One of the biggest challenges as a parent or athlete is explaining the sport of Allstar Cheer.
After trying for many years to articulate what these kids do on a daily basis. I figured it would be better to capture the experience.
I was fortunate enough to follow the amazing Stingray Allstars Black during their journey at the Cheersport Nationals in Atlanta back in February. This is a raw uncut version of their quest to earn a summit bid.
If you have ever struggled to explain or properly articulate what parents and athletes experience at Cheersport, this will be a great video to share. If you have never been. Take a look at this post about surviving Cheersport
Out of respect of the program and team, I waited until after Summit to release as the full routine was in the documentary.
With this being the final chapter in the Welcome to Mintland podcast, I wanted to do something a little special. I was lucky enough to be joined by Wendy McConnell and Scott East of the 2015 World Champion Peach Rays.
Please listen in, as the coaches share their memories of the Peach Rays / Peppermint Rays special season and bond the two teams shared. It was certainly a special moment that everyone will remember for years to come.
I also share another exciting announcement within the podcast. You may have noticed it already. If you look hard enough you may be able to find the little secret I share about the book.
What started out as a hobby to share the story with younger listeners, has turned into such an amazing experience reliving and expanding on this fun story. I certainly appreciate all of the listeners that have invested their time to listen in and I hope you enjoy the story and carry on the spirit of this team through all your life journeys.
In the spring of 2016 at Worlds, cheerUPDATES attempted to raise the stakes in the Allstar Cheerleading information game by creating its own APP. When version 1 was launched it was described as a test version for one competition (Worlds 2016) to shape the future of the app. There were also promises of many updates coming in the near future (if all went well with the beta test.) You can read my initial blog post about the app in April 2016 here: Is paying $5 for the CheerUpdates APP ridiculous?
As Worlds approached, sales of the highly anticipated app soared. The expectations of the app (which at the time was basically a beta version) soared as well. It was an extremely bold move considering the cheer world would be watching and any glitch or flaw would be exposed and talked about. CheerUPDATES did their best to set expectations on what the app would do on the initial launch. Unfortunately, many folks did not get the memo and were either misinformed or had unrealistic expectations.
Here were some of the criticisms of the app
Scores did not load or were not updated in a timely fashion.
The app was ugly, many did not like the font or design of the app.
Many could not read the entire score as the app wrapped to the edge of the mobile screen and cut off numbers. ( This was fixed quickly)
Most of the reviews in the app store complained about buying the app for Summit and it not working. (Well this is self-explanatory Summit does not include Worlds teams)
Some of the criticisms were valid, some were not. In response to the scores not updating in a timely fashion. CheerUpdates is held hostage by disputes and scoring hold ups. The scores were updated as soon as they were received. In some divisions at Worlds, that was literally a day later ( in some instances or divisions) this will never change in the app or on twitter. Even on the CheerUpdates twitter account you rarely get all of the scores from every division. As you already know, CheerUpdates will post a photo of the score sheet as they receive it (via twitter).
One important thing to keep in mind with cheeerUPDATES. When they post the performance of a team in real time on twitter that is not the official breakdown or listing of deductions from the judges, that is what cheerUPDATES sees within the performance. It is CU’s own opinion, not actual scores or deductions from the judges. (many people miss this concept). This is significant because users need to understand that what you see on twitter immediately following a performance is NOT the actual scores from the judges.
In regards to the app being ugly. Ok, it was. I am guessing they were focusing on functionality and capabilities not how pretty it looks for the first phase.
I have been told the app version 2.0 is in the final stages and is going to be launched soon.If you have already paid for the app,you are good. The update will push in the upcoming months. If you have not yet purchased the app and are interested, I will go through all the updates and new features and functionality step by step below.
(The views you are looking at are the perspective of the admin. Once launched the view for a user may vary slightly once launched)
The app is NOT UGLY ANYMORE!!! (Of course, this will always be up for debate) but it looks much better.
You will now be able to subscribe to a PROGRAM , DIVISION OR TEAM.
