Teighlyr Sullivan, the All-Star team director and coach, said watching some of his athletes grow into mentorship roles is one of the most satisfying parts of the job. And where cheer differs from other sports like gymnastics or dance is the group setting, he said.
“Dance and gymnastics, you can kind of do your own solo track,” Sullivan said. “If you’re looking to be involved in a more community-based sport where, you know, you do have more group format ... then this is the route you want to go.”
Athletes at Spirit of Texas can enroll in public or private lessons. The public lessons are for those wanting to work on specific skills, such as tumbling as well as school training. The private lessons include the All-Star Prep and Elite teams, which are competition-based teams.
The competition-based teams require a more strict time commitment than some of the athletes may be used to, Sullivan said.
“In terms of responsibility and dedication, I definitely think that we help raise our athletes in a more strict environment,” he said.
The routine can serve as an escape for some, he said.
“Sometimes the best part of the week is coming to practice because they’re escaping some of the things that may not be going so well in school, at home and day-to-day life,” Sullivan said.
Many of the competitions take teams across the country. It is in the traveling that some of the athletes have found friends and college opportunities in other states, he said.
“Some of their closest friends end up being on competitive or rival teams from Massachusetts or from Houston or from New Jersey or Florida,” he said. “It also opens up a lot of opportunities in terms of colleges for them. ... It gets you out of your small suburb mentality for sure.”
Spirit of Texas
1201 S. Belt Line Road, Ste. 150, Coppell
Hours: see website for hours