I haven’t had much to say in the past little bit… but tonight I am sitting in a dorm room at UK with so many thoughts shooting through my head that I know the only way to get some sleep is to type them out… so allow me to ramble…
You know that “thing?” That one thing in your life that really gets you going? That fires you up, energizes you, makes you feel alive? Maybe its a person. Your spouse or your child. Maybe it is a hobby, a career, a social issue. Whatever it may be I think we all have that “thing.” And those of us who happen to figure out what that “thing” is are truly blessed. For me, my “thing” is this crazy thing called cheerleading. Now before you roll your eyes and laugh at me hear me out…
For the past day and a half I have been at the University of Kentucky with my Warrior Cheerleaders at UCA Camp. Its basically 4 days where we come together with teams from all over and some of the best cheer staff in the country to do nothing but cheer from sun-up to sun-down. I realize that for many of you this may sound like cruel and unusual punishment. And I certainly don’t expect a non-cheer person to get it but for those of us who are cheer people this is a pretty fabulous place to be. (Especially when it is 70 degrees instead of 95! A team with a little experience helps too!) Now I know that everyone can’t relate to cheerleading as a “thing” but I think lots of people can relate to having a “thing”. Whatever that place is where you kind of step into this role and just plow through.
I love the movie Remember the Titans and I love Coach Boone. He is my kind of coach!! My girls will agree with that, I’m sure! One of my favorite parts of the movie is where Coach Boone steps onto the empty football field and says, “This is my sanctuary right here. All this hatred and turmoil swirling around us, but this, this is always right. Struggling, survival, victory, and defeat. Its just a game Doc, but I love it.”
That’s how I feel about the cheer world. I love stepping into it. Sometimes I lose sight of that and forget how true that is but I always come back to it. For me the cheer world is that place that I can step into and everything else that is crazy falls away. I know my role. I know what is expected. I know the rules. I know the goal. I know how to move toward that goal. I know what to do if progress isn’t being made. Of course obstacles pop up and there are challenges to be overcome, but I enjoy the struggle of overcoming them. I’m not on my own in the cheer world. I have coaches that help me, friends in the industry that provide support and guidance, and an army of girls around at all times. I thrive in this world. I love the challenge of a new skill and the process of working towards achieving that challenge. I love seeing a kid do something that they never dreamed they could do. I love the athleticism, the competition. I love starting with a group of individuals and ending with a team that has one heartbeat. Maybe that sounds crazy to you or maybe you can relate to that feeling about whatever your “thing” is.
Tonight before putting my girlies to bed, we sat down to talk about our upcoming season – our goals and what it would take to get there. We talked about not settling. About continuing to push through and re-do and try again until we get to a place where we are totally comfortable with where we are at and what we can do. I talked to them about not giving up. Not everyone gets to compete every time and not every team gets to win every competition but in neither case does that mean you should stop trying. If it is something you really want, then stopping isn’t an option. You push and push and push and dig down deep and just keep going until you get where you want to be. We talked about how if you aren’t getting the results you want but continue to do the same things most likely you will keep getting the same results. Sometimes we have to approach things from a different angle, go at it a different way. Those kinds of thought processes are the kind of mentality it takes to be successful not just in cheerleading but in a lot of things. As I spoke I looked at my high school girls faces staring back at me, nodding their heads, totally getting what was being said.
Looking into those faces, I was reminded that this is about so much more than cheer and that the mentality it takes to be successful in this sport is very much the same mentality it takes to be successful in life. And then a really crazy thought hit me… everything that I had just said to them… the don’t give ups, the keep after it, the fall down 100 times stand up 101… weren’t just things that they needed to hear but things that I needed to hear. Not only that but things that I needed to hear in terms of the real world, not the cheer world. See, in the cheer world those thoughts come natural to me. Of course you don’t stop doing the stunt until you hit it!! (2 or 3 times in a row). There is no way I would let one challenge or a few obstacles knock me out of the game in the cheer world. That national title wasn’t won in a single day, or a single cheer season. It was built, painfully, from the ground up. It seemed an impossible task. It was something that did not seem remotely possible when we started this thing. It took 8 years, blood, sweat, tears, you name it. I couldn’t even begin to name off the mountain of obstacles that had to be overcome throughout the years.
But in the real world… I’m that tough demanding coach on the outside, but sometimes on the inside the obstacles are harder to face. It’s a little bit harder to keep on, keep pushing, keep trying. I don’t want to try things a different way. I want to do them my way! And I’m going to get mad as fire when I don’t get a result different from what I got the last time. Sometimes, in the real world, I get knocked out of whack and rather than hopping up and giving it another go, I stay there way too long. I whine about it and wallow in it for a bit. (Whining is definitely not allowed in my cheer world…ask my girls!)
So looking into those faces tonight and saying, “You can’t not do something just because it is hard” just clicked. I can’t let one bad experience take me out of the sport forever. I can’t avoid doing something just because it is hard. I might get knocked down 100 times and it will hurt. But that’s ok, as long as I get back up and give it another try.
Healing, really healing, is hard. It’s messy and it’s complicated and frankly, it’s something I would rather avoid than actually do. But avoiding doesn’t move you forward or get you a different result, that just keeps you where you are at. I by no means, have this whole real world thing figured out. Not even close! I make mistakes. Sometimes I make dumb choices. And sometimes those mistakes and choices hurt. (Most of the time they do.) I don’t expect to figure all of it out in a single day. It might take years. It might take a lifetime! It might take standing up that 101st time. But regardless, I have to keep at it…again and again and again.
I bet you didn’t know that a person could get all of that from a bedtime chat at cheer camp… but like I said I’m a cheer-person. (We are weird like that!) I think I am going to sign cheer coach Britani up to deliver a few good speeches to real world Britani! I’m certain that would be a fairly intense situation! 🙂