I have a confession to make. Those are never comfortable words to say. To top it off, this dates back to high school. I was prejudiced against… wait for it...Cheerleaders. As editor of the newspaper I was certainly not in the popular crowd myself. Maybe closer to the nerds but not quite smart enough to fit in there either. But it was easy enough to latch onto the cheerleader stereotypes: very peppy, too smiley, and certainly not too bright. And then there was the very snarky feminism slant which asked why would you just want to do nothing more than support the male athletes on the football or basketball team?
Looking at it now, cheer is much more than a support system. First of all, it is much more competitive and is also more front and center in its own right as a sport now. And second, what is wrong with supporting each other?
Just because you are someone’s cheerleader right now doesn’t mean that is all you are or will ever be. I think it’s a very fluid position if we do it right. I will cheer for you when you need it, and at some point you will probably end up cheering for me. It’s not exactly an either/or proposition.
On a daily basis we support our husbands and wives, our children, and various other family members, our friends, our church and workplace. However, the world tends to judge by a standard that is not altogether healthy. Being extremely busy is considered better than being selective and thoughtful with your activities. Trying to win the race or reach the destination is better than enjoying the journey. Most importantly, getting all the fame, money, and glory is way better than playing a supportive role.
I’m not certain, but I think knowing that I had a hand in helping someone reach their potential or fulfill their dream is a pretty big accomplishment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his famous quote about success: "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded".
So here’s the second part of my confession: in spite of my disdain for cheering, I tried out for it once. I don’t think anyone is surprised I didn’t make it. I mean, I couldn’t do a cartwheel or a split and my forward somersault ended with me bumping into the judges table. If I’m honest, that might have played a teensy part in my attitude toward the sport as a whole. But something changed.
Yesterday I caught up with a friend of mine to hear about some exciting and major changes in her life. This morning I texted her that it had been great seeing her. She texted back, “Thanks for being my cheerleader.”
What do you know? I guess I finally made the team, and I couldn’t be more honored.