Of course, when you are in high school all you want to do is sit with the “cool kids” and be in the popular group everyone knows in school. Being able to get away with anything because you’ve gone out of your way to impress your teachers, to get on their good side so they see only the good in you, and lastly, make it seem that you would never do anything to make anyone feel less than you.
That’s at least what all the movies make it seem like, right? Well, in my world that is kind of how my high school was. The cheerleaders were the “it” group. Once you became one of them, overnight your reputation changed.
This is my story on how making the cheer team was going to either change my life for the better or worse (dramatic much). Growing up in San Diego, California had an already perceived idea of what it should be like, thanks to the movies. Hanging out with friends all the time, always on the beach, long blonde hair, size 2, never attend classes, and then, of course, being with the hottest surfer boy in the city.
But that really isn’t what it’s like. Yes, you’re on the beach a lot but not in-between classes, you actually do attend school and have homework. In my school being on the cheer team was the place to be. The football players and cheerleaders ran the school, they sat at the front of the school by the “flagpole” where everyone could see them. I grew up playing sports, soccer, softball, cheer/dance, and gymnastics. I never really had free time to hang out with friends and be a normal teenager due to the fact I always had practice.
When I got to be about 12, I realized that I was actually pretty good at softball. So a couple of years went on where I played travel ball and played in tournaments all around the United States. When I got to the summer of 8th grade I knew I wanted to continue to play ball but I always wanted to be on the cheer team. My parents, dad especially, always told me to follow my dreams but secretly wanted me to stick to softball because they knew I could go to college with it. I tried out for cheer and made the team. I was on cloud nine, I thought I couldn’t be touched. I finally found my place at school. I went to a couple practices and fit right in. I was where I belonged but it all came to a screeching halt when I find out cheer camp was the same exact week of the World Championship for softball in Florida. l was devastated because I knew that I had to go to cheer camp or else I couldn’t be on the team. I knew I could not go to Worlds and leave my whole team out to dry. I was in the pickle of a lifetime.
I tried out for cheer and made the team. I was on cloud nine, I thought I couldn’t be touched. I finally found my place at school. I went to a couple practices and fit right in. I was where I belonged but it all came to a screeching halt when I find out cheer camp was the same exact week of the World Championship for softball in Florida. l was devastated because I knew that I had to go to cheer camp or else I couldn’t be on the team. I knew I could not go to Worlds and leave my whole team out to dry. I was in the pickle of a lifetime.
One thing my dad always taught us growing up was how to do the right thing. How to always follow through with commitment and being a man of your word. Well, in this case, I wanted to say screw doing the right thing and do what I wanted to do but ultimately knew I couldn’t do that. I knew I had to bite the bullet and leave the cheer team because I had already been committed to softball. I was very bitter and mad for the next couple of days because I was still kicking around if I could somehow get around all this and stay on both teams. It was inevitable, though. I was just making this way more painful than it needed to be. I should have just ripped the band-aid off right away instead of the slow and painful removal of it. The hardest part was I already moved up in the popularity ranking of the school. I was making a name for myself and then I would have to go back on it? Take it away? Go from someone to nobody in on day? I wasn’t ready for it.
The day came where I had to tell my cheer coach that I had to resign from the team. Walking up to her was the most intimidating moment in my freshman year of high school life. After the conversation was over it felt like a weight had been taking off my shoulders but then added right back because I went from cool to a loser in 2.5 seconds.
I thought it was going to be downhill from here for the rest of my high school time. In which it was but then I realized that the people who I thought were my friends, the cheerleaders, really weren’t because I was still the same person just didn’t have the title of a cheerleader. They dropped me quicker than I don’t know what. It actually made me laugh because I wanted to be one of them so badly that I was willing to compromise myself. That isn’t like me at all. When I realized that it was more of a relief that I was off the team I started to be my old happy self again. There was no more pressure of looking or acting a certain way anymore and that was a great feeling.
Being a part of something is a great feeling. Feeling wanted, loved and needed is what everyone should feel, right? But what is it worth to you? Are you willing to turn into somebody you’re not just so other people can like you? Looking back and reflecting on this almost 6 years later and I am still proud of the decision I made. We didn’t end up winning the championships but we came in the top ten out of almost 120 teams so we were happy. If I learned one thing out of this was that being someone other than you is stupid.
Looking back and reflecting on this almost 6 years later and I am still proud of the decision I made. We didn’t end up winning the championships but we came in the top ten out of almost 120 teams so we were happy. If I learned one thing out of this was that being someone other than you is stupid.
If I learned one thing out of this was that being someone other than you is stupid. I might have thought that making the cheer team was going to change my life for the better but it didn’t, it only makes me a brat and self-absorbed. I’m happy with my high school experience because I was with friends that liked me for who I was, not what my social ranking was and that’s a good feeling.
P.S. (From Dad) Since I’m the one posting this article from my daughter I’m going to take the liberty to mention how proud I am of her and how she managed her way through the decision process. Sometimes we as parents need to let go and allow our kids to make choices we know probably are not the best for them. Sure her mom and I could have made a few of the decisions for her but this is something she needed to do.
I’m proud of how she handled it and proud of who she is. She’ll probably never read this but as a dad, I feel I just needed to say it!