By Abby Bishop
Everyone finds something in high school that they know they will miss for the rest of their life. Whether it be a sport, a club, a hobby, or a passion that will probably not follow them to the next stage in life; there’s something for everyone. For me, it’s cheerleading.
Of course, you can say that it is “typical” and that it can’t possibly be that big of a deal, in which case you would be hazardously mistaken. Unlike anything else, cheer has taught me the value of a moment, the unmistakable importance of school spirit, and how to be confident; even when it is hard.
I hadn’t planned on trying out for cheer my senior year. As a matter of fact, I decided on the day of the first day of tryouts at around noon that I was going to. Looking back, I don’t have a single regret. I’m so glad I faced my crippling fear of failing and tried out.
I walked into the gym on that day hanging my head. I was terrified. What if I didn’t make it? What if everyone made it besides me? What if I made it and hated it? The questions swirling around my mind were dizzying. Long story short, I made the Varsity Cheer Team. I was ecstatic. I was on top of the world. And so began what I consider the best year of my high school career.
Through cheer, I now have 13 sisters/close friends (and I mean scary close; like knowing who it is by feeling their hands close). I make a difference in the lives of little girls and boys every single time I step out onto the floor. I cheer for a team that I believe in with all of my heart, win or lose.
However, most importantly, I’ve found something that will make saying goodbye immeasurably difficult. I have found something that will live on in my mind forever. I have found something that I can tell my children about one day and smile at all of the ridiculous memories: from super long bus rides filled with conspiracy theory discussions; to playing card games in the floor of a hotel room in Springdale, Arkansas; to almost dying of laughter at our Christmas party when we stayed up all night, even though most of us had to take finals the next day.
I must say, this week has the potential to be one of hardest of my life. Thursday marks my Senior Night. I will stand alongside the two girls I’ve spent four years cheering with as we are honored for our participation in and dedication to a sport we believe has the power to heal the sick and the blind. I will hear them say my name and probably shed a few tears as I realize that it is actually happening. Then when my teammates all start crying and reality sets in, I will want to rewind to day one.
To Carlie and Payton, two of the best friends and teammates that I could have ever asked for: thank you for making these years, but especially this one, wonderful. You have changed my life and I am forever grateful for that. I hope that on Senior Night, you remember one thing: it isn’t actually goodbye, it’s just a start of something new. You two will forever be extremely important to me. You both have impacted my life in ways that I can never repay.
Knowing that I was able to be a part of something so wonderful will always stick with me. I won’t forget the adults that come up to us at away games and tell us how impressed they are with us. I won’t forget making an “Energy Ball” on the bus and then losing it the next week. I won’t forget the feeling of rocking that homecoming performance. Most of all, I won’t forget what it feels like to be a Mustang and what it feels like to scream, yell, and lose my voice cheering for a team that I love.
To everyone else experiencing similar feelings: I hope that you can also see all of the wonderful things that came of this. I hope you can remember the fun times; the hard times; and the times you wanted to dance like no one was watching, even though there were lots of people watching.
Thank you to my teammates, my parents, my school, and my coach for making this year one to remember forever.