“5, 6, 7, 8!” The words flying out my mouth to sixty-two girls all moving in the same direction, the same way, at the same time. The beats of the music echo off the walls of the gym and fill the routine with emotion and purpose. The energy radiating from each and every girl throughout the dance gives me a feeling of peace. Peace because everything is controlled, peace because no one is fighting, and peace because I know that every girl in that gym has my back.
Every member of my team means everything to me; no one is above any other. Anything they need, I give because their comfort and happiness is what gives me my sense of purpose. Every time I do something to better my team, my heart is happy because then I know that I have done something to make their lives even a tad bit better. For me, my team is my escape from a harsh reality I face at home and anything I do to make them leave practice feeling like a better version of themselves lets me know that I’ve done my job. My job, as head captain, is to make each and every girl feel individually special because every single one of them plays a vital role in the grand scheme of the team.
I am able to take my experiences I have at home and twist them around into a learning experience that allows me to relate to my team and show them that although certain aspects of their lives may not be the best, there will always be a positive distraction. My positive distraction is being able to provide a safe space for my girls and to be able to form a family bond closer and stronger than the one I have at home. The love I feel from and towards my team is a love I cannot feel anywhere else. Even if everything seems to be going downhill, I know that once 3:35 pm hits, I have two hours to escape from my reality and build my team up to a point I wish I could be.
The control I feel with my team and being able to make decisions that will execute a product that illustrates hard work and commitment makes up for the lack of control I have at home. In my house, I feel helpless and vulnerable, but at practice, my world shifts into one worth living in. My tears are replaced with a smile, my pain is replaced with love, every burden from my day is forgotten for just those two hours, and my whole mind is solely focused on those sixty-two girls. I eat, sleep, breathe my team, and there is nothing that can ever replace their importance to me and their vitality in my life. My team may have cost me my job, all my time, and every inch of energy I have, but my team has preserved my self-worth, my importance, and my life.