Five years ago I began my cheerleading journey. Looking back, I had no idea just how much this new chapter in my life would change me. Unlike the sports I had played prior, cheerleading gave me an escape. It became an outlet for me to work hard, meet new people (who would soon become my closest friends), and a place where I could escape the world. Whether I had a rough day at school, or was simply feeling down about something in my life. I knew that when I went to practice I would be surrounded by positive energy and encouraging people.

Cheerleading is more than just a hobby or passion for me. To me cheerleading is a lifestyle. Since I have started this journey I am now a much healthier person and understand my body way more than before. Along with creating many positive memories, habits, and relationships cheerleading gives me a goal. Soon after entering the sport I became determined to be the best at it that I could be. Seeing all these other amazing athletes working hard and coming together to form these incredible routines gave me the inspiration to do the same. Through cheerleading I found myself growing as not only an athlete, but also a person. I now truly understand the outcome of hard work and dedication.

As cheerleading is a team sport, you win and lose together. This gave me the drive to always perform and compete with 150% for not only myself but my teammates as well. As I obtain these life lessons and learn from them through cheer, I began to implement them into every aspect of my life. Cheerleading continues to push me past my comfort zone and boundaries. Cheerleading pushes me to be the best person I can be inside and outside of the gym. To wrap all this up, cheerleading has been one of the best impacts on my life and I could not be more grateful for it. To me cheerleading is a positive space that pushes every single athlete to become the best overall person they can be, while giving them an abundance of memoires and friends to go with it.

โ€“ Justin Giovannielli, Central Jersey Allstars Team Gunz