What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
When I think about my time with all-star cheer, the saying
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
comes to mind. These words definitely apply to me and my experience as a
cheerleader. I am currently in my 6th season of all-star cheerleading. For those of us who know
that cheerleading is indeed a REAL sport, know the difficult tasks and risks of injury cheerleaders face.
Unfortunately, I have experienced a number of injuries that may have turned
some athletes away from the sport.
During my very first season, I fractured the growth plate in my ankle which caused me to have to sit out for quite some time. During my second season, I fractured my left femur which I learned is the strongest bone in the human body. Again, I was told that I had to sit and take it easy for a while. During my third season, I broke two toes on my right foot. Hearing those dreadful words, “You’re going to have to stay off your foot for a while to heal,” we’re once again disappointing. My most recent and most devastating injury was a fractured tibia and growth plate in my knee.
This injury caused me to miss my very first Summit performance.
Despite my many injuries, I continued to push and did not miss many practices. I attended each practice more and more determined to get back on the mat with my teammates. While sitting out during practices, I would exercise the healthy parts of my body. I learned the choreography and practiced it mentally. When I could, I stood in during the routine to mark my spot. When I was injured, my mother did not cancel my privates with my tumbling instructors. Instead, I attended every session and worked on anything I could that did not involve the injured part of my body. Learning my back walkover, backhand spring, and tuck was definitely delayed because of my injuries. I often became frustrated because just when I had come really close to getting a major skill, I’d have another setback. I would watch my teammates develop these skills quickly, and here I am still trying to learn to kick over.
However, I did not quit.
I cheered my teammates on for getting their skills and they pushed and cheered me on as I continued to work on mine. Eventually, I learned my back walkover, my backhand spring, my front walkover, and even my tuck. But due to my last injury, I am currently re-learning my level 3 skills. And it’s ok! I will continue to push harder to master my tumbling and make it better than what it was before.
Because, through my journey I learned what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger!
~Olivia Del Orbe