The teenage son of motivational speaker, Deepak Chopra, once said, “Next year, I want even more uncertainty than I had this year, because it is only when things don’t go as planned that we truly test ourselves and grow.”
Likewise, the parents of the North Texas Tumble and Cheer gym may not want to relive this current competitive cheer season’s strife again, but they’re pretty unanimous in their appreciation for what the rocky journey did for them, more than to them.
The already established cheer squads, based out of a gym located in Argyle, had already paid $15,000 in booster fees that goes towards the cheer season’s competition fees, training facility, including coaches’ salaries, when the families found the doors unexpectedly, permanently shut at the end of October. With a little less determination, they could also have been shut on the kids’ cheer seasons’ dreams, as well.
It was not to be.
Rather than whining and feeling sorry for themselves, the families reached down, figuratively and financially, pulling themselves up by the sneaker laces. They also pulled together in a manner that they had not done prior.
Reanna Wallace, the group’s Media Director, and mother of 14 year old participant, Camille Strange, explains, “We’re not just talking about losing the use of our gym facilities. The girls have been working with coaches and teammates since summer. When it comes to competitive cheerleading, you can’t easily make major changes, especially at the last minute…But, you don’t up and quit just because of a gym!”
Quitters they are not. They were able to switch practices to Liberty Christian School to get ready for their first national meet. So, they had a place, but what about coaches?
Even though the salaries had disappeared, Cheer Director Kim Fields and Coaches Christy Muckensturn, Austin Shirley, and Logan Lefler didn’t quit on the girls, either.
Robin Gibson, whose nine year old daughter, Allison Gibson, competes, asserts, “We never got down. Frankly, I was very surprised at how upbeat, how very mature the girls were. They learned through adversity. Everyone banded together.”
Tiffani Meier, who has an eight year old daughter, Kennedy, in the group, got together with her husband, Martin, to fund the new facility that was now needed. Mr. Meier runs three Hartnett Corp. restaurants: two Flips Patio Grills and Mi Dia, but found a way to help, even though free time was probably non-existent.
Ms. Meier adds a different spin on what the girls were going through, “The girls had felt ‘safe’ at the original gym.” Some were still in elementary school. “That emotional safety net was really ripped from beneath them. It may be hard to understand. But, as long as they’re together, wherever they are, they’re all right.”
Finding practice space was not going to be easy and their first cheer competition was drawing closer. While they were able to get temporary gym use, they could only practice on Sundays, whereas they’d been training three times per week.
“This wasn’t just a few competitors. Fifty girls were involved in the cheer program,” Ms. Meier explains. “Nationals were coming up on December 14th. We sprang into action with pumpkin and pecan pie bake sales. On December 1st, after just one month, we moved into a new facility.”
“Just two weeks later, the girls placed 3rd and 5th at the National Cheerleading Associations Holiday Classic, The Passion Team – Level3 Junior, has 10 girls; the Warrior Team – Level 1 Youth, has 14; and the Special Needs – Heaven’s Angels group has eight girls.
Competitive Cheer Squad tryouts are coming up in March. North Texas Tumble and Cheer Gym offers a complimentary tumbling one-hour class to try out the program. Ms. Gibson and Ms. Meier concur, “We’d like to grow the tumbling class and get younger girls involved in all of our programs.”
Obviously, an attitude of can-do camaraderie is every bit as important as physical attributes. Being true to their Christian roots, the moms with whom I spoke didn’t even want to mention the names of the people or organization that disappeared with the $15,000 booster club fund.
If you’d like your child or children to be involved with a group like this, the new facility is located at 2126 Hamilton Rd, #10, Argyle, TX 76226. The phone number is 940-383-3839. You can find them on Facebook, under North Texas Tumble and Cheer. As of this writing, its website: www.northtexastc.com was under construction, but they can be emailed at [email protected]
Moms – don’t let the youngsters fool you: the turmoil they faced motivated the adults into a more social environment, too. “We developed better relationships with each other,” Ms. Gibson expounded.
“We all helped each other out with various skills,” Ms. Meier added.
In the end, it seems like a life lesson was learned about the value of persevering through problems, using teamwork, faith, and family — with the sporting event becoming a stage for something even more important, something that the athletes and parents will carry with them long after the event has passed.
John LaVine can be reached at [email protected]