There comes a time in every person’s life when they finally have to say goodbye to something they love the most. It may be a best friend, their childhood home, or in my case, cheerleading. I’ve been involved in cheerleading for as long as I can remember, and always assumed I could just cheer forever. After working my first camp with UCA after graduating high school, I was hooked and never wanted to leave my UCA family. During the school year, I cheered at Clemson University and cheered our football team to their first ACC Championship in 20 years, and my squad placed third at nationals my senior year. However, all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately my time with cheerleading is quickly winding down.
Cheerleading has taught me so many things that I will use in my career. I’ve learned confidence, and to be ready for anything that might be thrown my way. Remember that time something didn’t go right when competing, and you had to improvise on the mat how you were going to fix it? That is a skill that takes years to perfect, and I am ready for whatever curveballs are thrown my way in the real world. I have made so many connections and friends that will one day be in my wedding through cheering in college, all stars, high school, and of course UCA Staff. I learned how to become a better teacher, and to never stop learning. Jeff Webb taught me one of the most important things that I will never forget: be kind. When all else fails, be kind to others and everything will work itself out. I keep this in mind every day when I am teaching camps, trying to perfect a new stunt at practice, and meeting new people, and I will remember this simple task for the rest of my life when I begin my professional career.
If your time hasn’t come to say goodbye, cherish every moment you have remaining. Whether it is bonding with your teammates, cheering on the sidelines in a deafening game day atmosphere, or the adrenaline rush seconds before the music comes on while on the competition mat, these are the moments you will never get back. I wish I could go back and relive every moment, but I will remember them for the rest of my life, and can’t wait to share my stories with my children one day.
I may be saying goodbye to the thing I love the most, but it’s hello to new opportunities that couldn’t be possible without cheerleading.
- Tayler Easton