By Cat Weedon
UpdatedJanuary 14, 2022
They say ‘Tough Times don’t last but Tough People Do’
And these my friends, are the toughest of times. It’s about time we had a very honest conversation about it.
As Coaches, Owners and Directors we thrive on structure, order and on controlling chaos. But right now, there is very little ability to do any of this. Every day brings new challenges that we never anticipated we would face. Every day brings more decisions that need to be made accurately and swiftly. SO MANY DECISIONS. The sheer number of daily decisions can be almost paralyzing.
I see you calming the storms, keeping the ship on course, and leading with confidence. I also see the days its hard to get out of bed and face the realities of what today will bring. I see the struggles to leave it all at the door, to have something left to give so you can be Mom, Dad or Spouse. I see the stress of wanting to NOT be another person or institution that have let these kids down. I see the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows that are hidden behind your game face.
I feel for the constant changing of routines. I feel for the daily texts and calls asking for kids to step up and compete an additional routine. I feel for every coach having to comfort a teary kiddo that they may miss this event, but they will be back for the next. I feel for altering every hope and dream we had for our teams at the beginning of the season. Those hopes and dreams are still there, but they look different every practice. Today it’s to stay in range on tumbling/ stunts with fill ins, tomorrow its to try to address bandaids you’ve put on routines just to make it through the last event, the next day its just do what we must do, to get this team on the floor this weekend.
I hear the tenacity in every owner and coach that has refused to give up. Just keep swimming, keep putting one foot in front of another. I hear the parents who are rallying behind their gym leadership with kindness, understanding and grace. I hear the pleas for just one normal week. Just one event where the roster this week is the same as the one last week. I hear the compassion of coaches that know this kid just needs your kindness and love, not the correction. I hear the pride of the hitting against all odds. I also hear the tears in the car on the way home convincing yourself you’ve done the best you can do today. And you have! You did the best you could and you should be proud of that.
Your battles are my battles too. We are wearing so many hats, and filling so many roles that it can be overwhelming:
Navigating owning a business dependent on children during a 3 year long pandemic
GYM MEDICAL DIRECTOR:
Tasked with enforcing everchanging CDC Protocols, calculating Days of Quarantine, and determining who is back in time to compete any given weekend
Responsibilities to multiple teams’ success despite the challenges. Because parents want to see results and let’s be honest, we need the good results to recharge the empty tanks.
Sometimes you’re putting a ‘Bandaid’ on a routine, and sometimes you’re totally having to rethink sections depending on who is on the floor this weekend.
Eye’s down a kid, thinks to myself “did that kid just cough 3 times, was it dry or wet, do they sound sick or did the dust get them, does she seem like she feels ok? Racking my brain… I don’t think mom said Suzy wasn’t feeling good.” Everyone quick water break, Suzy sis come here, you’re not in trouble! “ How are you feeling?”
Kids are hurting and they need you. Sometimes they need encouragement, sometimes a stern push in the right direction, sometimes they need to be held accountable and sometimes they just need hug. The pressure can be debilitating on cheer athletes right now. Especially with the current Anon culture. Gyms are doing their best to keep kids competing, even with out-of-level fill in athletes, only to be slammed for not perfect performances. Anons should be ashamed of themselves. We are doing our best.
Answering questions about events that are over 30 days away is a stretch right now. Honestly, most of us are functioning at a 3-4 days in advance place right now. But parents want reassurances that comps are going to happen, that money invested in flights and hotels won’t be lost, that all of this will lead to end of season events their kids are hoping for.
And we give them those reassurances the best we can, all while understanding that 2 years ago Cheer Stood Still. Every email, call, post or text now includes “as far as we know”, “Based on the information we have”,“ If anything changes you will be the first to know”, or “ They’re saying the event is a GO”
Escapism: (noun) the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.
I have read 8 books since Jan 1st. Though I have always loved to read, every free second I have right now, I’m reading. I’m staying up all hours of the night to read it is consuming me. Tabbi M my cheer BFF called me out, rightly so, for using reading as a method of escapism. She was 100 percent correct.
I am ESCAPING into books, because my current reality as a Coach and Gym Owner is not always pleasant. This moment in time is HARD. I’m lucky that I can escape into a book, but others may not have safe outlets that help them cope with the world around them right now. Pour into them, give them grace and support, its so needed right now.
But there is light, and hope, and daily reminders of why we all CHOOSE this industry
Let me tell you something about every coach and owner I know, no one can match their tenacity. No one problem solves better, and no not one of them will give up on these kids or this season.
The greatest mistake we made, was believing that the 2020-2021 season was the worst it was going to get. We let our guard down. To a certain degree, last year was a walk in the park compared to now. We all competed a lot of virtual events, and while those were challenging, if you had the time and willpower you could get a zero for submission. Now the battle is making through the week leading up to competition. It feels like a total win to just be on the floor.
Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do.
And we are TOUGH
Keep fighting the good fight, Keep Livin the Dream.