The Greatest Wealth is Health
Last year was a crazy busy year. I was on five teams—three cheer teams and two hip hop. We went EVERYWHERE. And we won—A LOT. Cheersport, NCA, UCA—and the coveted title of Triple Crown. I have jackets that some athletes dream of winning their entire cheer career—and I won them all in one season. I’m proud of our accomplishments. But sometimes these things come with a price.
I was eleven going on twelve years old on all senior cheer teams—it was a lot of pressure. The practices were longer and later. The expectations were higher. The previous season I had been on a team where I was three years OLDER than everyone else. It was a big jump. But I did it.
In cheer they always tell you to “push through”—“the work is worth it.”
I was exhausted most days—but I couldn’t sleep! I was so used to go-go-going that my brain didn’t know how to shut itself off. I was crabby and “hangry” all the time, because I would get home late from practice and be too tired to eat dinner, then rush out the door in the morning without eating breakfast. I was always sick, I always had a headache or a stomachache, and I used my rescue inhaler way more than I should have needed to. And then there was the pain in my knees. It started in my left knee, then after a while I had it in my right knee too. It’s called Osgood-Schlatter disease. It’s not really a disease but an “overuse injury” that happens a lot to athletic kids when their bones are growing. I ignored the pain, telling myself just to “push through” thinking it would just go away. But it didn’t—it got worse. My body was stressed out. I should have asked for help earlier. So I took this season off from cheer. I’m still dancing because I wanted to stay active, and it doesn’t bother my knees as much. I’ve been taking better care of myself. I’ve been doing my knee exercises and stretches, and actually eating breakfast in the morning. I’ve had some allergy sniffles here and there but I haven’t really been sick or used my inhaler for over eight months! And my knees are getting better. I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym. So at the end of the day, it’s okay to take a break if you need one.
“If you don’t take care of
your body, where are you going to live…?”
Keep slaying those routines—I’ll see you guys at tryouts in May!