At the end of every competition season I usually sit back and reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Both of my children are in competitive All Star Cheerleading. They don’t have a football team that they cheer for and well, they don’t really cheer at all. Their sport requires them to be strong, talented, flexible, and mentally tough. They train three days a week for two- three hours each practice. They start the year with a two week try-outs in May. They train throughout the entire summer and have week long choreography camp the week before school starts. They start full-outs in October and their competition season starts in November and goes through April. Then in May they start the process all over again. All Star Cheer is a very expensive sport. We have to pay for the uniforms, tuition, hotels, entry fees, shoes, practice clothes, socks, bows, etc. etc. And in May we wonder was it all worth it?

Our family is what we call a “Sporting Family”. We feel that sports is not an option in our household, but our lifestyle. We are always doing something sporty; whether it is water sports, volleyball, running, working out, or swimming we are always active. We believe that competitive sports is an intricate component to learning life lessons. There really is no better way to learn discipline, work ethics, failure, composure, trust, confidence, and goal setting than in competitive sports.

So was this year worth it? Was it worth all the miles on my car from driving to and from practice? Was it worth all the late night dinners? Was it worth all missing out on school dances and functions? Was it worth the pain and tears? Was it worth the anger and frustration? Was it worth the set backs?

My girls won some competitions this year and they lost some too. But what they experienced and the lessons they learned were worth more than medals. They learned to be prepared and show up early to practice ready to train hard. They learned to be dependable and show up to every practice. They learned how to be wrong. They learned it is OK to make mistakes. They learned that if they do make mistakes, they have to fix them. They learned how to listen to corrections. They learned that sometimes they can do their best and hit their routines and know that their best wasn’t good enough. They learned how to get along with teammates. They learned that they don’t have to like their teammate to get along with them. They learned that not everyone on their team wanted to be there. They learned how to deal with adversity. They learned that words can hurt and they learned that words can heal. They learned that they must work hard everyday, even when they didn’t feel like it. They learned that they get what they worked for. And they learned that when you are handed an opportunity…take it.

My girls are not only improved their skills this year, but they learned life lessons that will carry over into school, and when they get older, work and family. They have grown into hardworking, dedicated, focused, dependable, confident, and successful little ladies. And for that I would have to say that it was more than worth it.