Hello fellow readers! My name is Cheyanne Jackson. I am 15 years old, live in Texas, and I have a strong love for the sport I call All-Star Cheerleading.
Before I tell you my story I would like to point out that yes I do know that there are stories out there that are worse than mine, I do know this but I share my story for one reason and one reason only. That reason is...
At the time I was 14 years old. I am writing this in the month of April 2013. My story takes place in February/March of 2012. I have been doing All-Star cheerleading since I was 4 years old. It has become my passion, my dream, my way of life and I wouldn't want it any other way. When I moved back down to Texas the summer of '08 I started at a new gym a year later. I did individuals at this gym which is a minute and 30 second routine. After I would run this routine full out I would be out of breath very easily. My mom took to to the doctor and they told me I had athletic induced asthma. At the time I didn't think much of it because honestly it wasn't that bad. My 7th grade year I started at a new cheer gym. This gym was a little tougher than what I was use to but I was able to handle it. My first year there was amazing. It was like my second family. I didn't want to be anywhere else. Well until my second season there.
My asthma started to get A LOT worse to the point that oxygen wouldn't get through to my arms and legs and they would become weak to the point I would drop stunts or fall out of tumbling passes because I was not able to support the weight of myself let alone my flyer. It was bad. We would run routines full out multiple times and that would get to me.
When I have trouble breathing I don't like to be around anyone and I like to be outside with fresh open air. So after we would go full out and our coach would let us get water I would grab my inhaler and run out the door to catch my breath. My asthma had gotten so bad that one night I went to the hospital.
This is where it my story starts... One night at practice I was having A LOT of problems breathing. I was dropping stunts continuously because my arms were weak and I could not hold the weight and I would get yelled at by my coach. Well about halfway through practice I couldn't take it so I headed for the door with my inhaler to get some air when my coach (who was working with someone else at the time) turns around and stops me before I could get out the door. He stood there yelling at me telling me I didn't need to go out there that I was fine, telling me that I was only doing this to get attention from my mom (which I might add I am an only child living with a single mom, I think I get enough attention) and to get back to my team. As an athlete I did as I was told even though I knew what danger I was getting myself into.
I got home that night and my mother and I agreed that I couldn't go back. It hurt both of us to say that because we both strongly believe that once you start something you finish through but when it came down to my health there was no way I was finishing this. I want you to keep in mind that my mother sent a copy of my doctors note saying I needed to use my inhaler when needed to my coaches and emailed them back and forth trying to figure out something we could do about this issue before we decided to quit.
When the next practice night came I didn't go. I sat at home and cried. This was my sport and I did not want to quit. I did not want to let my teammates down a week before a competition. But I knew I had to. I later found out that on this night my coach (also the owner of the gym) got all the athletes together and talked about my leaving. But he did not just talk. He acted out a dramatic scene stating that it was me when I said I couldn't breath. He then said to my team that they did not deserve someone screwing them over like that. After this long rant about me he then said that everyone should bash me on facebook. Well they did. I did not see any of the post but I have heard about them from my mom and other people.
I share my story because kids out there are getting bullied by other kids while there are kids getting bullied by coaches. I had a 32 year old man refuse me of my inhaler, call me stuff, make fun of me, bash me on social media all at the age of 14 because I have a health problem. I am not the only person who has been bullied by their coach in the cheer world. We have talked to so many safety organizations and everything and nothing has been done for what happened to me. I can't even face the people who were once my teammates in fear of what they will say. I use to cry every night missing it or hurting over what happened. I took down anything that had to do with cheer in my room. If I read a post that had to do with cheer I would instantly break down.
It is a year later and I am doing a lot better. My asthma is still pretty bad but we are going to try a few new things. As for cheerleading I had taken this season off and will be starting back this May/June with one of the top gyms in the nation. Nothing still has been done about what happened to me, and I still fear I will run into my old teammates, but I am stronger. Something soon will be done about what happened to me. My story and many others will be shared. Bullying is not just in schools or on social media. Its in the sports as well.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.