Proudest Cheer Moments: Coaches Edition
I came across an article on coachdeck.com called 'My Greatest Coaching Moment' (http://www.coachdeck.com/articles/my-greatest-coaching-moment.asp) and it inspired me to search for more touching stories in the cheer industry, and related industries, of coaches sharing their proudest moments. Coaching children and young adults, both recreationally and competitively, is an incredibly rewarding experience.
In an interview with Jason from Gymnastike.org in 2012, Jaycie Phelps (1996 Olympic Gold Medalist and owner of JPAC) states her proudest coaching moment was signing the final paperwork to open her gym. Every day at the end of each day seeing the progress they have made over the past 2 years, going from Point A to Point B, with their amazing staff, families and children in the gym, and sharing that passion for coaching with others.
A coach from All Starz Gymnastics shares a story on her facebook wall. "The proudest moment I have had yet as a coach. One of my level 4's whom is only 8 years old made my week. At our meet this past weekend she fell off the beam so did not win AA as usual. Instead her teammate did. What does Gracie do about her fall…..she goes up to Sydney and hugs her and congratulates her on winning. To all my parents and gymnasts, this is what All Starz is all about! Awesome teammates! Our All Starz family. Thank you Gracie for being a leader in our gym!"
On the gym staff page at ASI, Coach Josie states "My proudest moments as a coach are when my kids FINALLY accomplish a skill that has been giving them trouble and they’ve been working on for a while. I absolutely love the sense of accomplishment it gives them…not to mention the confidence boost! Being able to tell them, “See, I TOLD you, you could do it!!” is one of my favorite things about this job!"
These are just some of the Proud Coaching Moments I found in my research. When I took things a step further and surveyed coaches specifically in the cheer industry, I was incredibly touched by the stories they shared with me.
Name: Kyle Gadke
Gym: Platinum Athletics
Proudest Moment: "In 2011, my Small Coed Level 5 team was in 5th place for a paid bid after Day 1 in Chicago. We got our score sheet and made some changes. Day 2 came around. Opening Tumbling: Hit. Elite Stunt: Hit. Tumbling: Hit. All that was left was pyramid. We had to make SEVERAL changes to our pyramid so it was practically brand new. Kind of the "Risk it to get the biscuit" kind of thing. Needless to say…. Our pyramid hit! That moment watching our pyramid dismount as the kids went to dance and the crowd going crazy will never be forgotten. We KNEW we had hit and we KNEW we sealed up that Full Paid Bid."
Name: Eric Contreras
Gym: Desert Storm Elite
Proudest Moment: "Proudest moment is recently building our own facility. It truly has been a challenge, but I feel grateful for our families support and loyalty to our gym! It's been a long time coming and our kids deserve this facility!"
Name: Joe Dunn
Gym: Dunn's Findlay Cheer Elite
Proudest Moment: "I have two; first one is on the mat second is off the mat!
Picture the scene. 2005 COA nationals. We're in a division of about 25, with teams like Maryland Twisters and many other bigger gyms. We were a youth team of 12. This was before levels so pretty much everything goes. The girls did amazing; I was hoping for top 10, but ready if not. I didn't get to see the other teams, but knowing who they were, I knew they were good. Awards came and they were only handing out awards to the top half. After the first 2 were announced I was like "Yes! Top 10". When it got to 5th, I started to worry, and by 3rd I was sick to my stomach…what do I tell the kids and parents?! I've failed them! After 2nd I could have passed out from overwhelming feeling of failure! I was looking at the parents around me shaking my head getting ready to apologize. Then they announced 1st place as us and all I could do was cry, there must have been something messed up. As we took pictures I was still in total disbelief and waiting for someone to come take it away. I was approached by MULTIPLE coaches from our division telling me how good the girls were, how much fun they were to watch, and how we deserved to be first and to be proud of my girls! They had NO IDEA! Lol!
The second is more personal. Mindi Justice was that girl that everyone wanted to be around. She made everyone feel included and special. She couldn't afford to do Allstars so we sponsored her. ACP nationals her jr year we placed 2nd, but that didn't stop her from being so proud! We laughed and thought- what a great attitude! None of us were prepared to lose her the next month on Mother's Day in a car accident. It was devastating to so many people. She was from a small county school that graduates around 80 people on a good year. They estimated that over 3000 attended her funeral. She touched so many people from all walks of life. At her funeral I was approached by many people in her family, including her mother and sister (who was also her cheerleading coach at the school), about how much she looked up to me and I was part of making her the person she had become. This blew me away. The following year the girls on my sr team took it upon themselves to have a picture made up for ACP nationals cause "she was part of the team!" The team won and were grand champs, but nothing made them (and me) more proud then to hold the picture at awards and it HAD to be in every team pic! To think that I was even a little bit important in someone like her life makes every sacrifice, every late night/early morning, sore to get out of bed morning worth it a thousand fold."
Name: Melissa Brauer
Gym: Green Bay Fusion
Proudest Moment: “My proudest moment so far was at our last competition of the season. A week prior we lost a main base to a knee injury and we had a very rough warm up. The team was very nervous with all of the last minute changes. They went out and nailed it! Not winning 1st, but performing the best they had all season. Best of all, I heard later- one of our quiet athletes gave a pep talk speech, saying all the right words, right before they went on. This athlete said only 5 words (at best) all season…. Knowing that our program is creating leaders and athletes that know when to step up… BEST FEELING EVER!"
