Farewell Cheer Season (2024)

It's Monday. I'll work until 3 or 4:00 today and then I'll go home. And I have NOTHING ELSE ON MY SCHEDULE OH MY WORD THIS IS AN AMAZING FEELING.

But also, I'll miss my cheerleaders. And here is the speech I gave last night about WHY I'll miss them so much.

"It's always hard for me to come up with a worthy re-cap of each season for these banquet speeches. My time with these girls started back in July with cheer camp, and you wouldn't believe how fast seven months flies by. In less than a year, all 13 of these girls have made HUGE strides in becoming more versatile and polished cheerleaders. I think Coach Alison and Coach Logan would both agree...when this group of girls started cheering, some of them were shy...some were uncoordinated...and sometimes they reminded us of awkward baby birds. The JV squads that are sitting here at this banquet tonight are transformed, excellent, hardworking, sharp, and strong cheerleaders...and that's in large part to their own hard work and dedication to become the best they can be.

I started the season with goals for liberty's and wanting each girl to have the ability to stunt in up to three different positions. A couple of minor injuries, waaaaay too many snow days, along with inevitable sick days made it a real challenge to complete some of our goals this season. However, I am proud to report that we started the season with three flyers, and now we have five girls successfully flying extensions and cradles at the JV level. We started the season with only one successful twist-down, and now we have three (ALMOST four) girls flying twists. Upon comparing what JV jumps looked like back in July to how these girls overall jump today...it's a night and day difference. When someone was sick or hurt, both the Orange and Black squads could carry on with a number of stunts during their games...and in Winter Cheer when we only have six girls cheering on the floor at a time, this is harder to do than most people probably think.

What impresses me most about my JV squads this year is their genuine love of cheerleading. At our last practice when it's usually hard for us to get girls to come because they're busy with new jobs and track and tons of other things, these girls wanted to stay and stunt for an hour! In fact, I actually had to end practice at 4:45 or I think they would have stayed and stunted all night! In my past three years of coaching, I have never had 100% attendance on the final day of practice, had 100% correct uniforms turned in, and then had girls ASK TO KEEP PRACTICING. They impressed with their hard work, creativity, and drive to make themselves better.

As we all know, cheerleaders carry certain "catty" stereotypes. But I've constantly been impressed by how these girls take critiques SO WELL. They ask each other to critique their motions and jumps and stunt positions, which doesn't always happen within cheer squads. Before our games were even over, I had captains asking me how they could improve for the second half. The minute the games were over, they were immediately asking for the notes I took for their game reviews. For the entire last month of the season, I never really took notes at games because there was nothing to critique! A lot of times cheerleaders will blame stunt problems on everyone else in their stunt group, but these girls had a drive to work to improve themselves first, and because of that improved the quality of the whole squad...and that made me really proud.

When I look back on this season and how these girls have transformed their personal cheerleading skills...it's obvious their hard work will pay off. Whether they have goals of trying out for the competition squad, or improving their physical fittness, or dreaming of cheering in college, or hoping to coach their own little cheer squad someday...this squad has the ability to accomplish whatever they set their minds to, and I will be proud however they're able to use their cheer talents in the future.

From asking to stay after practice and stunt to finding mirror space before practice to work on jumps with each other, to enrolling in tumbling classes to master their back handsprings, this group of girls genuinely LOVES cheerleading...they even like fundraising! They understand the bigger picture for our program and we appreciate that they do everything in their power to work hard to represent Ames High in the most cheerful positive way. And those are the kind of girls we want involved with Winter Cheer. Winter Cheerleaders don't compete to win anything and there isn't quite as much 'hype' surrounding winter sports, as opposed to our (INCREDIBLE) football team and fall athletes...but they appreciate and enjoy the sport of cheerleading in it's basic, uncomplicated form.

JV Orange and Black...we're incredibly proud of you. We hope you're proud of yourselves. And we're already looking forward to spending next season with you."

From Carr Pool to Furman Aquatic Center to Ames Christian School to Ames High Winter Cheer...I've been working with these two ladies for the past SIX YEARS and appreciate them in my life so much!

The typical picture-fest ensued immediately after the banquet...I missed 30 minutes of the Oscars for this, but I suppose it was worth it. ;)

Me with the first group of girls I ever coached at AHS! Hard to believe they're graduating in two months. Proud of their cheer talent, but more proud of their #rolemodelstatus

Farewell Cheer Season (2024)
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