1. You can vividly remember a time when you were much stronger than you are now. Remember those days? When you lifted people all day, everyday, over and over again with no second thought? Shit, even your muscles had muscles.
2. Also, a time when you could run faster, and for much longer. In addition to lifting people with ease, you used to do it while running, tumbling, jumping, dancing, you know, the works. For the most part, you were even happy about it.
3. The phrase “full out” still makes you feel slightly afraid. When you hear someone say “full out” there’s still that part of you that feels instant fear and pain as the memories begin to pour in. To a cheerleader, the phrase “full out” simply means you literally have no more energy, but if you want to go home, or drink water, you better find some.
4. You still watch old videos of your team on the Internet to remind yourself that you were once cool. *bonus points if you still remember all of your dance sequences*
5. When you get together with your friends who are also in retirement, throwing old stunts suddenly becomes a must. Get the old stunt group together and suddenly you’re back in your glory days. “We can so twist down, what’s the worst that could happen?” That is, until someone pops something out of place. #stillgotit
6. Your winged eyeliner is still always on point. You’ve been doing competition makeup since your childhood. So, “brows on fleek”, perfectly proportioned wings, contouring, and “Kylie Jenner lips” are literally nothing new to you.
7. You have at least one picture of you tumbling or stunting on a beach. Going to competitions down the shore only meant one thing. The ever popular, yearly, cliché pictures of you and your friends stunting in sunglasses, or throwing passes down the shoreline. (If you were really cool, you might even have competition sweatshirts with your name on the back from the shore store.)
8. Speaking of tumbling, remember when you could do that, anywhere, anytime, any place, with absolutely no fear? From the gym, to the grass, to straight up concrete, you got progressively braver as your skill set increased. Now, you often wonder what you were thinking, and how you actually managed never to become paralyzed.
9. You know a good pair of sneakers vs. a bad pair. The day your teams sneakers came in was the ultimate test. You could tell right away if it was going to be a painful season, or not. It is also because of this knowledge that you now must try on a minimum of 15 pairs before you find the right ones. Also, you still wish every pair of shoes you bought came with a case like Nfinity’s did.
10. Your joints and muscles still ache every day of your life. “Boom, crack, the sound of your joints, the pain goes on and on and on and on.” Every morning you make the sounds of a 92-year-old woman getting out of bed. When people who don’t know you hear these sounds, they give you the “what the fuck was that noise” look. You know this look oh too well, and you know you now must explain that the horrific noise was indeed your body. Apparently not everyone’s hips and shoulders crack on the reg….#sorrynotsorry
11. You can still take a hit, and walk it off like it was nothing. After years of being kicked in the face, punched, stepped on, and dropped to ground, you know what it’s like to get the wind knocked out of you. You’ve had bloody noses, broken bones and pulled muscles, all at the same time. You can take a pretty good hit, and keep on smiling, because you’re still just as competitive as you were in your golden years, and you don’t plan on changing anytime soon.