An Open Letter to Veteran Cheerleaders

As much as you all HATE tryouts or think they’re unnecessary or unfair, you have no idea how much I worry and stress about them too. For example, right now almost no one who replied to the interest survey want to cheer during basketball. Several candidates are perpetually on the D/F list and of course several boys answered just to be smart-alecs.

All of you are fantastic cheerleaders and I’d love to have you back, so I want to give you this advice. Nah, I wouldn’t call it advice, more like I want to beg and urge you to do these things.

As you know the Tryout score is actually an aggregate of three scores meant to make it as objective as possible and difficult enough to vet-out those who wouldn’t take it seriously enough. Therefore it would be in your best interest to…

WORK ON GETTING OR KEEPING YOUR GRADES UP. There’s only so many weeks left but one of the three scores is your GPA divided by 4.

WORK ON GETTING TEACHERS TO BE IMPRESSED WITH YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, RESPECTABILITY, AMIABILITY AND ENTHUSIASM. You may have bad days, you may have stress, you may be inclined to be negative or rude, but remember that one of the scores is an average of teacher recommendations and those scores are a compilation of how they rate you on the 6 Pillars of Character from elementary school and the NHS character traits. If you’re snotty or snarky not just to your teacher but to your classmates- teachers notice. I’m not saying start kissing up, but I am hoping that you’ll be leaders all year long, not just when you’re in uniform.
And finally, when it comes to actual tryouts themselves, BRING YOUR A-GAME. Start reviewing & practicing now, don’t slack. Come to as many of the pre-tryout practices as possible. They really do help you, believe it or not. Come on time. Dress to impress. Be sharp, be loud, show confidence even if you have to fake it. Treat the judges and your fellow candidates with respect and as warm, familiar, and casual as we might be together, show respect and deference toward me in front of the judges. All of that stuff makes an impression. Whatever you do don’t “rest on your laurels,” in other words, don’t expect that you’ll automatically get back on and crush the competition just because you know what you’re doing and are usually good at it. Remember the old saying “Work works better than talent when talent doesn’t work.”  Sometimes there will be candidates who you didn’t realize have better grades, have made better impressions on their teachers and who either have more skill or at least impress the judges more than you ever thought they could. If you don’t do your absolute best and they try their hardest, you may get edged out.

Sure, I want you back. You did a great job this year. But I also want candidates who WANT to be cheerleaders. As the chant goes, “you gotta WANT it to WIN it.” How bad do you want it back?

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