Competitive cheer is a sport that forges bonds between coaches and athletes, and even closer between athletes and teammates. When you’ve competed with the same gym for a number of years you are more than just teammates, you’re family. And when cheer gym closes, it feels like a huge loss of community and support.
I have firsthand experience with gym closings. The first cheer gym my daughter ever attended closed when the owner couldn’t find coaches. We had left just before the closing. We are still friends with some of the parents and girls at that first gym.
This week, the gym where my daughter spent 3 seasons has closed. We had moved on 3 years ago to a gym that was a D1 (from a D2). And the next year several of her teammates followed. But the closing still has an impact. My daughter is sad for her friends who were still there and the closing has brought up a lot of memories.
In any year there will be a number of cheer gyms that close.
The cheer gym is, after all, a business. It’s tough being in business and the first few years are the toughest. Even if that gym is successful at winning competitions doesn’t mean the gym is going to make it in the long run. Success in the cheer world, like in any other business, is hard to come by.
Some gyms close because of finances. It costs a lot to pay for space large enough to handle practices. And then you have to pay for coaching staff, utilities, internet and all of the insurance and taxes a business entails.
Another reason a gym might close is poor management. Often opened by former cheer leaders or enthusiastic parents, it’s not easy to jump from one role into the role of boss. Recruiting the right staff, keeping parents happy, and choosing the right vendors is something that just doesn’t come easy. And if your team isn’t winning (ever), it’s pretty hard for parents to stick with paying for teams that don’t bring home any rewards.
Sometimes gyms close because the owner is ready to retire or move on. It can be exhausting running an active business that really has no downtime. Finding someone to take over or purchase a cheer gym can be a challenge so a plan for succession doesn’t happen in a timely fashion and there is no choice but to close.
It’s hard to see the bright side of losing your favorite gym.
Sure you might feel some sadness that a part of your life is changing. Try to reflect on all the good times. Look through the many photos, share the smiles with friends and teammates, talk about the competitions and fun. Think of all the things you gained by being a part of the team. No matter what, know that the friendships you made and the memories you share will always be with you.