Tara Tresolini, a recent graduate of Newark High School, is a cheerleader during this year’s Blue-Gold Game. Throughout the week, she’ll share her Blue-Gold thoughts and experiences. Tresolini, the daughter of News Journal sportswriter Kevin Tresolini, also will post videos on delawareonline.com.
I’ve always wanted to be a Blue-Gold cheerleader. But having cerebral palsy, I used to be scared to give cheering a try. I used to sit at University of Delaware football or basketball games and watch the cheerleaders, hoping I’d get a turn.
But I did give it a try and I’m glad I did because it turned into something I loved — first in the New Castle County Football League and, for the last four years, at Newark High School.
One of my dreams was to cheer on Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium. On Saturday night, I’ll get my chance for the Gold team in the 57th annual game to benefit the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Cognitive DisABILITIES.
It’s strange to think if I never took a chance on trying to be a cheerleader, I would’ve missed out on such an experience. At first, I was a little scared getting together with my Gold teammates because I’d never met them and our coaches before. But I felt comfortable right when I walked in. My teammates and coaches made each other welcome, and I didn’t worry one bit as I walked out of our first practice at Smyrna High. And when my coaches picked me to be one of the five captains, it made the experience that much more meaningful.
Meeting my Blue-Gold buddy, Rachel Rhea, made the experience even more exciting. Rachel has Down syndrome and just completed her junior year at Newark High. She was on the basketball cheerleading squad.
Knowing her story, and knowing how much cheerleading meant to her as well, I knew we’d hit it off and enjoy every moment. Rachel, like me, always seems to have a smile on her face. She’s always laughing or dancing. and she brought me and Mike Powers, the Gold team’s kicker and also from Newark, out of our shell even more.
This is the week we’ve all been waiting for after months of activities and build-up. On Sunday, we had Media Day at Delaware Stadium, where all the players, participants and buddies come together, get pictures taken and have some fun. From playing catch to Hula Hoops to bowling, everyone just seemed to have a good time. Looking around, all I saw were smiling faces, and that alone, made me happy.
On the mile drive back to my house, my teammate Kate Gray, from St. Georges, and I started talking about how happy we were and how much this has changed our lives. And when I say a life-changing experience, that’s exactly what I mean: life changing.