The app will also keep track of all levels 1-6. Whether you love to keep up with the Mini Level 1 teams or your favorite IOC6 team. cheerUPDATES has you covered. Disclaimer: UNLESS PREVIOUSLY NOTATED FULL LOWER LEVEL COVERAGE IS NOT A GUARANTEE cheerUPDATES is working on expanding coverage but similar to Worlds coverage, not every single comp will be covered with the levels 1-4, but the major comps you can expect will be covered.
You will also be able to receive push notifications on the app when your favorite Program, Team or Division have updates.
It will handle complicated situations such as split and combined divisions. Displayed below on the right is an example of bid announcements Full Paid Partial Paid At Large etc…
The app will also keep a history of performances , bids and results starting with the 2014-2015 season so you can see the history of you favorite program team or division. This will enable you to view who won the major competitions the previous year, what competition your favorite team or rival won their bid etc..This for me is a huge value add. For those who do not like researching on thousands of old posts on twitter or plundering through websites for previous years results this is a God send.
Bottom line, if you have already paid for the app, good news you are going to get a powerful upgrade that will hopefully provide the value you expected from your $5 purchase. The update will happen late October or November just in time for competition season. If you were waiting on the sidelines, this may be exactly what you were expecting from the app. For some, it still may not be enough to persuade the twitter savvy from the free twitter feed. I for one am excited about the potential and see that for my minuscule $5 investment the app saves me time and provides convenience for this upcoming exciting season. For others, the jury may still be out. I guess that begs the question.
In speaking with so many new people recently. I must say, I am never surprised by the things that come out of peoples mouth. In full disclosure, I have been called a funny guy from time to time. I like to joke and have fun with people. Simply put, I like to keep things light and humorous but as we all know sometimes humor can cross the line. I know most people who I chat with are just trying to be funny, but some things just hit home.
A recent conversation I had with a “Business Professional” that started out cordial and fun; ended up taking a bit of a turn after they found out the book I wrote was about a group of Allstar Cheerleaders. The comment that the “Business Professional” made “Why would you write a book about Cheerleaders they can’t read.” Ha Ha Ha.. The joke was intended to be funny but after the Crickets..my response was a bit awkward in that I responded by saying. “My nine-year-old has read every volume of Harry Potter twice in the past two months.” I think she got my drift. But it got me thinking.
Early in my professional career, I was lucky enough to land with a company called Circuit City. The company is now extinct but was featured in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins the book is a best seller and basically outlines 11 out of 3700 companies that were extremely successful and why. To make it quick, it basically outlines how to get the “Right People on the Bus and then figure out where to drive it.”
While I was at Circuit City I spent a ton of time training on how to direct recruit people to join our team. Part of our job was to go out and identify people who exemplified specific traits. The traits we always looked for while observing people on the job were:
Being Coachable– Observe people taking instruction are they modifying their behavior to maximize performance?
Resilient– Can you observe the candidate overcoming personal and physical challenges to get the job done.
Focus– Do you observe specific behaviors of an individual overcoming repetitive challenging situations even if they sometimes don’t want to.
Passion– Can you feel their excitement in what they are doing.
Competitive– Do they stand out, and do they strive to be the best in everything they do.
Smart– Do they work hard and do they work smart?
Driven- Do they collaborate well with the team and if needed do they take charge to lead and push through.
Organized– Can they manage multiple responsibilities in a day and prioritize to accomplish great things.
Trusting– Can they be trusted and can they easily build trust in others.
Loyal– Do they stick with their team? Do they have each others back?
In a previous post, I outlined the Importance of Strong mentors and Culture .To summarize, I wrote about the importance of identifying the leaders in the room and working hard to model or benchmark performance around those leaders. Observing so many young athletes over the past 4 years, they have opened my eyes to a promising concept. Capturing all of these gifted and talented people that exemplify every one of the specific words bulleted above should be very exciting to business professionals.
An Allstar Cheerleaders biggest fear when their time is over as an athlete is, “What they are going to do when the busy schedule and the National and World championships are over?” My advice to my “Business Professional” friend would be to NEVER hire an Allstar Cheerleader. I will hire them all. Then I will take my chances in transitioning all of the traits listed above to the business world and we will see who wins!