By Lisa D. Welsh
Last night’s World Cup Showcase earned a lot of attention on Fierce Board and YouTube but there’s one person who takes it all in stride: Tracey Rule, CHEERMaD of Shooting Star Kelsey.
While others were”oohhing” and “aahing” online at Kelsey’s “Double-Punch-Double” (back-handspring, back-handspring, Double full, Double full), Mrs. Rule said the energy was high for all World Cup teams.
“The whole gym, all these teams and kids have worked hard all summer gaining new skills and working the new choreography, everybody felt so confident. Confidence is so key when you perform, it doesn’t matter what level you are,”Mrs. Rule said.
“I tell all my kids ‘There is nothing you can’t do; the minute you have that attitude that you can’t do something, you aren’t going to be able to do it.'”
In addition to Kelsey, 16, and a Junior in High School, “my kids” include Hunter, 14, and Tyler, 18. Her sons are as involved in hockey as Kelsey is in cheerleading.
“I feel like our kids (participate in) the two most expensive sports,” Mrs. Rule said. “Tyler plays junior hockey which is as equal if not more equal to Kelsey’s All Star expenses.”
With her husband, Greg, a retired police officer, the family manages a hectic schedule.
“I take Kelsey, my husband takes Hunter and Tyler is old enough to be on his own,” Mrs. Rule said. “Communication is key. There are so many moving parts to these sports that there’s no way I could do it without Greg.”
Kelsey’s experience in cheerleading began like many others'; in Pop Warner when she was seven years old. But it was gymnastics that her mother says Kelsey excelled at.
“I thought she had the abilities to be a decent gymnast but the gymnastics program (Kelsey attended) moved athletes based on their age, not on their ability,” She explained. “She was getting bored because they weren’t advancing her. So we changed gyms. I didn’t realize it was a cheer gym (they changed too).”
That was Cheer Academy Allstars, which is now Evolution. At 10-years old, Kelsey exceeded what that gym had to offer and she moved to World Cup’s Starlights.
Since then, some of the awards that Kelsey has received are: World Cup Best Tumbler in 2007 and 2010 and World Cup Shooting Stars Best Tumbler in 2008, 2009, and 2010. When the Shooting Stars won the large senior girls division at The Cheerleading Worlds in 2008 and 2009, Kelsey was catapulted into “cheerlebrity,” a word her mother shuns.
“Cheerleading is a team sport, not an individual’s sport,” Mrs. Rule said. “I know everybody idolizes somebody but I never thought the name or recognition of a cheerlebrity would come out of it.”
“To put someone on a pedestal puts a lot of pressure on the kids,” she continues. “I told Kelsey, ‘Don’t let this, what they call cheerlebrity, go to your head. It’s not about you; you have great skills but everybody brings something to the table.”
“I tell them to crash wherever you want,” Mrs. Rule said. “We have a simple ranch, it’s not a big house but they sleep on the couch or air mattresses. I just warn my boys ahead of time.”
The sleepovers started as a convenience, because the Rules live closest to the airport but also because Mrs. Rule insists on travelling with her daughter so that she can curl Kelsey’s hair before competitions.
“That’s our mother-daughter tradition and it’s also to give Kelsey some private time,” she said. “Right before she competes, she needs that down time. I think every athlete needs that down time to compete and deal with the pressure.”
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