Taking a Tumble in Competitive Cheer
For three years I have been actively involved in competitive cheer. Last year I joined the Memorial Junior Varsity cheerleading squad. The summer before, I had worked so hard to master my full twist – a 360-degree spin in the air. If I achieved my full twist I would finally get to be on level five (the highest level of competitive cheer). I met my goal just a few months later by taking lessons every day.
But in late November, I fell out of my twist and took a hard hit to my left foot. I couldn’t walk, much less tumble. I was completely devastated.
After a long two and a half months, I got to cheer again. The doctor told me I could easily tear my ligament again, so I had to go slowly. Once I tried to tumble, it was not easy. Every skill I tried to perform felt difficult, and my foot was weak.
Physically, my body was fragile and out of shape. Emotionally, I was hopeless. I faced many mental blocks, and fear took over me. The thought of getting hurt again terrified me. Time was another problem. I didn’t have the motivation to spend the long hours in the gym. Without motivation, I could not achieve anything.
My progress started out slowly, and my drive didn’t start to pick back up until May. It sounds like a cliché, but once I told myself, “I can do it,” I started to improve. I’ve learned cheerleading is not only physical but also mostly mental. If you don’t persevere then nothing will be accomplished. I learned to keep my injury in the past and just think about the present. I may not have my full twist completely back yet, but I know if I keep trying it will come with time.
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