Building Character Through Cheer Blog
My name is Bruce Dill and I'm the founder of TrackOurTeam.com. The development of TrackOurTeam has taken over four years and thousands of hours of many dedicated individuals. But I guess TrackOurTeam started long before this process. The idea for TrackOurTeam came long before my daughter Margaux tried out for the cheer squad at her middle school.
At the time I was just a cheer dad and really knew nothing about cheerleading and all that was involved. Over the years though I learned just what a wonderful program cheerleading is for young girls and boys as they go through a critical stage in their life and personality development. Cheerleading made a difference in my daughter's life and the person she is today. Little did we know at the time she first tried out what a wonderful thing cheerleading is.
Cheerleading develops fantastic personality traits which all children and adults for that matter should have. I would like to take a few minutes and share some of the traits I feel cheerleading ads to the lives of these young men and women who participate in the sport of cheerleading. Cheerleading is a sport. It takes dedication, hard work, body strength, finesse, and much more.
One of the first things I noticed when Margaux made the team was the team practice schedule. She made the team in spring and practices started almost immediately. They continued through the summer and into the fall when the school sports season started. These young people will practice up to six times a week. Sometimes there would be a morning practice and in afternoon practice. If you missed three practices you could be kicked off the team. This told Margaux if you're going to accomplish something you had to be committed to it. You had to show up, and you had to show up on time. I think this translates into their adult life teaching them that if they have a job that should show up on time there, be dedicated, and work toward the goal.
|One of the things I noticed about all of the girls who made the squad was their passion to be involved in the sport. These young people love what they were doing. They knew that what they were doing made them different and they all wanted to be different. They wanted to be leaders and they were.|
|Another thing I noticed in these young people was how hard they worked. Coming home from cheerleading practice really isn't any different than coming home from football practice. You come home tired, hungry, emotionally spent, and then have your homework to do. These kids work hard at practice. Their various routines are developed by professional choreographers and they have coaches who push them to perform their routines and the individual skills within the routines and do them to perfection. They may work on a particular skill and perform it 20 or 30 times in a single practice and then combine multiple skills into the routine. They are like the quarterback on the football team. The quarterback must not only know the plays and the playbook, they must know what each player on the field is supposed to do. Talk about creative skills!|
|I also noticed how focused these young people are. Cheerleading teaches young people to be focused. In practice you should see the concentration on their faces as they struggle to do their first quad. Time and time again they start over until they finally achieve their goal. Then it's on to the next goal.|
|It's also amazing to see how they push themselves towards perfection. It is an easy to take 10 girls or 50 girls on a squad and have them all perfectly synchronized in their routine. It's amazing how close they get to perfection at times because of their dedication and pushing themselves. They push themselves physically and mentally. Statistically, young cheerleaders have some of the highest grade point averages among the students as a whole in their schools. They can't do this without pushing themselves. Physically, if you look at a young person at the beginning of the year and that same young person at the end of the school year they are physically stronger than they were at the beginning. They don't get their strength without pushing themselves to success.|
|These young people are also idea people. Cheer teams are like a small family. They all work together toward the goal. It's interesting to see the ideas that these young people come up with to help each other achieve their goals. These young people are truly smart. They contribute their ideas right down to the style and color of ribbons in their hair and the uniforms they wear.|
|I also noticed that these young people strive to improve themselves not only in their cheer routines put in their lives. To see them take the skills they learned from being on the cheer team and their life into their community is a tremendous reward for the parent whose goal is to have their child be a positive contributor to their community and world.|
I remember how impressed I was when we went to our first parent meeting and listened to the coach discussed how the team was going to give back to the community. Every time I participate in The Race for the Cure there's always numerous cheerleading teams on the side of the course, cheering people on. One of the greatest lessons we can learn is to give back. Cheerleading teaches young people to give back. How many baseball teams do you see working in the community? Teaching young people to serve others shows them how it's not all about, "me, me, me,".
|Finally, I also noticed how persistent these young people are who are involved in cheerleading. At the beginning of the year there are skills and routines which they had to conquer in order to come up with their final performance. These young people persistent for days and weeks and months to achieve their final goal always seeing it at the top of a 20,000 foot mountain only to stand on the top of it and look back from where they came.|
It's been interesting to see how secondary school sports have changed over the years. More and more sports or adopting the foundation which cheerleading teams have. Cheerleading teams have rules and guidelines. By having these rules and guidelines the team members leave secondary schools with the tools they need to be productive members of our society, being successful, loving, and giving back to others. I will always be thankful that my daughter participated in cheer.
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