As I sit here typing this post, dazed and confused, trying to remember my past two days with the St. Johns Varsity Cheer Team; I think back to what an amazing but exhausting experience it was to coach the team at Alma University for the annual summer Beast Camp. Returning to camp as a coach instead of a cheerleader gave a completely different perspective I was able to enjoy thoroughly. It was tough at times to see them struggle or give up, but it was rewarding to be there to encourage or help find a better plan that would work. I had to remind them of keeping a positive attitude multiple times as the heat and constant work started to tear them down. This was especially true after we lost a cheerleader to sickness on the last day before the final performance or when they had to “test out” the chant they learned that day to the two coaches for our approval before they could go to bed (safe to say we didn’t go to bed until 1:30am).
As they learned a long chant with hard motions, a dance, new stunts and pyramids with hand grips, etc; I think the girls were overwhelmed with how much they tried to fit into their brains in just 24 hours. It was especially deteriorating as attitudes began to drop and nothing seemed to work for them. Although Kay and I stepped in when needed, we really tried to make the seniors and the team to step up and overcome this challenge. By the second day, confidence really crumbled once they found out a senior had to go home and they had to re-work everything they just learned for the final performance infront of the other teams and parents.
Overall, I wish the team would of had positive attitudes to be willing to adjust to new things or just try them. The team or members started to get too comfortable with their position or some just didn’t realize that they would have to “test out” infront of the staff members and infront of a crowd of 100+. If they would of been the team that they practiced like in our home town, they could of conquered mountains at camp.
I learned a lot about being a leader of a group of 11 tired, hungry, deteriorated girls without their original coach at the original camp we usually go too (3 day camp instead of 2. Our paperwork got lost and didn’t reserve our spot so we had to sign up for the back-up camp). I felt myself really stepping up in times when the team were at their lowest or by just taking notes/videos of everything they did so if someone forgot a motion, I would be able to tell them what it was. I was able to be that front spot or side spot when a stunt seemed about ready to go bad (or actually did). I was able to help them fix the little things or just give a couple pep talks. I was a reality check to them also as I always told my true feelings to their performance or stunt. This helped them know I wasn’t lying and that they needed to fix whatever it was if they wanted to look good as a team.
I am so happy and proud of the seniors and freshman as it was their last or first time at camp. They really stepped up and helped bring the team to heights that wouldn’t of been possible without them. I hope the team remembers my promise I made to them at camp and will always have trust in me as I do in them to make the best decisions. LET’S GO RED!