Dear My Favorite Coach,

First of all, I want to start off with a big thank you: thank you for enduring years of practices, classes, and rule books in which you learned the basics of cheerleading. Thank you for waking up at 6am, and traveling to competitions–even on the days you felt too tired from the previous night’s practice. Thank you for all the donuts you've bought us to celebrate hitting zeros. Thank you for your dedication, and for being one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. You may never know how much your hard work is appreciated, and there may not be a way possible to express my thankfulness.

Second of all, the gym wasn’t just another gym to me; it was a safe place to share my problems and feelings. It was my home. It was my go-to after a bad day, the place I could go when I needed comfort. The countless blood, sweat, and tears I have left on that mat are endless, and you were there for all of it. After not hitting my stunt, you taught me to use my anger to try harder and make it better than it was before. You were my second mother, the one I could count on when my actual mother was mad at me for not throwing my pass in the tumbling section. (Yes, she’s one of those moms. *Eye roll*.) When I age out, I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss the rush of happiness that surged through me when I stepped onto those blue cheer mats. The prayers that were shared before those dreaded full out, the process of getting ready to compete. I’m going to miss the countless hours that were spent in the gym being told “one more time”… only to do it five more. I’m going to miss going into the dance at competitions, focusing my eyes just to find you holding a big 0 over your head. Those memories will be something I will hold in my heart forever.

Next, I know coaching can be hard, and that you sometimes have to deal with sassy cheerleaders, a stunt group that’s having an off day, or a run through of a routine that had more deductions than you could count. But, I appreciate your patience, and your determination to do what's best for the team. I appreciate all the sacrifices you have made, and all the things you have had to deal with just so I could become a better cheerleader.

Finally, I say you changed my life because you truly have. You taught me more lessons than just how to hold a human body in the air. You taught me how to trust others, and myself. You taught me how to turn a bad day into a new skill, and the consequences of letting my flyer touch the ground. I know you’ve encountered hundreds of cheerleaders throughout your coaching career, and I know I’m one of many that admire you as not only a coach, but a person. So, please believe me when I tell you that not only have you impacted other cheerleaders life's, you’ve completely changed mine.

Love,

The Cheerleader Who Couldn’t Have Done It Without You

What would you say to your favorite cheer coach? Tell us in the comments!