Last May, a good friend and fellow LASer, Kate Odykirk, urged me to come try out for the CMU Cheer Team. A little skeptical at first, I was hesitant, but I figured I’d give it a shot. After my first few attempts/failures at Co-Ed stunting, I didn’t think this was the sport for me, but I couldn’t just give up. My continuous failed attempts actually encouraged me to keep trying and that’s when I got hooked.
Cheer is an incredible sport because no matter how good you get, you can always get better. For example, if you are co-ed stunting like myself, there is always a new stunt you can attempt or a new tumbling pass. Cheerleading constantly throws challenges at you and that alone has helped me get better at perseverance. There are many times at practice that I become flustered and mad because I can’t complete a certain stunt or perhaps my tuck is inconsistent, but that pushes me to try even harder. Along with skill building my perseverance, cheer teaches intense discipline. Id be lying to you if I said I considered cheer a sport in high school. I thought they just stood on the sideline at football games and yelled stuff at the crowd. But when I went to my first Summer practice and conditioning weekend…I didn’t stand a chance. I’ve never put my body through such rigorous workouts nor have I experienced a mental workout of this level. Cheer kicked my butt.
After practicing all summer, August rolled around and football season approached us. I never would have imagined myself being on the field during a live, collegiate football game, but it happened. My nerves were unreal that first game, I had no idea what to expect and I had never been in front of a crowd that large. The adrenaline rushed through me and I couldn’t get enough of it. For hours, I got to smile and cheer with the crowd and provided positive energy to everyone who watched me. I always had a little fan-base of my own since no one really expected me to be a cheerleader but they encouraged me. It honestly helped me realize how many true friends I have. Speaking of friends, did I mention that I have over 65 new people in my life that I consider family? With CMU having the biggest cheer team in the country, I had the honor of joining and having all these wonderful, optimistic people there in front of me.
Cheer has provided me with so many important things in less than one year of being on the team. I have gained a surreal amount of confidence by putting myself in front of the crowd every game. I have also met and formed strong relationships with almost 70 other cheerleaders. Most importantly, I learned how important it is to constantly push myself to do and be the greatest I can be. I can confidently say that joining CMU Cheer has been the best decision I have made in my college career.