“Oakwood, you may now take the floor,” said the announcer. It’s my sophomore year, and my squad is taking the floor at the Vermillion County Cheerleading Competition. I have never been so nervous in my entire life.
This cheer competition is way more then a cheer competition to any of the girls who cheer at Oakwood High School. It is where we prove ourselves as a good team since it’s the only competition we compete in all year. The previous year, we had placed second, and I was so ready to be able to take home the first place trophy. As I ran out on the gym floor, I took my place in the formation, feeling confident in my squad’s preparation. We did our first stunt and felt good as the audience cheered us on with enthusiasm. I knew our movements were together and straight; the squad was cheering as one. In my mind, we had the trophy.
Near the end of the routine, something terribly wrong happened. The girl who lifted me up in the air missed grabbing my foot, and I fell to the ground. The hopes of winning a trophy disappeared. As I got back up to my feet, however, I kept on smiling. I finished the routine, grabbed my poms, and ran off the floor. I was so upset I could barely stand to look at the other girls. Our hopes of a trophy suddenly faded, but no one said a word. I, of course, felt the fall was my fault.
A week later, the winners were announced. In spite of the fall, our squad won the championship. Since that time, I have had several disappointments, several mishaps, and some failures. But, none of those experiences have taught me more than the moment I thought I had let down my squad. In the end, the experience taught me that life, like cheerleading, has many pit falls. I believe, however, that I can’t give up, that I have to pick myself back up, and that I have to keep going with a smile- sometimes to surprising results.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.