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How Cheer Creates Leaders

Author: Double Good Popcorn

Any competition with “World” sounds crazy impressive, and it is. It’s the rare athlete who earns the chance to compete on a global stage. Just like the Olympics or World Cup, world-wide tournaments are the kind of things most people only dream about.

Alecea Stricklin is not most people. She found a way to channel her own need to learn and grow as an individual, but also to use her personal strength to propel others forward. Alecea is a cheerleader — a very, very good cheerleader, as well as a leader, coach, and competitor. 

Not everyone can win in life. Not everyone even gets a chance to try. Success isn’t guaranteed, but earned through hard work, overcoming fear, and the willingness to improve, according to Alecea. On a team, though, whether in professional life or in athletics, we are only as good as the sum total of our parts. 

Ultimately, teams are multifaceted things, a combination of different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. A team is a whole bunch of random people who come together for a singular, focused goal. It takes a certain kind of individual to understand this. It takes much more than any one idea to make teamwork, well… work. It’s difficult, but there can’t be any selfishness to win together.

When it comes to the burden of collective, goal-orientated determination, though, Alecea seems to just get it. She runs alongside it, with grace, power, and tremendous skill.

“Honestly, I do not have just one favorite part,” Striklin said about cheer. “I really enjoy every aspect of the sport. The friendships I have made with people all across the country who share the same love and passion as myself, learning different ways to bond with different teammates or the team as a whole. It creates a bond with my coaches to become a part of another family outside of my own.”

Anyone who ever played team sports knows what Alecea means. As a leader, she uses this same core value system to inspire the young athletes coming up after her.

“Being able to watch myself develop more as a person and help younger athletes develop into what they want to be,” she said, is part of what she uses to advance her own performance and growth. 

A close family friend first introduced Alecea to cheer. She watched her friend’s own daughters compete in cheer and never looked back. Alecea started at the age of six, immediately falling in love with the idea of competition cheer. Fourteen years later, Alecea is at the vanguard of her community and sport. 

“Playing a sport has the ability to demonstrate real life experiences,” she states, understanding that all of us will “…likely always have to compete for what [we] want, whether it be a spot on a team, a job, or even a scholarship. Playing a sport definitely creates an environment to obtain life skills more valuable than just a specific sport.”

With each year of cheer, Alecea has had to overcome fear. She has had to change positions and move up through increasingly difficult levels of competition. During the 2013-2014 season, Alecea won her opportunity to compete against the world. 

Without the chemistry and bond between her team, though, none of it would have happened. After hitting two perfect routines at Jamfest Supernationals in Indianapolis, IN, her team ended up placing 5th out of 26 teams to win a bid to Cheerleading Worlds. 

It’s one of her best memories from an already incredible career. This young athlete is an inspiration, someone who has already proven herself to be more than just a cheerleader or an athlete. She’s certainly both of those things, of course, but she isn’t one for setting limits to her dreams. 

She’s smart and willing to work hard, evidenced by the extra time she took after using Double Good as a fundraiser. “I saved at least 90% of my time compared to other fundraisers,” she confessed. “This fundraiser was very immediate and did not require me to be held accountable to receive and deliver product or collect money.”

Alecea used the funds to help pay for the current competition season with her team, Topgun Allstars. Of course, that wasn’t enough for someone like Alecea Stricklin, though. She used the extra time to get back into the gym, working on what she already knows while acquiring new skills, as well. 

Oh, and she’s also writing, recording, and producing her own music. Her music, not surprisingly, is fantastic. 

No big deal. Well, no big deal for someone like Alecea. 

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