Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. We get so caught up on everyday routines and stress that we tend to simply overlook everything that is in front of our face. Coaching is rough. It’s just as easy, if not easier, to forget all the amazing things. So, here’s a list of things that makes me thankful to be a cheer coach, even if I don’t verbally say it all year-round.

1. The balance.
With all things in life, there is balance. You take the good with the bad, the loud with the quiet. The crazy with the easygoing. Of course, there is a negative side to coaching. Do not let the bad overshadow the good! While you focus on what is going wrong or the fact that your expectations sometimes aren’t reality, take a look around you. Odds are, while you’re sulking in depression, frustration and a cloud of stress, you are missing out on some laughter. Missing out on the fact that although it wasn’t perfect, the cheerleaders for once gave it everything that they had. Remember that balance, and look for the beautiful in the ugly.

2. The parents.
Oh, parents. They all have that capability to push buttons worse than the cheerleader’s themselves. We sometimes forget that they don’t understand all the behind-the-scenes that goes into the sport. We also forget that they are just human. Parents may make mistakes, not read things over and sometimes nothing in this world could make you happy. Yet, through it all, they are the reason you are here, doing what you (hopefully) love to do. They created that life and are raising that athlete standing in front of you. They trust you enough to teach their child everything we have to offer. Respect that. Parents are the backbone of this sport.

3. The routine.
Gosh, I wish making this up was easy. To some, it just flows. It’s just natural. To others, well, that’s what they make choreographers for. Whether you teach it or have it taught, it falls on the coaches. Fixing the little things, fixing that stunt that just doesn’t want to seem to stay up. When the cheerleaders hit the mat, that routine is your baby out there–in every sense of the word. It keeps you up all night, has you counting to eight so many times you actually forget how to count past eight, and sometimes has you ready to lay on a practice mat for all of eternity. (Come on, I am not the only person who does this.) That same thing can leave you prouder than you have ever felt. You taught that; you coached those athletes who are completely owning it; you created what the judges loved enough to leave smiley faces on your score sheet.

4. The competition.
Sportsmanship is a huge thing with me. Want to be the best? You have to beat the best. Without friendly competition, you would never EARN the places you receive. Be thankful for the other teams, even if they are not so friendly. It’s an amazing example of everything you do not want to be, and everything that you and your team are. Those who are not kind are more than likely the reason that you are.

5. The fellow coaches.
Give thanks to coaches everywhere, whether they are with your same organization or not. We, as coaches, can get wrapped up in the cheer world. The title can sometimes send us on a power trip, and pride is often a hard thing to swallow. Take a step away from that deadly sin and realize additional input can never hurt you. Extra eyes can observe more than just yours can. No one said you have to follow that input, but you should definitely consider it. If they were willing to take time away from their life to offer assistance it should not go unnoticed on your end. Those same people will pick you up if you’re being stubborn and you fall, they will encourage you, and honestly, fill your head up after you have done a great job.

6. The cheerleaders. The pains that they are, and the ones who have lazy days, and the ones who frustrate you when you just don’t understand how they can’t do something that comes easy to you. The only people in this world who can make a giant bow on the top of their head look completely fierce are your cheerleaders. They may stress you out to the ends of this earth, but at the end of the earth, you will find them cracking up laughing. That laugh that can erase any horrible run-through. Cheers to the group of girls who are lazy at practice and then pull off a miracle when their time comes that leaves your jaw on the floor. Cheerleaders, who don’t realize their own strength and tell you that they ‘can’t’ do something. Those same ones who finally stop resisting your every push, and in fact, do what they said they can’t. Those athletes who smile when in tears, who push through the pain and who make life so much brighter. They may drive you absolutely crazy, but you know deep down, you wouldn’t want to imagine a moment without them.

There are so many things that you should be thankful for, these just skim the surface.

What are other things that make you thankful to be a cheer coach? Share in the comments!