Last Thursday our men’s and women’s basketball teams had their home rivalry games against Niagara University. These games, the men’s in particular, are extremely important to my team.
For one, my coach is a former NU cheerleader, and still has a very close relationship with NU’s head cheerleading coach, as well as girls that are still on the team. She has a reputation with them that we would never want to tarnish. Additionally, aside from the home opener, this is the only game that my team gets to perform our competition routine at the halftime. For us, performing at halftime is a big deal. We get to execute our skills that we’ve been working on since August in front of a live audience. And not just an audience of strangers, but of our peers, our friends, are professors, and our families. A lot of pressure is put on us, but we live for it.
Unfortunately, at the Niagara rivalry game we did not perform to the best of our abilities, and mistakes were made that could have been avoided. We could have fought a little bit harder. We could have gone into the situation a little bit calmer. We could have been a little bit sharper.
Notice what I’m saying here. WE could have fought harder. WE could have been calmer. WE could have been sharper. Sure, if you watch the video it’s easy to point fingers and place blame. But what’s at the heart of the matter here? It’s that WE are a TEAM. WE looked unpolished together and WE looked amateur together. Was it unfortunate? Yes. Was it disappointing? Absolutely. But what good would pointing fingers do? Not much. It is at times of trouble that individuals have to stand the closest together and stay true to their teammates, to their family. Because that’s what my team is. We are a family.
So how do we bounce back? Well, in the confinement of our private practice, we place accountability. Yes, WE made mistakes as a team, but in order for a team to work seamlessly, each INDIVIDUAL must own up to their mistakes, admit their accidental faults, and courageously step forward. I pride my team on that. We swallow our mistakes and get back up. Time and time again, we get back up.
Not only that, but we receive discipline together. We do our stunt sequence until it’s perfect. And not until just one group has it perfect, but until every single group has it perfect at the same time. As a team, you get one shot at competition. It’s not like basketball where you can miss a lay up and then grab a rebound and sprint down the court to redeem yourself with a three-pointer. Cheerleaders don’t get to redeem themselves until the next performance comes around. Until the scores have already been tallied. Until the judgments have already been made. Until the disappointment has had time to sink in and bruise your ego. But in a way, that’s the beauty of it. All of your hard work rides on one single performance. All of your blood, sweat and tears rides on 2.5 minutes of adrenaline and pure joy. Those 2.5 minutes are worth all of the struggles that a team could possibly go through together. And I’d bet that any cheerleader out there would agree with me on that.