Growing up as a football coach’s daughter, sports were always an integral part of my childhood. I was involved with soccer, basketball, track and gymnastics to name a few. I think my mom enrolled me in so many activities just so I would settle down a bit, but of course that didn’t work. It was during my junior year of high school that I decided to go out for our school’s cheerleading program. A year later, I was cheering for both our football and basketball teams.

DSC_3954It wasn’t until I enrolled at the University of Oregon and joined its cheer team that I realized how much cheerleading was an outlet for me. Cheering at UO was an incredible experience, topped off by the fact that I was able to cheer for my dad, who coached, and my brother, who played there.

I am forever thankful for the life lessons that cheering taught me and for the teammates who became my sisters. Through cheer, I learned the value of trust; having to be thrown 10 feet skyward while flipping through the air can be a daunting task, unless you develop faith in your teammates to catch you. I also learned the importance of hard work through hours of practicing and perfecting new stunts and choreography. When I was a captain during my senior year, I learned to trust myself and become a leader to those around me.

One of the most important lessons I learned was to have confidence in myself, all while honing my craft and working hard toward both my personal and professional goals. From there, I was able to wholeheartedly pursue my dream as a sports reporter.

After graduating from Oregon, I began working for FOX Sports Arizona. Since then, I have spent time working for the SEC Network, CBS Sports Network and PAC-12 Networks. During the 2014 NFL season, I was a reporter for the New York Jets. Currently, I am employed by the Boston Celtics as their team reporter. So far my duties have included interviewing both the players and coaches, delivering updates from the NBA Combine, Summer League and practices. I’m impressed by the passion that the Boston fans display, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming season and seeing what this young team can accomplish.

I believe my cheerleading experiences helped me end up on the path that I am on now. It’s taught me to stand up for what I believe in, and I’ve discovered that feeling beautiful comes from within. As my journey through life continues, I will never forget how cheerleading has helped me develop into a young professional and also the best version of myself.

– Amanda Pflugrad, Boston Celtics Reporter
Photos c/o Brian Babs Babineau