Reading the USASF’s first statement regarding the possibility of cancelling Worlds seemed unreal to me. I was in the midst of my senior season, training tirelessly with my teammates, and getting excited and sentimental for Worlds. After 14 years, the end of my career was in sight, and the prospect of it being cut short was unbelievable.
On Friday, March 13, a day I’ll never forget, the world seemed to implode. School was cancelled, competitions postponed and the gym closed. Social media was full of uncertainty and panic, and rumors spread like wildfire.
Each morning after I woke up and for a moment forgot anything had happened. I thought of going to practice, having dinner with my friends and taking my math exam. But as I drifted back into consciousness, everything hit me, and the pain returned all over again. I realized that the day ahead of me would be just like the last. The purpose in my life had been taken away, and that gap inside of me was overwhelming.
Before I could fall deeper into my isolation, I reached out to as many people as I could. By checking in on them, I was healing myself. After the first few days of shock and confusion, everyone seemed to come back together. We took advantage of the technology we have access to and began to pick each other back up, even from miles away.
As a member of the USASF Athlete Advisory Council, I had always felt grateful and honored to be involved in such an impactful way in the All Star community. My appreciation for the USASF and their leaders has only grown during this time. They have filled the All Star-shaped hole in the hearts of the council members, and given us purpose when we needed it most. It’s difficult for many people to see the behind-the-scenes efforts put in by the USASF but their dedication, open-mindedness and ingenuity during a time of crisis has inspired me.
There are so many resources being offered to both coaches and athletes by the USASF and their selfless leaders. They have provided weekly check-ins for us council members, challenging us to be creative and inspiring within our communities, giving us an environment where we feel supported and heard. Social media has been utilized as an invaluable tool, spreading uplifting and connective challenges across many platforms. Through their Athletes in Action program, they have provided interactive virtual leadership training for All Star athletes. Gym owners and coaches have also been given countless resources for support through daily topic-based calls.
Connection has been the one thing that so many people are in need of these days. I am positive that no other sport in the world has become as connected as the All Star community during this crisis. Through the tireless effort of the USASF, and the incredible athletes they oversee, we have turned our anxieties into action, and our problems into progress. It would have been so easy for our community to become divided by uncertainty and fear, but we have taken this time to remember that we are all united in our passion for All Star cheer and dance.
I have realized that there was so much in my life that I took for granted. Now that we have all had plenty of time and space to reflect, we have become a little more cognizant of the blessings we’ve been given. I took for granted the joy that All Star cheer gave me, and was hardly aware of the strong community that it made me a part of. Now, even though I am so far away from that community, I have never felt more connected to it.
Our community is resilient, strong, optimistic, resourceful and inclusive. I am inspired and humbled by the people I work with on a daily basis. This is an unprecedented and truly bizarre time in our lives. But this is also a challenge that our community has risen to, looked in the eyes, and said, “We are stronger than this.”
This is All Star.
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