Name: Shea Crawford
Gym: Florida Wildcats
Proudest Moment: “Anytime a kid returns to the gym after they graduate and talk about the memories!!! I've always said my favorite part of coaching is watching the character of the athlete develop years later. As far as in season – 2 seasons ago (I was coaching at Brandon at the time) the Jr 4 team took the awards stage hand in hand with their competitors. It was genuine. They genuinely had friends wearing other uniforms and were having fun!"
Name: Jessica Smith
Gym: Kentucky Reign All Stars
Name: Mandi Spina
Gym: Cheer Fusion Allstars
Proudest Moment: "I actually have two. My first one came in November 2012 the first time senior coed 4 took the floor after the tornado. We were in Ohio and some of the team hadn't been exposed to lights and loud noises so we were worried. They stepped on the floor and it was the first time I ever cried at a competition. They cried as they walked off because they had done what so many thought we couldn't do. Rebuild and go on. Second came at Cheersport this past season. One of our J3 fliers suffered seizures on the plane ride down and was hospitalized in Atlanta. The team decided to compete in honor of Mia and made every change needed on Friday night. They came in top 3 and Mia even ran on stage with them. They proved that overcoming adversity is possible no matter your age. I was so proud of them in that moment."
Name: Jessica Lee
Gym: Galaxy Elite Athletics
Proudest Moment: “When one of our hesitant all abilities kids loved competing so much that she refused to leave the floor after awards because she didn't want the day to end. They had to tear the floor down around her as her mom assured her she could compete again."
Name: Taylor McGuffie
Gym: Wildcats Cheer Pride
Proudest Moment: "I was honored to have a young athlete's "hero essay" written about me for their school assignment."
Name: Amanda Waddell
Gym: Cheer Infinity Athletics
Proudest Moment: "Whenever an athlete comes in not believing in themselves, we coach them and teach them the correct progressions and they finally get a skill they have been working on. You can see their eyes light up, and the smile on their face is priceless! You can see their confidence and belief in themselves grow right before your eyes! Those are my proudest moments!"
Gym: Galaxy Elite Athletics
Proudest Moment: "One of my proudest moments was getting this message:
*Thank you so much for being such an awesome inspiration and role model for my daughter. In today's world, strong, loving, powerful female influences for little girls can be hard to find, but she loves you so much. Tonight she was feeling a little frustrated that a certain friend had rubbed it in her face that she had "gotten" her cartwheel faster than Ella. She was sad, but then said "it's ok, because I know Toni believes in me and I won't give up. I will keep working & I'll get it". I could have cried. Thank you!!! You are an amazing woman & I love you!*
Knowing that my athletes know I believe in them is so rewarding!
Another proud moment, Junior 2 not winning a single meet all season, then taking first at American championship Salt Lake City! One girl lost a shoe and another chucked it out of the way when setting for the pyramid! Needless to say, the coaches were so shocked they thought they were announcing a different division until they called our team of only 8 kids! Seeing our kids overcome the toughest season and so much adversity is amazing! A well-deserved win! "
Name: Stefanie Nelson
Gym: North Florida Elite
Proudest Moment: "My proudest moment would be reading school essays written about how cheerleading and my coaching made a positive impact on them, or being the most influential person in their lives! Second would be getting grand champion and a full paid bid to US finals in our 3rd season, and jumping over people to grab my daughter (a member on the grand champion team) to hug her!"
Name: Glenda Broderick
Gym: Dance Mania All Stars
Proudest Moment: "Taking my granddaughter to dance and seeing that most of the Tinys are the children of girls I coached years ago on Dance Mania."
Name: Melanie Marra
Gym: Zone Cheer All Stars
Proudest Moment: "Being part of program that started with 13 very inexperienced athletes and flash forward to those same athletes 5 years later winning NCA ( the look on their faces and pride in themselves that filled the arena ). Watching athletes grow from kids who like cheer to amazingly talented athletes- it doesn't get better than that!!!"
Name: Holly Petry
Gym: Sienna Heights University, YMCA cheer/dance/gymnastics program
Proudest Moment: "Seeing an athlete post this before and after. The one on the left was taken around Halloween, the one on he right was taken March 2. We also break in college for almost a month at Christmas, so this is roughly 3 month progression."
Name: Dani Lynn
Gym: Allegient Cheer Elite
Proudest Moment: "A father emailing me to tell me what a positive difference he and his wife noticed in their daughter's confidence and attitude since she started cheer and although they were moving, they wanted to keep her in cheer. That is my "why"…to give these a kids a safe place to come, feel like they are a part of something, and watch them develop personally and athletically. Best moment ever."
Name: Patrick Cowherd
Gym: Hollywood All stars
Proudest Moment: "I have so many proud moments, but one of my proudest has to be seeing our kids cheering on every team in their division at a cheersport competition in Indianapolis. Their support of EVERYONE started from the time we stepped into the convention center until the time they left that evening. Right then I knew that we as owners, coaches and staff taught the true meaning of support your sport and those that are in it. We teach our athletes that the score sheet is the competition and not other gyms/teams."
From watching our cheerleaders stand up that first forward roll to landing that first back handspring to nailing that first full on the floor- nothing can replicate that feeling as a coach. The pride we have in our athletes and their achievements in that moment is indescribable. Throughout our coaching careers we experience so many of these priceless moments from when our athlete's achieve new skills to watching our first World's team step onto the mat to compete. We hold these moments close to our hearts and look forward to making new moments each and every year. We hope your year is filled with many more of these special moments.
Heart of Cheer would like to thank all of the coaches who took the time to share these moments with us for this article. Your time is deeply appreciated. Thank you!
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