My daughter, Wren, now a high school freshman, is also a cheerleader. I was familiar with cartwheels and back flips, but now I know about aerials, straight cradles, and extended stunts, among other things. And I’ve learned a new phrase, something Wren’s coach often says. She describes the squad as “crazy super awesome!” (And I think an exclamation point may be required!)
Cheerleading originated in the United States, and while it may be easy to dismiss all that jumping about, these young people are ambassadors for their schools, promote school spirit, and essentially, organize a crowd to work together to support a common goal. You might be surprised to know that three U.S. presidents were once cheerleaders (Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George W. Bush). It may not be a big surprise, but I was once a cheerleader too, for football, basketball, and wrestling. Go, Mid-Prairie Golden Hawks! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). I learned a few things that I think still apply:
- Cheer the whole team. Encourage all your team members, not just the stars. Success relies on everyone doing his or her job well.
- Move on. When something doesn’t go as planned (a fumble, a botched play), acknowledge the setback and move on.
- Harness momentum. Figure out ways to build on the interest and enthusiasm of the crowd.
- Focus on team success. Celebrate what the team has accomplished together.
My daughter cheers for Ames High, but we all can appreciate the success of our team, ISU Extension and Outreach. Looking back over the past nearly year and a half, we have a lot to cheer about. You all work diligently to serve the people of Iowa, and it shows. We have story after story that demonstrates the commitment and dedication of our entire team. All this awesomeness is due to one valuable resource: People. Thanks for everything you do — but be careful with those back flips. See you there.
P.S. As a reminder, there are thank you notes for all of you in the video that debuted at our 2011 leadership summit. If you haven’t watched it in a while, take another look.