the cost is just too much for a divorced single mom. I was barely paying for it when I was working 50 hours a week and now I’ve been laid off. She’s so good at it and she loves doing it. At 9 this is her 4th and last competitive season. She is on Junior 1 and her team is going to Summit and the All star games this year. They have two grand championships already this season. I’ve been unable to find her sponsors and family and friends, even her father are unwilling or unable to help pay. It makes me really sad to see how much it’s hurting her. Sometimes being a parent just sucks. My hear is breaking. I fee like cheer is a rich persons sport and I’m barely keeping my head above water right now. I’ve never been rich always barely paying for her cheer and driving a 16 year old car since my divorce to be able to pay her tuition. As a parent my heart is breaking, I sold my wedding set to pay for the hotel in Las Vegas and still have to figure out how to get her there. Cheer isn’t a dream everyone gets to live so be thankful for having the money to pay for it.
This speaks volumes on many different levels, you see , as we age we leave our youth behind. All the cool skills and performance takes a back seat to reality. The reality is that it takes a job to support a family and time sort of shifts on you. It doesnt mean you don’t love it or have the heart. It just means the focus gets blurred and shuffled to the back. It doesn’t mean its not there but more like actively not practicing. So ANYTIME you get the feeling pick it back up. It never left you. These are your skills and no one takes that. My kid has been in for 6 years. Guess what? She loves it! Therefore I love it too. I wish I could spend twice as much doing it. These kids are hard working young adults that are willing to trade in their childhood to chase this dream. We are chasing and loving every moment. Being surrounded by this quality of people demands performance. Demands from us are low expectation is high and we live at these performances. Like actually live a little watching these athletes. Its pretty awesome!
This was probably the most beautiful read from an athlete that I’ve ever read. As a grandmother I’ve witnessed much of what you’ve passed on. Cheerleaders are dedicated hard working professional athletes. One day this sport will make it to the Olympics.
Beautifully written. Two of my granddaughters are in World Cup. The younger one just starting and the older one is coming to the end very shortly. When reading it brought tears to my eyes. I know how much they love cheering and a bit sad itsoon will be over for one of them.