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). Continue reading
I looked out of my 4th floor window to see the sun rising behind the downtown Atlanta skyline. My heart was beating and the feeling in my stomach wasn’t just the early morning hunger and lack of coffee, but on this particular morning I was embarking on the biggest journey yet as a cheer coach. With a hot cup of coffee, sausage egg and cheese croissant digesting, I entered into the World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta for Cheersport Nationals. Greeted by smell of fresh aerosol hairspray and nearly blinded by the iridescence of rhinestone uniforms I walked into what will become one of the most important events in my history as a coach. Continue reading
I’m sure you’ve heard the old proverb: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” If so, then you know the meaning behind it too.
Working hard all of the time and not enjoying life (playing) makes you dull and boring.
I can remember my time at seminary where there was a large majority of people who (maybe myself included at times) took themselves waaaaaay too seriously. To me, these people were hard to hang around, talk with, and honestly even share the same space. The thing is, when people are put into possessions of leadership, a sense of responsibility and seriousness tends to come with the territory. Continue reading
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, [f]according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if [g]service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with [h]liberality; he who [i]leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Yesterday, a friend of mine and I had a great discussion from Romans 12. This conversation lead me to start to study and work towards applying the scripture to my life. As a cheerleading coach I felt the application worked wonderfully. I know that Paul wasn’t talking about all-star cheerleading, but I couldn’t help and see how well it fit within our community. I guess that’s how God works. What I would like to do is break chapter 12 of Romans into 4 parts. I will focus one blog on each part and apply the scripture both to the coach and to the athlete. I feel like this is going to help me, and hope that someone might get some encouragement from it as well. Continue reading
There are two questions that I have been struggling with since I started coaching with the goal of sharing Christ with my athletes. 1) Can I still show Christ by placing emphasis on winning? 2) If so, how much emphasis should be placed on winning? Continue reading
One of my favorite movies “The Borne Identity”, this is a movie starting Matt Damon who was a CIA operative that lost his memory in an accident during a mission. This film is a story of a fictional character who is seeking his identity and trying to figure out why people are trying to kill him. He finds clues, but when he does it seems that there are many different identities that he goes by, which one is the real one? The question of identity comes into play often in our lives. It seems like we are looking for that one thing that will identify us, that will make us who we are. Most people want to leave their stamp on history and make a name for themselves. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known for leading the Civil Rights Movement, or Michael Jordan who is said to be the best basketball player to ever play the game. For my entire life, Michael Jordan was known worldwide as the greatest, this was his identity. Now, I am finding day after day young people who have no idea who he is, it seems that he is losing his identity. Continue reading
In conversations with my “pre-teen” daughter and just listening to my cheerleaders talk and reading what they post on their twitter pages, it is clear to me that the time they spend in the gym is some of the most important time of their lives. Cheerleading is not only a great way to compete, stay in shape, and perform; but also a place where they belong. Continue reading
After spending the week with Debbie Love, one of the premier tumbling and mental block coaches in the sport of Cheerleading, mental blocks and fears in cheerleaders has been on my brain. I have been reading articles written by Mrs. Love and others, mostly Dr. Alison Arnold. In our gym it seems that we have quite a few of our cheerleaders who have some sort of fear or block when it comes to tumbling, having spent the week with Mrs. Love I have started to wonder; “What is causing these in our cheerleaders? Is it something we are doing?” Continue reading
I can remember from all of my Physical Education and Health classes through school being taught that what you put into your body fuels you energy and physical output. So basically, what you eat helps determine what you perform. For example, you can’t put 87 octane fuel in to a rocket and expect it to work, you must use rocket fuel. Here we are in the same thing relating to our bodies. We are created in such a way that the foods we eat fuel our bodies and in doing so determines how we perform in our daily lives. I have noticed in my own life as I have begun my re-entry to the life of an athlete, the way I eat really effects the way I recover and feel the next day. If I eat junk, my workouts are not as productive and I feel lethargic and lazy.
As a coach I try to teach my cheerleaders this truth. The problem was that I was 100 lbs over weight, so they didn’t really want to hear what I had to say on the matter. So, I started my journey through CrossFit and eating right. Now, they see the change, and hopefully even the changes in energy level and production as a coach.
The reality is that this truth does not only apply to the physical, but the mental and spiritual as well. What you take into your system mentally and spiritually affects what you put out in those areas. If you take in garbage, you put out garbage. Spending time watching worthless television or playing mindless games does not allow your brain to function in such a way that it builds strength and productivity. So, when it comes time to use your brain it is not conditioned to do so in an effective way. This can really hurt the cheerleader who is required to remember routines and eight counts. The inability to think on the spot can really hurt the performance of an athlete. Mental sharpness is important for an athlete and taking in garbage will leave the brain unable to work when it is called upon.
I think that both of the previous things feed into the spiritual realms as well. We are spiritual beings living in a physical world. The things that we do physically effect the spiritual and visa versa. Spiritual health is as important if not more important than the following, but I believe that the three are linked in a beautiful way. Our physical condition is often a physical representation of our spiritual. Not always, but usually. Sometimes we spend hours intaking scripture and things of that nature, but not much time doing what it says. Just like we spend many hours consuming food, but when we don’t do anything physical, we blow up and physically represent the fact that we lack activity.
Jesus refuted Satan saying that “man cannot live off of bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 (ESV) Jesus also said to His disciples who wondered where His nourishment came from that “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” John 4:34 (ESV) The problem is that we cannot do the latter without consuming His word. In addition to this if we do not commit our whole lives, the spiritual, physical, and mental, to the service of the One who called us, we will not fully be effective in the work of His kingdom.
If you are lacking in any of the areas listed above, be proactive and change your diet. Take in the proper foods to perform to our maximum ability and to be the most effective you that you can be. In order to be the most effective, though, you must do so in all three areas. Seek out the King, take in Jesus who is the “bread of life” and put out incredible results. Be the you, that you were created to be!