Day 1: Gosh do my arms hurt. I walked into the clinic nervous and left feeling utterly insecure. I was raised a soccer player and in such, I was taught to move very loosely in order to avoid getting injured. But cheer is all rigid. A lot of the moves the girls around me perfected or understood immediately. I, however, took an extra two hours outside of the actual clinic to know about 50% of what I was doing. I honestly never thought cheerleading would be so difficult, but it really is. You can now call me a believer. I may have the cheer movements down. But I still cannot actually say the cheer as I do the movements. This is hard. I want soccer back. I am dreading going back tomorrow and embarrassing myself again. Can I fake my own death? Let me look into a wikihow page really quickly.
Day 2: News flash: I’m much better than I was yesterday. I worked hard all last night to learn the chants. I’m still falling really behind. I believe my body is actively trying to tell me not to continue cheering. But like all cheerleaders, I plaster on a smile and keep going. A few other girls on the team complimented my jumps. I really am not sure what I did that was positive in the way of jumping, but if other people think I’m good, I must be good, right?
Day 3: Can you die of pain? Asking for a friend. In all seriousness, my body is dying. My arms hurt, my legs burn and every time I turn my neck there is a series of cracks and creaks that would make even the toughest chiropractor cringe. The girls at the clinics are nice enough; I only received five pity glances today! I’ve made some new friends and reconnected with old. It’s hard to continue doing something you know you’re not good at, but I am doing my best to push through and finish out the week. The best I could do is try.
Day 4: Mock tryout day was today. It wasn’t too bad considering everything. I finally ran through the dance completely without stopping. Was it good? No. But I did it, and I am proud. I don’t see myself making the team. The girl I “mock-tried out” with has cheered each year since middle school and went through each item with relative ease. When the senior girls were giving tips on what we both could fix, I was the only one they were correcting which was fair, but it still hurt. It’s not exactly fun to be aware that you’re not as good as everyone else, but it’s better than receiving false hope. Tryouts are tomorrow and I’m more excited to be done than to see if I made the team.
Day 5, Tryout day: Tears, so many tears. Each girl who comes out of the gym has some form of critique for herself: toes weren’t pointed, ‘I messed up the cheer,’ the dance was faster they remembered — but I left light. I didn’t leave the room confident I would make it, nor that I should try out again in college, but it felt good to try something new. I’ve only ever played soccer, except for a brief stint in softball that hurt my knuckles more than anything else, so it felt enlightening to attempt a different activity. I feel proud right now. No matter the outcome, I’m glad I decided to do this and stick it through until the end. My family supported me through this week, which I found odd considering my family previously was very unsupportive of activities not rhyming with blocker. Both my siblings play soccer and my father coaches; it’s all we know. Cheerleading is a lot more fun than I thought it would be and I’m ecstatic that my family, friends, and coaches encouraged me to try it.
Reflection: Needless to say, I did not make the team. The little girl in the picture would be a mixture of proud and dissapointed. As an incoming senior, I would have to make Varsity to even participate, and reflecting on my abilities, I might have made JV. My family was proud and I was proud being the one Deevers who attempted something new in a long time. Cheerleading is difficult. To all the readers out there who think maybe it would be easy, it is difficult and requires a lot of time, effort and energy, but doing it is exciting. You have to hit each move quickly, passionately and strongly. The dance can be difficult, especially if learning doesn’t come easily. Going into a situation where you’re unsure of yourself can be mentally intimidating, but when cheerleading, you can’t help but feel excited. All the girls around you are clapping and you’re jumping; it’s a very difficult environment to be angry and/or depressed, unless you’re bad (it was a mixture for me). I strongly encourage people to give it a try, and if not cheerleading, another activity, as doing something new is always exciting, though it can be a bit intimidating.
Just a reminder that the girls soccer team doesn’t have tryouts 🙂