Participation in sports can be one of the best ways to make friends. A common shared interest creates a comfort zone for initial conversation and can help form some of the closest friendships many will have in their lifetime.
Being on a team involves teamwork, time spent together and trust in one another, and in All Star Cheer and Dance that means on and off the performance floor. Practices consist of team bonding and shared schedules while competitions provide a common goal and the highs and lows that accompany wins and losses.
The unique friendships that come from All Star can span decades — and often do! It’s not uncommon to hear of best friends who met when they first started cheering or dancing in elementary school and finished their All Star careers on the championship stages at The Cheerleading and Dance Worlds™.
So, what causes these relationships to become the kind that last a lifetime, that endure life’s ups and downs? We checked in with a few All Star athletes to learn a little bit more about the bonds they’ve created and gotten to the center of what an All Star friendship could mean for someone new to the sport.
Essence R. and Morgan Y. have been cheering together for eight years and have an unbreakable bond. They call each other sisters and always look to each other for support. When asked about what makes their All Star friendship different, Essence shared, “An All Star friend is able to support you on and off the mat. They are right there through the wins and losses and understand all the hard work, dedication and sacrifices you’ve made. An All Star friend is like peanut butter to jelly... it’s not as good without them both.” She added, “That’s us!”
The vulnerability youth athletes experience while learning new skills can also develop more meaningful friendships. In All Star, teammates not only rely on the individual development of one another but also on how those individual skills come together to create the best routine possible. Navigating failures and successes with, and in front of, teammates allows athletes to truly open up and be themselves. “We support each other, it’s a no-judgment zone with us. We can really be ourselves around each other,” reflects Morgan.
We’ve put together a list of some of the things athletes can expect from an All Star friendship. Keep reading to learn more!
Being an All Star athlete means more than knowing how to flip, turn and tumble. Teammates rely on one another to not only be on time and responsible for individual skills, but to also know formations and, quite literally, how to hold one another up. Having a great friendship means knowing how to be a great teammate.
Teams need each individual to be their best — in the gym or studio, at school, at home — and learning to be reliable is a life skill that extends well beyond the sport of All Star. Friendships require reliability to flourish and All Star teaches youth athletes the importance of being dependable and trustworthy, both of which are required to be a reliable friend.
Participating in a team sport provides the opportunity for communication with others under high-pressure situations. All Star friendships teach understanding, patience and how to navigate the emotions of others with empathy.
Performing together, and being scored on unison and mastery of skills, fosters a support of one another not often seen in other sports. The success of one is the success of all, and All Star athletes very often demonstrate this quality in their friendships. As Morgan shared, “When one of us wins or gets selected for something, we are front and center, cheering each other on. We know a win for one is a win for both. Younger All Star athletes can see we are not in competition with each other, we are friends, teammates and we’ve got each other’s backs.”
Participating in All Star cheer or dance enables youth athletes to become more compassionate and motivated toward each other. They’ll discover what it takes to be a good friend — and this is why All Star friendships create bonds for life!
“Our friendship is a positive example for others because we show friendships are not always about taking selfies, they’re about being selfless; lifting each other up and wanting the best for your friend, even when you don’t see it for yourself; being a crutch for each other because you know you’re able to lean on one another. We all need to depend on our teammates, but it’s so much better when you can call your team member a FRIEND!” - Essence, 17 y/o All Star athlete