It has been about three years since I twirled in my last NBTA competition. Looking back on those six years in my life, it is crazy to remember all of the bad times, but also the good times. Throughout those six years I learned a lot about others as well as myself and I would not trade those times for anything in the world.
During high school, I twirled on a line ranging from 11-13 girls. Anytime you put a group of girls with different personalities together, you should automatically expect drama. However, there was no possible way I could have been prepared for the amount of drama that I was placed in. Even through the drama I learned several things:
- I learned how to stand up for myself when there was something I truly believed in.
- You should not let other people try to tear you down.
- Even though there were many issues and differences, we were still a team and had to work together.
Twirling on a team was fun. I loved doing pep rallies and twirling during half time under those Friday night lights with the Mighty Mojo Marching Band, but I learned more about myself during my solo time at competition.
- Only I could push myself to be the best that I wanted to be.
- Anything worth having is worth fighting for.
- Love yourself and be proud of your hard work no matter what the outcome is.
There are several more things I learned through baton twirling altogether:
- I learned what it feels like to be truly passionate about something.
- I learned what it feels like to earn something that you worked so hard for.
- I learned how much strength I have (you would too, after being hit in the head several times by a metal stick).
- I learned that mistakes are going to happen and you have to keep going. Or as my coach would point out, “If you forget your routine, keep going and make things up. They do not know what your routine is supposed to look like.” This can apply to life, too – if you do not know what you are supposed to do, keep acting like you do, and you will look like you have everything together.
- Baton twirling is a sport and a difficult one. Baton twirling incorporates grace, dance, and flexibility at the same time as trying your best to not drop the baton or hurt yourself while doing it. It is a sport. It was my sport.
Every time I stepped out onto that floor at competition or even on the football field, I felt beautiful and that nothing could hurt me. I experienced some really tough times during my senior year of school and I do not think that I would have made it without baton twirling. Baton twirling was my “band-aid,”if you will. If I had a bad day, twirling would take my mind off everything (or maybe what helped was throwing the baton as hard as I could to release anger, or both!). When I was sad, twirling made me feel joy. When I was happy, twirling was there to help me express my happiness. Twirling also brought me to have one of the best friends ever. Without twirling I would not have met my friend, Lillian, which also helped me get through my dreadful senior year.
I am so thankful for these lessons I learned throughout the six years I involved myself in something I was passionate about. I will always remember the people who encouraged me, as well as the people who tried to knock me down only to make me stronger. I miss twirling most days and I always will. It was a huge part of my life. I will be forever grateful for the memories that I have from twirling and the amount of respect I earned for the sport and myself.
Thank you baton twirling for the laughs, cries, frustrations, joy, memories, strength, and lessons. I will always remember the impact you had on my life.