Life Lessons From Cheerleading

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A couple of years ago we were visiting Walt Disney World in Florida at the same time the Cheerleading and Dance Worlds were happening at ESPN Sports. My girls were mesmerized. Thousands of girls were walking around with glitter on their eyes, adorable outfits and big bows in their hair. They were cute, smiling, enthusiastic and athletic. For my two little girls they were everything they wanted to be. They immediately asked if they could join cheerleading when we got home.

Eeek. I wasn’t so sure. I knew cheerleading was huge in the United States, but had never heard of it in Canada. Also, I had a lot of preconceived notions in my head, primarily things I’d picked up from high school and from movies like Bring it On. For me, it was everything I didn’t want my daughters to be. I was hesitant, to say the least.

I researched cheer gyms in our area and finally settled in on one. From the moment the girls joined it was love…..for me and them. Far from the “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah” stereotype I had painted for myself, it is actually helping me reinforce and teach lessons that line up with my own value system.

life lessons cheer

So without further ado, Ten Life Lessons from Cheerleading.

The team comes first. Each girl is encouraged to reach their full potential, but unless every single girl hits their mark when they’re supposed to the team will suffer when being scored. That means that no girl gets left behind. Each and every member is equally important to its success. It is in everyone’s best interest to see their peers do well.

Dedication.  When my girls don’t feel like being there, they know the rest of the team will suffer because of it. If you sign up, you show up.

Practice makes perfect. Practice, practice, practice is a cheerleaders motto. Going over the moves again and again, ensures safety and perfection.

Be a positive role model.  Perhaps my favourite thing about my girls cheer club is how the older girls cheer the younger girls on. The youngest team always shines brightest when the senior girls are cheering them on at competition or at the gym. They are, after all, the ones they look up too.

Learn to trust. When you’re a flyer you need to know that those girls at the base are not going to let you fall. Ever. To build trust, you need to build bonds. It’s a two way street.

Smile, even if you don’t feel like it. My girls have gone into practice grumpy and left on top of the world.

Compete with class. I’ve watched girls from one team run to hug girls from other teams at competition. I’ve seen them enthusiastically and sincerely cheer their competitors on. I’ve never seen them pull out the movie version of a cheerleader. See next point.

Girls are not your enemy. If there is one thing my girls gym does really well, is it fosters an environment where girls are supportive of each other. They build each other up, not tear down.

Fit is your goal, not skinny. Cheerleading demands strong cardiovascular stamina, strength, co-ordination, and flexibility.  Cheerleaders come in every single shape and size, except unhealthy.

Give it your all. You can’t go out and cheer a little, you can’t give half a smile, or sort of catch a flyer. You must be present for every moment you’re there. The same could be said for life.

cheerleading lessons

*originally published at Barbie I Can Be in August 2012

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Comments

  1. says

    I had the same thoughts about cheer when my daughter wanted to join …. we are both taken with the sport – love the values, athleticism, hard work, team commitment it teaches our children.

  2. brijae2 says

    I agree 100% with all of these things. This article is on point, unfortunately, it does definitely depend on the program in which you participate and how important all of these things are to the owners. Not all are in it just for the sport and the ‘life lessons’ us parents want them in it for and don’t always remember that at the end of the day they are still young impressionable children. They are in it to win it, and that is all, and will stop at nothing including detrimental statements just to ‘knock them into their place’ as though that is what will make them win next time. I want my kid to win, who doesn’t? I would rather her lose and know she tried her hardest, worked well with her team, didn’t get hurt and most importantly had a great time on that mat(nerves and all).

  3. paul reiser says

    i am the father of a young lady of 14 ,who joined cheer at 8 years old and is still in love with the sport. i got her into cheer after her mother and i got a divorce . it was the best thing for my daughter to help her deal with it . now it is her world and i travel with her to all her events , i even learned how to curl hair. she has learned so much about life ,being a team player and some time you win and sometimes you lose . but i am happier about her making friends more then anything . i am a cheer dad and proud to say it because what it has done for my little girl

  4. Kris says

    Love what cheerleading teaches them and the athleticism …..but I don’t like the overly revealing outfits and overly painted faces. They are still little girls. And there are too many perverts out there looking at them.

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