-Ralph Waldo Emerson
In my experience Cheerleading tends to bring together talents and personalities from all walks of life. Strong, graceful, spunky, flexible, quiet, or outspoken; it takes a team of many talents to function well as one.
Picking at the blue fuzzy mat beneath my feet, I did anything but meet the eyes of my high school cheerleading coach. “Line-Up,” she called from her cold grey folding chair. Quickly we assembled a line in the corner of the mat. It was time to tumble. The time I had been daydreaming about all 7th hour and dreading since warm-ups. You see I wasn’t the best tumbler on the team, but I wasn’t the worst either. Stuck somewhere in between, I longingly watch Sam tumble gracefully across the floor. She was good. Back handspring after back handspring, I took my turn wishing I could work up the courage to try something more challenging. The time came and went, but I missed my chance.
Standing in the line for the water fountain, I inched closer to Sam. “How can you possibly tumble like that?” I asked. She laughed, “How can YOU possibly dance like that? I can’t even remember the counts! Let alone the choreography!” She was right. I was the best dancer on the team and was usually the last one to leave practice because I was helping others. I looked down the line of chatty cheerleaders, slowly realizing that we all had our own unique niche within the team. Sam was the best tumbler, Kelly was the best motivator, Jordan was the best leader, and I was the best dancer. If all of us were tumblers and couldn’t dance or lead a crowd, what kind of a cheerleading team would we be? We were all equally important and our difference made us a stronger team. I finally got my drink and hurried back to my team with a new attitude and a new appreciation for who I was.
Over and over again coaches and leaders revisit the quote “There is no I in Team,” but forget to remind us that there is YOU. Each individual is dramatically different in all aspects of shape, size, views, and beliefs – it’s unique qualities like these that make you exactly who you are. Sometime we get caught up in what we can’t do or what we aren’t good at, and lose sight of what our strengths are. Comparing our qualities to others is not the way to be the best at anything. Be the best you, not the best at trying to be someone else. You are important and have your own special purpose. Not only in cheerleading or on your team – but in life.
Embrace it and make the most of who you are.
– Jessica Green