10 years later....

Gabi Butler

10 Years Later…

     It’s hard to put into words what the last ten years have meant to me, but recently I was asked by The Cheer Leader Magazine to write some thoughts about how I was feeling about my cheerleading experience, so I am going to give it my best shot.  A lot of people ask me what it is about cheerleading that keeps me coming back.  So I’m going to try to share it as best I can.  If you have ever taken the mat before at a large cheerleading competition I think you will find it easy to understand exactly what I am trying to describe.  It is that feeling… a tingle really; deep inside of your stomach, just before you take the stage.  You can hear the crowd, the energy is like a heavy blanket, covering you with a warm feeling.  It builds with each moment the clock ticks closer to that one moment when the announcer begins to announce your team and you and twenty something of your best friends with one vision rush onto the floor to throw down in two minutes and thirty seconds what you have been working on for hundreds of hours in the gym.  Yes, that was a run-on sentence, but only a run-on sentence would be sufficient to describe the rush from taking the floor with your team.  I have done many fun and exciting things in life, but there just isn’t anything in the world like that feeling you get just as you take that floor.  It’s pride, excitement, fear, longing, struggle, worry, and love… all at the same time.  So when people ask me what it is that keeps me coming back, well there you have it.  It’s everything you can’t put into words, but every cheerleader out there understands exactly what I’m talking about.

     This year I am taking the floor for my 11th year of competitive all-star cheerleading.  It’s hard to believe that so many years have gone by.  I guess time really does fly when you are having fun!  This year has truly been one of my favorite so far.  Being part of Cheer Athletic Wildcats, one of the best teams in the world each year, has taught me so much about myself.  Their tradition inside this program is rich and it has given me a great understanding of the passion that these athletes, current and past, have about this program.  I have also once again gotten to experience the opportunity to learn from more amazing coaches: Brad, Angela, Ray and Leroy.  It’s amazing that as you get older your perception of things changes.  You begin to understand things that didn’t always make sense when you were younger.  For all the young athletes out there, take the time to listen to your coaches.  Most important, communicate with them, because they really want the best for you!  As I write this, our team just won a National Title at NCA in the International Open Coed 5 division.  We also hit 0 both days and we achieved Grand Champion (highest score) of the entire competition.  I could not be more proud of each and every member of our team.  We worked so hard together to truly hit each and every routine.  It was truly as special weekend, one that I will never forget!

     The last thing I wanted to share with you was a great big THANK YOU to all of you who helped me to get the hashtag #GetGabeOnTheList trending on social media.  With your help, we raised enough awareness that Gabe was not only able to get on the list, but within a month of being added, they found a kidney donor!  He had the transplant surgery and is doing very well recovering.  Most importantly, with your help, this amazing young athlete will get a new chance at life without the need for dialysis 3 times per week!  Please continue to keep Gabe and his awesome family in your prayers.  I am also really excited because I just found out some amazing news.  This summer I will be touring again with Kiara Nowlin teaching our summer clinics around the country.  Then, after the summer, Kiara and I will be living together in Texas as she is graduating this year from Baylor University.  Now I know what you’re thinking… “Are you and Kiara going to cheer together next year!?!1?”  The answer… I guess you will just have to wait and see.  Good luck to all the teams that will be competing at Worlds, The Summit, US Finals or any other major competition this year.  See you on the big blue monster!

Carla Tucker

I have followed Gabi since she was a little one in the sport. She has always been such a terrific role model for girls in the sport and as a mom of 2 cheerleaders, I am certainly glad that they have had such a great young woman to look up to. Thank you Gabi for being a class act!!

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