In high school, I always wanted to be a cheerleader. Not many people knew but I secretly dreamed of cheering our school’s famous “WE LOVE OUR BOYS IN BLUE” chant while standing on the sidelines of the field oozing with school spirit. My freshman and sophomore year I chickened out of trying out and pacified myself with “I’ll do it next year”. Then junior year rolled around…my last opportunity, and I promised myself that I was going to make it count. A few weeks before the interest meeting, I did all the research I could possibly do. I went and spoke with both the advisors, I asked the current cheerleaders about their experience and what you needed to be able to do to make the team…I watched YouTube videos, practiced my smile and stage presence, I even watched the movie Bring it On for a little inspiration. When I went to the interest meeting, I was one of the last people to arrive. I sat in a little corner in the back and just observed. I saw a sea of freshman and sophomores exchanging cheer stories and basking in their glory days from all the competitions they’ve won, I saw the current squad sitting with confidence giving tokens of advice to the hopefuls, and then there was me, the girl who never cheered once in her life. The more I sat there listening, the faster the dark clouds of doubt started to form around me. I didn’t have as much experience as them, I surely wasn’t as flexible as them, and to make matters worse…because I was a junior, I had to make the varsity squad to even be considered. Suddenly, I felt nothing in body but pressure. As the coach handed out the packets to all of the girls, I remember flipping through the pages thinking “Why am I doing this?” I felt as if I was signing myself up for an episode of failure and disappointment. When I got home I looked at the packet again long and hard. I then folded it up and put it deep in a drawer in my room and buried my high school dream of being a cheerleader along with it. I had decided I wasn’t going to try out.
Weeks went by and the tryouts were long over and the new Varsity team had been selected. Shortly after the results came out, I ran into one of the sponsors on my way to class. She told me she didn’t see me at tryouts and asked me what happened. I faintly smiled at her and told her that I just wanted to spend my senior year focusing on school. I couldn’t tell her the real reason…because deep down, I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I let fear stand in my way. I was ashamed that I allowed myself to run away from something that I really wanted because I was afraid of failure. And when senior year rolled around and I saw those cheerleaders at every pep rally and football game, a little inch of that shame would creep back up, as the question of “What If?” surrounded my thoughts. What if I had just tried? What if I gave it a chance? What if I had just had a little faith? What if I just believed in myself a little bit more? What would’ve happened?
A lot of times we rob ourselves of opportunities. Often times we’re so worried about sinking, we never think about the possibility of us swimming…. We’re so worried about falling, we fail to see that we could potentially fly… and we’re so caught up in the fear of losing, we never stop to imagine the victory that could be awaiting us at the finish line. So instead of letting our faith lead our way, we allow ourselves to hide behind our doubts. And in doing so we convince ourselves that not trying at all, is somehow better than taking the risk of failing. Unfortunately in life, we can’t control every outcome. But what we CAN control is what we gain from every opportunity we take. We can control how we utilize the growth that we obtain from pushing ourselves to new heights. We can control our mindset and encourage ourselves to look at every opportunity as a positive one no matter what the results may be. And ultimately, we can control the person we transform to be because of our bravery in trying. Because each time we push ourselves, we become stronger, wiser, and a little bit better than before. Don’t count yourself out before the competition even starts. Be brave enough to try! Be brave enough to believe in yourself! Be brave enough to believe that you ARE good enough! You have to know that no matter how the cookie crumbles, you are a winner because you believed in the greatest person you know…YOU. And more often times than not, that’s just enough to accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Looking back, I can’t guarantee that I would’ve made the esteemed Cypress Creek 2010-2011 Varsity Cheerleading team, but at least I could’ve went home, looked in the mirror and smiled knowing that I was brave enough to try…and in my humble opinion, that’s success in itself.