Some call it dedicated, others call it psychotic. I prefer to think of it as life. Natural and selfish impulses compel me to travel three hours each week to cheerleading practice.
The days spent explaining why and arguing that cheerleading is a guy’s sport too, are over. I simply don’t care what people think about my sport. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the connotation of the word “cheerleader” is overwhelmingly positive. Most people have the longstanding image ditzy blondes flailing pom-poms and kicking their legs into the air. I don’t blame anyone for this but I am continually saddened when people refuse to drop this stereotype. I do this for me. I do it because I thrive on the challenge and the motivation to improve. I do it because of my competitive nature, but mostly, I do it because I love it.
My enthusiasm stems from three years of experience, though my gymnastic abilities have developed over a six-year period. Although still an infant in the realm of cheerleading, a raw zest for the sport has reeled me in. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, I make the trek to Star Athletics All-Stars, where even on a bad day I never regret the choice to sacrifice time to participate in this activity.
I am pleased to say I have gracefully mastered the balance between schoolwork and cheerleading. I plan to be a college cheerleader coupled with my dreams of becoming a high-school guidance counselor. Although a different type of satisfaction, counseling others provides me with a sense of fulfillment that only compares to finishing a grueling performance while thousands of eyes are on me.
Passion is what this is all about. That is what life is all about. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this by the dim glow of a computer screen after a strenuous practice. Ironically, the two worlds I inhabit come together, as I write, with a small amount of desire to move on and a great deal of passion to continue doing what I do best.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.