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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Cheer trip changed my e-motions

“Fight, Eagles, fight; go Eagles go!” Cheers such as these are immediately what enter my mind when I think of cheerleaders. But after 72 hours with the FC cheer squad, all the previous misconceptions I’ve held since my own high school days were challenged the weekend of April 25-27.

I joined eight members of the cheer squad and coach Katie Mendenhall to a Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders (FCC) coach?s conference at Knott?s Berry Farms in Los Angeles, CA.

But as we got into the cars, an unpleasant stench nearly overwhelmed me. It was the odor of one of the cheer girls? shoes, smelling up the car. That rancid stink, coupled with the overwhelming sense that I had just entered a world where girls emptied bottles of hairspray for the perfect ponytail and voluntarily spent hours on end smiling and cheering, terrified me. But I chose to accompany them anyway despite my hesitations; I took the blue pill (re: Matrix).

All the anxiety that I felt quickly subsided as I felt these girls? eagerness to attend this event and dedication to their sport. Many interesting conversations later, we arrived at our destination. Upon our arrival, we met up with several coaches and participants also in attendance at a nighttime reception.

I was pretty wired from the drive and enlisted some of the girls to try and teach me a few simple moves (motions) while we waited for everything to get underway. As I fed off of the girls? energy and positive attitude, I think that we were all curious as to what the remainder of the conference would bring.

Friday night, as Katie and I headed to sleep, I was excited and knew that I would have a hard time falling asleep. Rest proved to be extremely elusive and several hours later I awoke to the sound of Katie violently coughing; it was somewhere around 4 A.M. I guess that it was time to get up.

After a restful, but very short night of sleep, I was ready to be thrown into the world of competitive cheerleading. Almost immediately I was shocked, not only by the welcoming nature of these mere strangers but also by the added value that I gained throughout the sessions.

Although geared specifically for the ?cheer audience,” I took away insightful tools and reminders of why I became a softball coach. One speaker that stood out to me in particular spoke candidly about her own coaching struggles. She reminded me of the ministry of coaching and life lessons that my players would gain that would travel far beyond statistics. I was thankful that God allowed me to receive that information.

Later on Saturday morning as I watched the girls learn a hip-hop routine (where I clumsily tried to keep in step), I got to see them in action. I was impressed as the girls picked up the hip-hop dance and some additional moves from the Azusa Pacific cheer squad. There was a low roof in the room where everyone was stunting and I held my breath, as there were several close calls. Junior Brittany Stobbe was quite a trooper as she was able to touch the roof with her hand and looked fearful every time she was raised.

As the day passed quickly, we were all looking for some rest and relaxation and decided on a trip to nearby Huntington Beach. As we bonded over some delicious Mexican food, I got the opportunity to learn more about these young ladies. And also to keep things interesting, junior Natalie McCallum asked an exorbitant amount of questions.

Sunday afternoon was swiftly upon us and, as we were loading the vans to head back home, I reflected on the trip. Everything that God has used to change my heart and my life has been completely spontaneous. At moments when I felt content with work and relationships, God revealed more of His mysteries to me.

This adventure wasn?t any different. When coach Katie asked me if I was available to drive a group of cheerleaders to a conference, I couldn?t really explain why I accepted. However the lessons and memories that I took home from Los Angeles have enabled me to become not only a better coach, but also a better person.

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  • L

    Logan RoodApr 10, 2010 at 6:56 am

    I want to thank Doug for being Joseph at the last minute. That was soooo fun. Thanks also Ms. Vogt. 🙂 for believing in us.

  • K

    Katherine BennettApr 10, 2010 at 6:56 am

    This was such a great show. The choir was absolutely beautiful and the band was amazing! I had such a great time, even though backstage for drama was complete and utter chaos. 🙂 Good job to everyone who preformed!