The Hobby That Changed My Life

Mary Norton, Journalist, Photographer

When I was younger, I had never really thought about the future or who I would eventually become. I simply anticipated what game me and my friends were going to play at recess and what was for dinner that evening. That was the only thing that crossed my little brain. Things more in depth or important never really crossed my mind. I had never dreamed that one day I’d be a part of others’ lives rather than just mine. I was in my own little world and never really worried much about what goes on around me. I pictured myself as the only one in the world, but I soon started to understand that I would someday feel so small in this big world.I grew up always wanting to cheer. I would watch competitions on youtube and would try to be just like some of the girls I watched. It became an obsession. When I was in fifth grade I was offered a spot on the twisters cheer team. I was so excited. Cheer became my hobby and my life almost. I was practicing every night just like the girls I had watched. The very next year, I began to grow in my love for cheerleading and tried out at my middle school as an incoming sixth grader. I was used to being competitive and had never had to try out for anything but this experience helped me grow and encouraged me to work for what I wanted. I ended up making the team and tried out every year until eighth grade. Cheer became everything to me and so did the bonds and friendships I gained through it. As the end of eighth grade started, I felt like it was sixth grade all over again. I was going to a new school, with new cheer coaches to impress, and new people to compete for a spot on the team with.As freshman year approached, hardworking, motivated Mary came out again. The adrenaline tryouts provided me was so nerve racking but such a good feeling. I made the team once again and tried out and did the same all the way up to my senior year. I am a senior now, and my season just ended a couple of months ago. It hasn’t hit me yet that my hobby that I have taken pride in my entire life might be completely over now. Unless of course, I cheer during college.Since cheerleading has come to an end, I just want to share what it has taught me. It has taught me to work as a team no matter what. I have learned that you have to work hard for things you care about. Lastly, I learned that I wasn’t so small afterall. In fact, cheer helped me look beyond myself rather than being like my younger self who lived in her own world.  If it wasn’t for the people around me encouraging me, I would’ve never gotten to live my dream of being a cheerleader.