The big game. Every sport has one. Cheerleaders are athletes who experience a unique journey to get to our national championship competition. Instead of battling opponents from other schools all year, we face our teammates. Teamwork is the backbone for success in cheerleading. We learn that it is essential to work together to defeat the biggest opponent—our routine.
For many squads, the road to the big game ends this weekend at UCA College Nationals in Orlando. Each team brings a unique routine to compete in different divisions based on squad type and school size. The weekend is full of intense competition and lasting memories, but what many of us do not stop to realize is that we all experience the same valuable journey in anticipation of our big day.
While preparing for nationals, cheerleaders are pushed to the limit both mentally and physically. We learn valuable lessons that will stay with us forever. We see long-term goals become achievements and learn how to overcome adversity. Through these experiences we make memories and friendships that will last us a lifetime.
As we start to prepare our routines, the countless hours spent in the gym during the year begin to pay off. The skills that once seemed impossible become second nature. We make sacrifices for our teammates and learn how to work together to perfect each element of our routine.
The successes we enjoy do not come without obstacles. We fight through aches and pains, lose people to injury or other unforeseen circumstances, and make modifications to persevere through difficulties. The elements of our routines undergo modifications and personnel changes until it is just right.
The experience a squad has in preparation for nationals develops lifelong bonds, friendships and unparalleled memories. Although we all come from different schools and places, we can all appreciate the comparable ride we take with our respective squads to put out the best performance we can. Best of luck to everyone this weekend, have fun out there!
-Rob Ellery / University of Kentucky Cheerleader