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