Epic Athlete, Jess Fish of Cheer Factor All Stars has learned to Rise Up above a disadvantage that most cheerleaders take for granted, sight. Being born blind in her left eye, Jess doesn’t let this set-back stop her from pursuing her passion. Her pursuit is reflected in her talent and she is unstoppable.
“I have gladly accepted that having no sight in my left eye is what makes me unique. When I began to cheer, I never realized that there might be some issues that I would need to overcome because of it. Last season I became a main base for my team when I was usually a secondary. Being on the left side of the stunt and having no sight in my left eye caused some problems as you would imagine. For example tick tocks, I am not able to see my flyers full foot therefore I have to completely turn my head to the side and adjust when I catch it. Luckily I have an amazing stunt group who have adjusted to the way I need to grab the foot and we’ve learned to work well together.
Not only does my sight affect some stunts, it also affected the way I learned to tumble. When I first learned how to do a full I spun to the left. When my tumbling began to progress even more, I started working on doubles with my coach. I always felt very uneasy and unsure of where I was when I would double with him. One time I got nervous and stopped. I ended up landing on my head and getting a mental block that lasted for over a year. As I began regaining my confidence, I began to re-learn my full spinning to the right. It felt really weird at first but I was able to see the ground before landing so it was easier to get used to. By the next season I was ready to compete doubles. I would have never been able to accomplish any of this without my coaches. They push me to be a capable, confident, and competent athlete and I will treasure that support for the rest of my life.”
We are so inspired by Jess’s story and her incredible maturity. Check back as we reveal monthly how our Epic Athletes Rise Up.