A couple weeks ago a local business woman that I greatly admire posted a blog about the phrase "just sayin'" and how negative it was. I realized I was guilty of using that phrase and that it was in fact negative every time it came out of my mouth. I vowed to stop using it so much, except when teasing my husband. ;)
Since that blog post I've started to notice how often I, as well as many other people use the word "just". I am just a mom. I am just a photographer. I am just a wife. etc, etc...
I've started to sit back and watch as it's been posted on Facebook, or listen as it's being used in a sentence and very rarely does it have a positive connotation to it. Last night I vowed in front of many to stop using the word "just" and I asked them to do the same.
Last night was my cheerleading banquet for my JV Competitive Season. Often times my girls are referred to as JUST the JV team. They are hardly recognized for the good they do and they are overlooked because of our Varsity team. I get that the Varsity team is the elite and I get they are better when it comes to skills, etc, so I'm not trying to take away from their talents or achievements. Many of those girls were once MY girls and I'm as proud of the Varsity team as I am of my own JV team. What I am trying to bring attention to is that if my girls are JUST a JV team, then why do we have a JV program at all? Is it really that bad to be on a JV team?! When I was in high school it was assumed that as a freshman and even sophomore you were going to be on JV before earning the Varsity level position. And being on a JV team was better than being on no team at all. Maybe I'm wrong and alone in this thinking, but when did being on JV become such a bad thing??? Or is it only in cheerleading?! I'm not sure how to answer my own questions and I'm sure I'm opening a can of worms with the statement "why do we even have a JV program if it's such a bad thing?". But as a coach I feel it's my job to not only teach my girls the sport, to guide them and motivate them, but also to protect them. I get very attached to MY GIRLS and when being on a JV team is made out to be a negative thing, I get defensive.
So anyway, last night at the banquet I stated that they are way more than JUST a JV team. They are/were a great group of girls that looked at obstacles as challenges. They proved what working as a team was all about. They stayed positive all season and they continued to improve and prove even me wrong when I had nervous feelings about certain rounds and skills. They continued to outscore several Varsity teams at meets, but never once did they get congratulated or acknowledged for that...besides from me and their parents of course. My little team of 9 girls has a lot to be proud of and if nobody else will acknowledge it, then I will shout it from the rooftops for them. I'm proud of all of the Onsted Cheerleaders, from 7th grade on up to Seniors...we have a wonderful program that I am honored to be a part of.
I'm off subject as I often am...the word "JUST"...
I stood at the podium last night and asked for my team to not be referred to as JUST a JV team again. I said that if you refer to someone as JUST this or JUST that, eventually they will start to believe they are that and will settle. Instead I have a Junior Varsity team and I expect them to learn Varsity level skills and perform at a Varsity level. And they do.
When I state that I am JUST a mom, or JUST a coach or JUST a photographer, etc. I am limiting myself and my identity. I am all of those things and more. I am a mom and a coach and a photographer and a wife and a friend and a sister and a daughter, and on and on and on. When I state that I am JUST something I am limiting my own ability at being anything else and I am lowering my own expectations to be anything better. Why in the world would I want to limit myself? Why in the world would anyone want to limit themselves? Why in the world do we use the word JUST?
I am vowing right now to do my best to eliminate the word JUST from my vocabulary. It's negative and it does not belong in my conversations. I have big dreams. I have big ideas and big goals. And as I have stated before, I will not stand in my own way. So while I'm JUST Angie in small town Michigan, I AM ANGIE IN SMALL TOWN MICHIGAN and I challenge you to eliminate the word JUST from your vocabulary as well. JUST STOP!
To read the blog post "Just Sayin'" by Erika of Tecumseh's Boulevard Market visit: