This past weekend, thousands of cheerleaders from all over traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to compete at one of the biggest competitions of the season… CHEERSPORT Nationals. Many of you probably attended as an athlete, but some of you (like me) perhaps attended as a spectator this year.

By: McKenzie Henderson

This past weekend, thousands of cheerleaders from all over traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to compete at one of the biggest competitions of the season… CHEERSPORT Nationals. Many of you probably attended as an athlete, but some of you (like me) perhaps attended as a spectator this year.

As I walked into the Congress Center, the familiar smell of hairspray, and the welcoming sound of eight-counts echoing throughout the halls, greeted me as so many memories came flooding back of when I last competed here. I know I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the entire competition.

Of course, seeing so many cheerleaders in one place, including some of my old teammates and coaches, made me realize how special this particular competition is. Some of the things I saw this weekend, that I have taken for granted before, stood out to me more as I walked the many halls and arenas at the World Congress Center on Sunday.

1) One of my favorite parts of this past weekend was seeing the various different uniforms that teams were sporting this season. From pants, to shorts, back to skirts, and even leggings, the various designs and SPARKLES that these uniforms were displaying were incredible! I can’t count how many beautiful uniforms I saw, and each was just as unique as well.

2) One of the other things I noticed going on throughout the halls were moments of pure sportsmanship. There were so many teams huddled up together, pumping each other up before they headed back to warm-ups, many of them rival competitors too. My favorite moment was standing up front watching the various teams run onto the floor, and seeing the previous team who had just competed, standing on the side, screaming for this team’s success. Most of them having no connection to the team after them, but supporting them just because.

3) Another moment that stood out to me and had me recollecting back to when I was a mini competing at CHEERSPORT, was watching these big-name, successful teams walk through the arena, and the older athletes taking the time to stop and talk with young cheerleaders, take pictures, or sign their bows. So many times as a young cheerleader, I would wish I could be one of them one day. I looked up to the older girls as role models, and I am sure they did the same thing when they were first starting out. Nothing has changed, yet even after competing, they would run to these little girls, greeting them as long time friends. This, to me, is what cheerleading is about. The medals, jackets, and rings are all good, but knowing you’ve made an impact in someone’s life is the greatest reward of all.

So, my weekend at CHEERSPORT was possibly one of the BEST of my cheerleading career thus far… and I wasn’t even on the mat. I’m sure many of you noticed some of these things happening too, maybe even more! Share with us some of your favorite moments!

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