A Thank-You Letter to My Cheer Captain

It was the summer before my junior year of college. I was living in my old apartment complex that had a pool and a hot tub. Since Boone, North Carolina, still has chilly days in May, I was relaxing away the stress caused by finals week away in the hot tub. In the hot tub with me were two other girls that I hadn’t previously known. We started talking, and both girls turned out to be super sweet. We ended up talking about high school and the extracurricular activities we did on the side. One of the girls told me that she cheered and that she was starting Appalachian State University’s first all-girl competitive club cheerleading team with her best friend.

Flash forward to the start of my junior year of college, and the girl in the hot tub who cheered in high school, Taylor Rogers, ended up being my cheer captain. This is a thank you letter to her, and to everything that she’s done to make our team as great as it is.

 

Dear Taylor,

First off, I wanted to thank you so much for enduring everything that you had to go through in order to make this team. That includes all the lengthy paperwork, all the licensing, all the choreography, figuring out uniforms and stunt groups, putting together a routine, registering us for competition, booking hotel rooms, figuring out where we were going to practice (after getting kicked out of the first place we were practicing), getting someone to do the music -- and I could honestly go on and on. But without every single little thing that you did, we would have never gotten the chance to compete at CANAM. So thank you.

Secondly, I wanted to thank you for being one of the most positive people I have ever met. The fact that we were a completely new team, full of people who hadn’t known one another, let alone stunted or practiced together, meant that we had the odds stacked against us. And let me tell you, those odds kept making themselves known. However, no matter what happened, you always made sure to let us know how proud of us you were.

You always reassured us that we had the talent and the drive to keep going. Even when we had nowhere to practice you told us we could do it. Even when we had to practice (and stunt) in the rain and mud on Duck Pond Field, you told us we could do it. Even when we had girls quit one month before the competition, you told us that you believed in us and that we could do it. Even when stunt groups kept on not hitting, you would tell us to try one more time. Then, when we would come back to that stunt that we couldn’t hit, you told us to envision in our minds us hitting the stunt, and you told us that we could do it and that you believed in us. I can’t thank you enough for not only believing in me, but for believing in the whole team. Thank you.

I distinctly remember the moment right before we were going to go on and compete. You asked all of us to hold hands and you said a prayer. Although I don’t remember the exact words you said, I remember the way those words made me feel. They calmed me, they energized me, and they made me feel ready to compete.

Finally, I have two last things to thank you for. First, for being such an an amazing main base and for being a great dancer and an even better choreographer. Second, I wanted to thank you for sharing your love of cheer with us. Without you, there still wouldn’t be a club cheer team. Without you, I wouldn’t have met the wonderful friends that I have now. Without you, there wouldn’t be so many wonderful memories filled with equally wonderful people. Without you, there wouldn’t be a legacy to pass on. So Taylor, thank you so much.

 

Love,

Paola

P.S. Thank you to Co-Captain Madison Morgan, for also putting in sweat, love, and tears into this team. You were Taylor’s Rock, and Taylor couldn’t have done this without you, and we couldn’t have done this without you. You are an amazing back spot and an amazing human being. Thank you so much to both of you.

Photo courtesy of Paola Garcia