“Ughhh,” Nicole groaned. This was the third time she had fallen at today’s practice. The coach was already irritated, but she just could not concentrate. With school and her boyfriend and her parents, she was so stressed out. She had really started to doubt herself as an athlete. Her and the rest of the team had a cheer competition in three days on Saturday, and she was so worried about not landing all her stunts right or forgetting when it was her turn to tumble.Nicole had been cheering in some form since she was five years old. Her mom had sent her to cheer camp every summer for two weeks. She had taken gymnastics since she was three, and she was one of the best tumblers on the team. She was very petite and dainty; she had the perfect body for gymnastics and to be a flyer. She had always doubted herself though because she always focused on what the other cheerleaders were doing and how good they were.
After practice that day, she was really stressed out thinking about the competition on Saturday. She knew she needed more practice, and she really wanted to make her coach and her team happy. She was one of the most dedicated athletes on the squad, but despite all her talent and hard work, she still never saw how good she was.
At the next couple of practices, she fell just as many times as before, and she started to get really anxious about the upcoming competition. On Friday night, after the football game, she could hardly sleep she was so nervous, but the next morning she got up on time and rode all the way to the competition on the bus with the other cheerleaders.
When the team got to the school the competition was being held at, they found out they were to perform fifth. Nicole tried not to let her nerves get the best of her, and when they got out on the mat, she looked out at all the people in the bleachers and she was strangely confident.
“You can do this, think of how long you have been training for this, since you were three. You can do this if you get outside of your own head,” she whispered to herself. And she did. With the makeup and hairspray glistening in all the lights in the huge gym, she smiled the biggest smile at the audience and literally landed every single one of her stunts perfectly and her back hand springs and round offs were the best they had ever been. She could not stop smiling, she had never believed in herself this much before when it came to cheerleading or any other sport for that matter.
For years she had worried she wasn’t good enough, that she had trained hard or long enough, but she had never realized how important something else was, believing that she was good enough and that she could do it. And it just so happened that she could.