The most frustrating thing about cheerleading for me has always been the interdependence amongst teammates. There are no substitutes. There are no second strings. There’s no one sitting on the bench waiting for the coach to call them in. If one girl gets injured, every routine and performance and stunt sequence and tumbling pass has to be completely rearranged. So when we lost two teammates last week due to unfortunate circumstances, we were forced to adapt and rework what we had been aiming to perfect since our season started in September.
Girls who have busted their ass for months trying to nail a difficult stunt sequence or a challenging tumbling pass now don’t even have the opportunity to showcase it at our competition this weekend because the other key components are now missing. The actions of others left our team with a mess to clean up. Is that fair? No. Absolutely not. But as the old cliché’ goes, life isn’t fair. It never has been and I can guarantee that the majority of the time it never will be. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t adapt to the circumstances and create a better opportunity for yourself.
To say that it has been a frustrating situation is an understatement, but I must say that our team is handling it better than I would have ever expected. It’s normal for us to crack a joke three seconds after a very serious moment. It has never been in the personality of our team to linger on negativity. Of course the situation was terribly unfortunate. We didn’t just lose teammates, we lost friends, and any time a relationship is taken from you without your consent, it has a way of hitting your heart in ways that are difficult to cope with.
But what good would it do any of us to sit around and be sad? Letting yourself dwell on hardships gets you nowhere. Sulking in misery is going to do nothing but keep you miserable. As an individual, it is so important to remember that the things you do inevitably affect the feelings of others. The relationships we have in our lives are woven together; it’s just how we’re made. When your actions create a ripple, just know that they are impacting and reaching others aside from yourself.
Challenge yourself to not be the person that creates those unfortunate ripples. Challenge yourself to be better. How can you improve the lives of others rather than be a burden? Try sharing a kind word, offering a smile, saying hello even if it feels like the most uncomfortable situation in the world, and most importantly, telling people how you truly feel. If you’ve made a mistake and are truly remorseful, apologize. If someone has touched your heart and made you a better person, thank them. If you feel like you’ve lost someone in your life and you want to make amends, ask for forgiveness, and then work to earn it. Your actions will always have consequences. Always. What’s important is whether or not you can put in the hard, sometimes exhausting work that it takes to turn those consequences into something that helps you grow and become a better person.