As athletes we get put in the spotlight sometimes. People hear our name get called out over the loudspeaker. Some of us coach, officiate, and/or attend youth sporting events. Our faces are out in public more than the average person, and we have tons of little ones looking up to us at all times. We are natural born role models whether we like it or not. The minute you put that uniform on, you decided to put yourself in a position that makes others look up to you. You do not get to choose whether you are a role model or not. The kids looking up to you do. So do not disappoint them. We tend to forget that we have tons of little eyes on us at all times and we must always put our best foot forward. But how do we do that?
We have all been to a rivalry game and heard some of the crazy things a student section can yell out in the heat of the moment. As cheerleaders it’s your job to turn that energy around. Athletes have a competitive nature and it is easy to get caught up in the moment. You need to realize that you are representing your school and team even while in the student section. This goes for your own competitions and sporting events. This is when kids are watching you most. They look for your uniform, they look for your bow, and they watch how you act off and on the mat. So when you’re laughing at your opponents, arguing with teammates, or having bad sportsmanship, they will think that is what they should do.
IN THE COMMUNITY
It’s not just at the games and competitions that young athletes look up to you. They look up to you at the parades, the Christmas lighting ceremonies, graduations, and just walking around the local grocery store. At any moment, someone’s little eyes could be watching you and listening to your every word. So always keep it PG. We need to make sure that we are not talking about people, we are watching what we say, and we always present ourselves in the best manner. Yes, it does seem a little extreme because we are just kids ourselves, right? Not to them. In their eyes we are the epitome of what they want to be when they grow up. So when you are walking around the store with your practice clothes on badmouthing a teammate, they are listening to you and taking it all in.
This is one of the most important tools of communication in today’s society and some of us forget that anyone and everyone can see what we post and repost. Most kids nowadays have social media accounts and will follow anyone from their local high school because they truly think you are the coolest thing that has ever walked planet earth. Posting cuss words, mean things about another team or its players, and/or pictures of you at parties not only gives you a bad image, but your whole team. Most times when you hear someone talking about a situation you hear, “A cheerleader posted…” or “One of the basketball players said…” these are the statements that will give your entire program a bad name, not just the athlete that posted the picture, or tweeted the cuss word, etc.
So we all must realize, in uniform or not we are in the spotlight, on and off the mat. No matter what sport you are active in, you will always have little ones looking up to you. Take pride in your sport, team, and yourself and be the role model that you would want your child to look up to someday.