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It’s that time of year again. The time of year when sporting goods stores sell out of black Nike running shorts and white tank tops. When tumbling coaches get flooded with emails and phone calls about last minute private lessons to prepare for school tryouts. Oh what a season, the tension is high for both daughter and mom, one would think that ones entire life is hanging in the balance. School cheerleading tryouts can be one of the most stressful events in a young girl’s life (let’s be honest, very few guys don’t make the team). 

As a coach I dread this time of year. Not because I have to fight to get my athletes in the gym for practice, but because these girls put themselves through a great deal of stress over the issue of making the school squad. Let’s not forget that they have a spot on a team that loves them and values them a great deal, but there is something special about school cheerleading that pales in comparison to anything else in life. Don’t get me wrong, I understand, and though I personally fight the battle against school cheerleading, I have a great deal of respect for it and see the value in it. However, this time of year breaks my heart more than any other.

I have counseled many young ladies who have come back to my gym in tears, wondering what will come of their lives now that they didn’t make the squad. They leave feeling like failures, like they have nothing to offer the world now that they don’t get to stand on the sideline in front of their peers on Friday nights. Though I understand the pains of not making a team or achieving a goal, there is something wrong with how devastated these young ladies are after having been rejected by the elite group high school citizens. Though I try every year, it seems that none of these girls can be convinced that their value isn’t determined by school cheerleading.

One day I will see a group of young ladies, heck, I’d settle for one young lady who will go into this knowing that her value is not wrapped up in whether or not she gets to cheer on the sideline for football games, but her value is determined by her relationship with Jesus. What would happen if a young person actually believed that God placed a value on them that nothing can diminish, and that include not being selected for the highs school cheerleading squad. This is why I do what I do, to one day convince a young person that God has placed a value on them that cannot be measured by mortal minds and that no one has the ability to tell them that they don’t matter. I pray for a day when I can see a young lady rise to her full potential in spite of her many failures because she has recognized her value comes from being made in the image of the living God and that He was willing to take on flesh and pursue her to His death.

This young lady will turn into a woman who will be unfazed by the unfair world around her. This young lady will change the world and the lives of those people who come into contact with her. This young lady will be able to find joy in who she is, not what she does. I pray that my daughters can become women like this. I pray that the young ladies under my coaching will learn that the reason why cheerleading is so special, is because they do it. It is they who put the value in cheerleading, not the other way around.