This past weekend I went to the High School Cheerleading State Championships with Skyline High School as a chaperone. Their head coach, Stephania Gullikson, and I have been friends for about 20 years. We've grown up in coaching together and she's one of my best friends. I've helped her with her team in the past and it's always a fun experience...fun to be around the kids, and I always learn something from her amazing coaching skills. Skyline had three teams compete at State this year. Skyline Silver and Skyline Green both competed in the traditional categories, non-tumbling and tumbling respectively, and both performed well. Each had a few bobbles but nothing terrible. Neither team placed, but both teams were in really tough divisions. In fact, Sammamish High School Cheer took away the state championship in the Medium Tumbling division which made me super proud...seven of the 14 kids on the floor came through EDE (including almost all of the tumblers). Definitely a proud coach moment! But when Skyline Platinum took the floor in the Game Day division it was ELECTRIC. These kids don't just know how to compete, but they know how to lead a crowd too. They were phenomenal. Nearly flawless. Absolutely incredible. Second place was called and it wasn't Skyline. I was so excited...ready to hear Skyline announced as the state champions. But it wasn't to be. First place was called and it wasn't Skyline. I was floored. The kids were stunned. The coaches were speechless. It made no sense. When the scores were released we found that Skyline placed third. Shocked is the only word that applies. We got on the bus and started the long drive home. But Stephania wasn't going to let the kids wallow. She said something that stuck with me. She told the kids again what a great job they did, then added, "s
ometimes you can be the best and you still don't win. That's the way life is too." Truer words were never spoken. Sometimes you can do your absolute best and it's not what brings home the trophy, or the award, or the paycheck, or whatever the desired result might be. Those kids learned a lesson this weekend. A tough lesson, but one that will help them the rest of their lives. Congratulations to both Skyline and Sammamish on a job well done!