From Tomboy To Cheerleader

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As a 12 year-old tomboy who only wore a low pony tail and pants to school in 5th and 6th grade, you would have never guessed that I would have become a collegiate cheerleader.

In middle school, I was that one girl who always had scraped up knees from playing soccer, could surely be found on the playground playing football with the boys, and shocked my teachers and peers every time I wore a skirt. In fact, at one point my parents even had to threaten me with etiquette classes so that I would act more like a lady! As you can tell, as a 12 year-old, cheerleading didn’t seem to be in my future.

However, as most pre-teens do, I had a life-changing experience during my summer before the 7th grade. This was the big times. Junior high. All of the sudden, skirts didn’t seem so bad, mascara wasn’t dangerous, boys seemed interesting and I discovered a new interest in cheerleading. Yes, the tomboy who always wanted to be one of the guys shocked the world and became a cheerleader.

Originally, this new sport was to help me bond with old friends, make new friends, explore new interests, and cheer on the football team (which, six months ago, I would have liked to join). Wearing a skirt, bow and makeup was very new to me, but it didn’t take long before it became my lifestyle. Just a few weeks into this sport, I was hooked.

I caught cheer fever. I was dating the quarter back, wearing my bow to school on spirit days, practicing cheers while walking through the grocery store, and I even found a passion in making up my own cheer dances to share with the team. Thankfully, I had a back ground in dance and gymnastics, so learning new routines was very natural for me. My best friend and I would practice our new cheers together and cheerleading became a huge factor in our friendship that still exists today.

The cheer fever that quickly impacted my life lasted through junior high and high school. In high school, I was basically your typical cheerleader. Wearing my bow to class, wearing football player’s jerseys every Friday, tumbling down the track at football games, and doing my best to include everyone in our school’s spirit.

I strongly believe that my high school cheerleading career opened so many doors for me. Along with making lifetime friends, I was crowned homecoming queen, served as student council president and was voted by my classmates as having the most school spirit. In my opinion, I would have not made these achievements if cheerleading hadn’t been such a great success for me.

Now that I am 19 and headed into my sophomore year of college, I’ve watched pretty much every cheer movie you could think of, every YouTube tutorial on how to achieve better jumps, splits, and tumbling, and most importantly, I have watched myself grow as a person through this sport. The shy and awkward 12 year-old girl who was more like a little boy grew into a young woman who fell in love with the glitz and glamour of cheerleading and is not afraid to express herself in front of a crowd.

Becoming a collegiate cheerleader for the Big Red football and basketball teams at Denison University was a dream come true. Not only am I chasing my dreams at an amazing university, but I am surrounded by people that I love. My cheer squad is so supportive, and that is what keeps the cheer fever alive. It isn’t just the skirts, bows and sparkles, but it is the love and support that you get from your school and teammates.

So, no matter who you are or where you are in life, remember to keep your heart open. I challenge you to find what it is that makes you happy. Find something you love and hold on to it because one day, it will ultimately bring out a better version of yourself. Cheerleaders, remember to dream big and keep the cheer fever alive!

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Amelia Hitchens

Amelia is currently a collegiate cheerleader at Denison University in Ohio. She has been cheering since she was in the seventh grade and has always had a passion for being a flyer. Amelia is a dedicated cheerleader who takes every opportunity to better herself as a cheerleader and in life.

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