Wait Your Turn

“Wait, don’t get up, don’t get up,” my teammates yelled, while we waited for second place to accept their trophy. We fought the temptation to celebrate. Knowing that all our hard work paid off. We were going to get those jackets and hold that title for the rest of time. You see, our coaches ingrained in us that we were never to steal the spotlight from the second place team. We were to give them their moment to accept the place that they earned and worked just as hard for.

The trouble with cheerleading these days is that all anyone cares about is winning. That is missing the whole entire point of the sport. You work hard so you compete against the best and in turn you find out how you rank. Too often, poor sportsmanship trumps the good. All anyone cares about is leaving with the jacket, banner, or ring. Those things are material, those things don’t define you. Those are just material items from 5 minutes of performances over one weekend. They definitely don’t even close to add up to the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the whole season.

Whether many athletes believe it or not, winning second or third or top five, or top ten, or making it to finals, hell making it to semi-finals is a tough feat. No one should be disappointed where they place because they earned that spot. You worked your butt off all season long. You got a bid that hundreds of teams didn’t. Your team made it all the way to those places most other teams didn’t. It is horrible to me that winning first would make athletes feel like second and third place teams were undeserving of their excitement. If they hadn’t won they would have wanted to celebrate whatever place they received.

A lot of our problem goes back to social media. All anyone ever cares about is the team that is in first. Athletes will obsess over a team all season long and the second they don’t win they are thrown to the side. They make room for the team that did win, those are bandwagon fans. It is not necessary to feel pressure to win to keep those fans on your side. You need to compete for yourself and your family of athletes and coaches that surround you. At the end of the day win or lose, they love you they support you. They will always believe in you. 

This season I saw a full spectrum of sportsmanship. Some I was so happy with and some I was disappointed by. I saw a team that didn’t believe they would make finals end up getting a bronze medal and the first globe. That was amazing to watch. They were so grateful and honored to be in third, and that is how it should be. They worked their butts off and beat out thousands of teams in their division. This team, even with all of their excitement and emotion, gave the 4th place team their moment.. On the other hand I saw horrible sportsmanship. I saw gold medalists throw all out parties before their names were even called. This denied the second place teams the chance to celebrate their Silver medal. Which is also an amazing achievement.

It is so sad that their spotlight was completely absorbed by the first place teams. Celebrating so hard that they couldn’t even get to their podium. I know many have said ,”they are teenagers. its inconceivable to think that they could hold in their excitement.” But it’s not. Many people before them have won worlds and I’ve never seen anything like the kids this year. I myself have won worlds. At the gym that I won with we were taught to wait. We were not to steal the moment from anyone. That’s exactly what was done this weekend. The moment was stolen from multiple second place teams, the moment they worked 365 days for.

All it would have taken was 30 seconds maximum for the second place team to take their podium. These athletes have enough talent to complete a two minute and thirty second world champion routine. They should be able to wait 30 seconds for their name to be called. So for my final point, lets stop making excuses for bad sportsmanship. Stop allowing our athletes to have a pity party when we don’t win. Let’s show them to be grateful and excited for whatever place they earn. They earned it and everyone worked hard for it, so its time to be proud!

Check out my latest cheerleading article!

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  1. Katherine says:

    I use to cheer in high school and college, too! I loved it, but I never did competitive cheerleading because my tumbling skills weren’t up to par. Some of my friends did competitive cheer though. I definitely agree with what you’re saying in regards to cheer…sometimes, 5th place is an amazing spot considering how hard everyone works and how talented people are.

  2. Kaitlin says:

    Yes! I feel the exact same way. I’m glad you have good sportsmanship (and your teammates and coaches) and were able to let the second place team celebrate. Hopefully someone was watching that and will learn from it. Congratulations on first!

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