We wrapped up our 12th season on Tuesday night at our year end banquet. Hard to believe that 12 years has flown by since Dawn and I had a dream, set a plan in motion and started Panther Cheer Athletics. At the banquet, I had an opportunity to share with all our families the vision behind the start of Panther Cheer….and I wanted to share that publicly with you all today.
13 years ago Dawn and I were coaching the McRoberts High School Cheerleading teams. I was a teacher at the school and Dawn had joined me as a volunteer coach of the team for the past few years. We passionately believed in what we were doing: providing a unique opportunity for the students of the school to be involved in a team sport where their leadership skills could be fostered and flourish, where young woman and men could have the opportunity to become part of something greater than themselves, where the values of team work and hard work were at the core of what they were doing. I saw firsthand the difference being a part of the cheer had on the students I taught. It gave many a home, a tribe, a safe place to be during the tumultuous teenage years. I saw faces light up when they walked into the gym (even for a 7am practice). Every June, we reflected deeply about how the graduating group of athletes were changed through their involvement in cheer. We saw how deep their friendships had grown with their team mates, how strong and confident they were as they headed off to University and how empathetic and caring they had become as they set their vision for their future.
It became clear to Dawn and I that we wanted to make an even bigger impact. We thought “If this is what can happen when we have athletes with us for 5 years, imagine what could happen if we have them for 10 years!” And it was these thoughts of starting our journey with athletes as young as 3 and developing relationships with them for 10+ years that was the spark for the fire that has grown at Panther Cheer. To see our vision become a reality and to have known and loved some of our athletes for 10-15 years now is mind-blowing. We now have the honor of seeing our former athletes find tremendous success in their chosen career paths, become world travellers, committed wives and dedicated mothers.
On Tuesday night, at the end of our 12th season, we had the honor of awarding 3 of our athletes with TEN YEAR rings. TEN YEARS — ten years of these athletes & their families being committed to this sport, ten years of hard work & persistence to learn new skills, ten years of setting goals, overcoming obstacles, reaching milestones, ten years of friendships, ten years of influence, TEN YEARS of memories made by being a part of the Panther family. It blows me away to think of the impact our coaches and we as the owners have had the opportunity to have on so many young woman and men. We are even more thankful and blessed to have been allowed to have this opportunity, bestowed on us by the parents who believe so deeply in what we do. That they value and cherish the influence our coaches have in their child’s life is humbling. We do not take this responsibility lightly.
I heard many times on Tuesday night how much being a part of the Panther family has had on the growth and development of the children in our program. How it has helped shape them, give them confidence, teach them grit and set them on their future path of success. As we said goodbye to 5 of our graduating athletes this season, I sit in anticipation of what amazing difference they will make in this world. Off to change the world and live the words of Dr. Seuss in “Oh the places you will go”.
And as one chapter closes, I sit in anticipation of the next chapter beginning. Our 13th season is about to kick-off! Dawn & I can’t wait to share all that is coming in the next few months. New staff, new programs but ALWAYS the same love, same passion & same caring from our staff. It is my promise to all that are a part of the Panther family and to all the new families that join us this year, to continue to find ways to enhance, brighten, strengthen and grow our committment to you to ALWAYS keep your child’s best interests at the core of all decision we make at Panther Cheer.
We are excited to have our upcoming TEAM PLACEMENTS for our competitive teams on May 24 & 25. We encourage you to join us for what promises to be an unforgettable year!