This year I’ve kind of put this blog on hold as I tried to figure out my life post school, and I regret not documenting my cheer year here, because it was truly a memorable one. In the spirit of this past weekend’s Cheer Evolution Nationals 2013 competition however, I feel it mandatory to get back into blogging about my true passion. This year has been a bit rough for me, and honestly, the one thing that has gotten me through and has always been there for me was my cheer gym, DCA. As soon as I walk into that gym I feel my worries melt away and the only thing I need to focus on is training. It’s like a sort of meditation. Let me walk you through it.
You walk down the stairs, walk through the welcoming open deep purple door, and are greeted by a sea of purple. As far as the eye can see, it’s purple sprung floor for miles (seemingly), beckoning you to come forth and leave your heart onto it. If you come at just the right time, when the sun is right over the gym and high up in the sky, large sun spots projected from the square skylights will be dancing on the violet strips of the floor – spotlights, ready for you to shine underneath them. It’s a beautiful sight. In the far end a rope hangs down mysteriously, ready to lift you high into the never-ending ceiling, so high it might as well be sky. Should you choose to take up its tempting offer, you’ll have to work hard to reach the top, but once you do, you will be rewarded with a sight like no other, a new dimension of the Purple Gym. If height is really not your thing, perhaps the 50 foot tumble track can lure you in with its shiny black surface and promise of a strong, controlled bounce. It’s easy to picture yourself tumbling along, handspring after handspring of bouncy bliss.
It’s quiet in the gym. The other athletes haven’t yet arrived, filling it with the happy sounds of accomplishments and cheers. But soon they will. There is an industrial type of musky scent in the air, fresh and cool, yet strong. I like this smell. It’s familiar and comforting. It sticks to your practice clothes and shoes, and when you go home and you take them out of your bag, you can still smell purple pride on them, laced with that day’s accomplishments.
I like my gym. At a time when you’re feeling lost and confused, it provides relief from life, from stress, from pressure, even if it is just temporary. The challenges of learning skills, and the feeling of accomplishing them gives me purpose and satisfaction. Travis, DCA’s owner and head coach really motivates you and celebrates and recognizes every small accomplishment, taking the time to connect with every athlete, to make them feel included, special, and important members of the gym. He is a walking sport and body encyclopedia, and is dedicated to coaching through proper and repeated drills and progressions, through hard conditioning and smart working rather than a ‘just do it’ or ‘just throw it’ stunt and tumble philosophy that is still widespread practice in many gyms.
When I started writing this post, I didn’t mean to turn it into a review of my gym, so I apologize if this feels too ‘scripted’. I simply want to share my love for this place, because it welcomed me so wholeheartedly and helped me out a lot this year. Those purple mats really have a way of etching themselves straight into your heart.
Live. Love. Cheer.