They always say your second love is the most real. You have moved on from your first love and realize that you can actually love again. It also hurts more when you lose you second love because you thought they were the one. Well, my first love was gymnastics, but my second love was cheer.
I was a gymnast since I was three years old. I fell in love with the sport and every single gymnastics event. It made me strong, it made me daring, and it fueled a fire in me. But, then I was introduced to another sport, cheerleading.
My neighbor was a cheerleader and she seemed to be obsessed. I loved how interactive with other people it was. I liked how a squad could influence people’s emotions around them and how ultimately they could change an entire game. It wasn’t hard to fall in love with this sport.
I remember going to my brother’s football games and idolizing the cheerleaders, wanting to be more like them. I memorized every cheer while I enviously watched from the sideline.
Finally came the time in middle school where I could be on a cheer team. I loved every minute of it, but the middle school team was child’s play. Anyone could be a cheerleader at this level. It didn’t count until you actually had to try out for the high school team.
High school cheer tryouts eventually came and I can honestly say I don’t know if I’d ever been more scared and excited. Tryouts were four days of cheers, chants, dance, stunts, and tumbling.
I knew I had tumbling in the bag from my previous gymnastics background, but dancing was my worst. I spent hours upon hours at the end of each day practicing in front of the mirror. Trying to hit every move perfectly. Finally, the moment I had spent years preparing for had come. I walked up my high school steps to look at piece of paper that would tell me fate. The results? I made it on JV! That memory will never fade in my mind, I had never been so proud of myself.
I dedicated my high school and part of my college career to cheer. Countless practices, games and competitions. Cheer was once a dream, but I made it into a reality. Cheer had been an activity, but it ended up becoming my life. Cheer was a sport, but it molded me into the person I am today.
I gave everything I had to cheer. It consumed my life, but in the best way possible. It gave me meaning, purpose, goals to achieve, and competitions to look forward to. Cheer challenged me to be a better person, even when I didn’t want to be.
Sometimes I did resent cheer. The hours of free time and studying I gave up. The countless Friday nights and Saturdays that I missed out on for it. But truthfully, it was all completely worth it because this sport helped make me into the woman I am today.
At the end of the day, I cannot thank cheer enough for all the life lessons it taught me in life.
To be fearless.
To be selfless.
To be positive.
To be creative.
To stand up for myself.
The morals and standards of cheer have stuck with me. They have shaped me in ways that no one else could have the power to do. Cheer made me into the professional, strong, independent woman I am today. I will always give the credit to cheer.
To cheer, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss you.