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The 2nd Phase – How Being a Gator Opened My Eyes Part 1

As a freshman at the University of Florida, I never once thought I would make the cheerleading team. When I found out that the University had a club competition cheer program...

As a freshman at the University of Florida, I never once thought I would make the cheerleading team.  When I found out that the University had a club competition cheer program, I could not have been a happier person; all I wanted to do was compete! I walked into tryouts my freshman year, took one look around and knew that this is where I wanted to spend the next four years, but that it would also be a challenge. Boy, was I right.

I tried out, and made the team, as an alternate but I made it! The next goal was to just work hard to achieve my goal of becoming a full time member of the team. I didn’t have to wait long, I worked hard and about a month or so after tryouts I found myself as the newest member for the intermediate team for Florida Competition Cheerleading (FCC). Because I was such a late bloomer in the cheer world, my hard work continued as I worked to keep up with my team mates. I was in the gym taking privates and in the gym working out. It eventually paid off as I was able to develop my tumbling and stunting skills pretty well, especially for someone who is 4’11.

I was never a terrific athlete, but I had heart and I wanted it more than anything. I know that that is one of the biggest reasons I am where I am today. I love finding athletes with the biggest hearts, because they make it worth it!

After my freshman year I found myself nominated to become the programs Vice President. It was then that I think I really knew that all I wanted was to have my own program one day. In my junior year, I found myself in a pretty tough spot. After months and months of practice my team was headed to NCA Daytona College Nationals. After performing on day one, I knew something was wrong. Our coach was not too happy with our performance that day so we soon found ourselves practicing outside. I found myself with no feeling in my right hand/arm/neck. Hoping it was something I could shake off and being the stubborn athlete that I am, I continued to practice.

This did not last long and soon after that my dad and I found ourselves in the nearest hospital. The hospital could not see anything from a x-ray but advised that I should probably not compete the next day. Well, that was not an option. So they put my arm in a sling, gave me some medicine and told me to see a doctor when I got home. Fast forward to the next day, we performed and did amazing! But the feeling I felt coming off the mat was not a happy one, I knew that that would be the last time I would compete. But most definitely not the last time I would have cheer in my life...

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