According to all sorts of social media, today is World Baton Twirling Day. This is a part of my life that some of you may know about, while others might not.
The first time I ever picked up a baton, I was 5 years old. Back then, I cannot imagine my parents would have imagined all I had accomplished through this sport, because I certainly didn’t. Many parents place their children in a studio with the goal of going to class every week, making friends, and performing in an end-of-year recital. I was so fortunate to accomplish this, in addition to having many local, state, and national championships under my belt.
Here I am at 24 years old and my twirling career is now 6 years in the past. Some days, I find it hard to believe it has been that long, because the memories seemed as if they happened last week.
I learned countless tricks over my 13 year ‘career,’ but it’s the other stuff that I cherish more. This sport shaped me into the person I am today, and I cannot thank my parents, my coach, or my teammates enough.
Lesson 1: Hard work pays off. I logged more hours into baton twirling than most people do their routine 9-5 jobs. Endless practices at the studio, local school gyms, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks. There were so many tricks that seemed impossible, but through dedication and hard work, you could get it. Always work hard. Work hard for that promotion. Work hard for that degree. Work hard for fighting for your beliefs. With hard work comes success. It is possible for anyone and everyone.
Lesson 2: Teamwork. I was able to not only twirl solo, but in a group as well. Whether it was a recital team or a national team, from a young age, you learn every member mattered. You learned really fast that you have to put your trust in others to get the success you want. If you don’t trust those around you, you won’t get the payoff. It was almost easy to trust each other, as we spent days on end together practicing – reaching for the same goal. I was fortunate enough to be on a team with lifelong friends who, together, we won countless local, state, and national championships. None of this could have happened without our solid relationship.
Lesson 3: You will fail, and it will be okay. The most obvious form of failure in twirling is the drop. In this sport, I learned that you will not always be perfect. You won’t always have an all-catch. You won’t always win first place. But what you will have is a new perspective. I learned that if at first you don’t succeed, you pick yourself back up, and try again. I was my biggest motivator – it was all in my hands. How you carry yourself and pick yourself back up pushes you to work harder and harder. This is something I have carried on with me through every single aspect of my life.
Lesson 4: Respect. From a young age, I learned how to congratulate others that placed ahead of me. I’ve learned to appreciate talent when I see it. I knew I was not the best in the world, but I knew how to treat the ones who were. I also learned how to respect myself. Being a sore loser will get you nowhere in life – it is all about the effort. There are times you will put in your best performance and not get the top spot. The important thing is that you put your best effort into every single thing you do – when you do, you will walk away feeling like a winner regardless of the place.
I can’t wait to one day have a child of my own and have them become a member of the twirling world [if they want to be, of course]. It is so much more than holding a metal stick with two white, rubber ends. xoxo.