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How do you define family? There are quite a few different definitions depending on whatstormprayer the family looks like. Blended, extended, or immediate family are among the labels placed on different compartments of family. The reality is that the people who you allow to be labeled as your “family” goes beyond any labels or definitions. The way people become family is through trial, defeat, victory, and struggle. When you go through life with someone, when you cry with them, laugh with them, and grow with them, there is a bond that is created that goes beyond understanding, beyond explanation. The only way to describe it, is with the the word “family”. 

One of the beautiful things about family is that when they suffer together they grow closer and stronger. It is easy to be a family when things are going well, but when a common pain is shared between a group of people, somehow they grow together with a bond that is unique and unbreakable. These moments, these memories shared make the victories much sweeter and the celebration genuine. Even though pain hurts, it can and does build us up to be stronger and closer as a family. No one wants pain, but growing from it must be expected, and more so, sought after. There is another side to suffering, it can destroy a family as well. A family who wants to grows strong together will  be the family that grows from pain and conflict.

This is why cheerleaders are so close. In practice we fail and succeed everyday. We meet struggle and conflict every time we gather together. We have to fight through failure on a daily basis in order to accomplish our goals. We sacrifice our own wellbeing for the safety of others. Over and over again we drop stunts, and miss the mark looking forward to the day when the stunt hits, or the mark is met. When one is struggling, the rest are there to cheer them on, to encourage them to continue through. When one is on the verge of quitting the others are there to pick them up and walking through the hard times with them. Sure, there are fights; what family doesn’t have those? Through those conflicts we grow, through those struggle we persevere. Our victories are not only in the 2.5 minutes we perform in front of judges, but daily in the practice room while we overcome our struggles, and grow together as a family.

Even when we lose, we come together in these pains, sharing the hurt and not passing blame, but working together to experience the victory. We learn from our experiences and lean on each other to make it through the season. For most of us, cheer is our life, when we create these bonds of family together there is nothing that can break them.

Tears are shed, blood is spilled, and sweat is poured, but the bonds of family tightened daily. We are no longer a group of individuals with a common purpose, but a single unit working as ones connected by a love for the sport and one another. We are united in cheer, we are united in pain, we are united for victory. We are One team, with One Goal, and One Love!! We are (Gp’s) Storm Elite… a family.