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TARA: A Life-Changing Journey Toward 'Yes'


When I first auditioned for the New York Jets Flight Crew in 2012, I was cut at the end of the semifinal round. At the time, the rejection stung; I felt frustrated and confused. Now that I am reaching the close of my first season as a New York Jets Flight Crew Cheerleader, I understand it all completely: This "no" led to an incredible life-changing journey and, ultimately, the greatest "yes" I've ever received.

You won't always know why something is happening at the exact moment it happens. Sure, the unknown can be scary — but you will be ultimately defined by what you do when you cannot see the future in front of you. When I failed at my first attempt at making the squad, giving up would have been easy. However, I can assure you, giving up would not have been satisfying.

I'm surprisingly grateful for being denied when I auditioned for the first time in 2012 — the educational experience that followed was so rewarding. It enabled me to discover who I really am. Moreover, I learned how to appreciate every moment, good and bad, and understand that there is value in each and every experience.

By the time the auditions for the 2013 squad came around, I was able to present myself no longer as a girl who was figuring out who she was and what she wanted from life, but as a lady who knew exactly who she was, exactly what she stood for, and exactly what she wanted. I grew confident in myself and my values, which came through in my dancing. In 2012, I showed up at the audition hoping that being a pro cheerleader would help define me. By the audition in 2013, I already defined myself.

With the preliminary and semifinal rounds of the auditions for the 2014 New York Jets Flight Crew Cheerleading Squad coming up this weekend, I wanted to share my audition story. Maybe, if you're planning on trying out for the squad, it will provide you with some insight so you can show up mentally prepared. If not, I hope you can still see the value in the lesson I learned from my first "no."


I close with a tidbit of my philosophy and a piece of advice to everyone who is invested in his or her own future: Have a dream, set a goal, make a plan, and follow it. You have no idea where you will end up only one year down the road.

This past year has been incredibly life-changing, packed with blessings I never could have imagined would be possible in my lifetime. I encourage you to keep pressing on when you feel like giving up and to choose to only see obstacles once you're already past them. You don't know how close you truly are to attaining your dreams.

Win or lose, there's always something gained.

—Lots of Love,

Tara S.

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