I wanted to post some judging pics this past Thursday as a #tbt post...but it didn't happen. I can honestly say that judging cheerleading competitions has been one of the best experiences. It has allowed me to travel, to meet AMAZING people, to stay connected with the sport I love so much...and not to mention they actually pay me to do it? (Seriously, too good to be true)
I started judging back when I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina. At the time I was coaching at Leesville Road High School and I somehow connected to my cheer idol (OMG I love her!)- Cathy Buckey. I ended up working for her summer camps again, in the office, and directly with her her Champion competitions. Without Cathy, I would not have gotten my start in judging, and I thank her for that. I had the chance to work her local events, then even travel to VA and OH to judge. Awesome. Based on my experience working for Cathy I was able to branch out and judge for other companies, like UCA.
Fast forward, two crazy gypsy souls (yep, myself and Johnny Nice) move cross country to San Diego, CA. I had caught the judging bug- so I immediately contacted some of the national company contacts on the West Coast...I ended up judging regional and national events for COA, UCA, GSSA and Cheersport...my travels would take me up and down California and even out to Vegas. I got a chance to see a little bit of the West Coast...all in the name of cheer.
And now here I am in Florida. And again, judging cheerleading has been a way to stay connected with the cheer world, and my 'cheer family' I have made throughout the years on the east and west coasts. Here are just a few photos from the past few years...for some reason I can't really find many from my time in CA or when I first started in NC, I think I didn't take as many photos because I wasn't taking them with my phone, which I always have with me now. I wish I had taken more pics back then!
So, the reason I started this post with judging is because it is through judging that I have had to pleasure of watching routines in the 'Special Needs Division'. Years ago, when I watched I would try to be cool and casually wipe away the tears that always gathered in my eyes....but I am over that. I go full ugly-cry now and I really don't care who sees. Watching these athletes, often time with their non-disabled peers, performing and having the support of the ENTIRE audience...it makes my heart swell with love. It makes me so proud to be a part of this jumping, dancing, tumbling, stunting, loud, sparkly cheer world.
Artist and Art Teacher