Smiling Eyes, A Cheerleading Coach's Personal Victory
by Norma Pimenta
(Taunton, MA )
My face became paralyzed 10 days after a head injury from a bizarre and freak accident at a local tractor pulling show. Among the many challenges, I had to find new ways to close my eyes to sleep, eat without losing my food and sip my soup and coffee threw a straw. As my therapy continued, some of the movement came back but never completely. The one challenge that gave me confidence in my new face happened like this. I returned to cheer coaching that year and one day one of my cheerleaders was taking a picture of the group and she told me to smile. When I reminded her that I could not smile she accepted it and took her shot. Later that same day when she was again taking another picture as we were all laughing a something, she looked up at me and said, "You smile, you smile with your eyes." I was forever grateful to that young lady for her comment. She gave me the confidence to continue coaching without covering my crooked mouth and to coach cheerleading with an expressionless face. Years later, when I finally wrote my book, "Smiling Eyes" became part of the title. I hope this story of inspiration and confidence will help others.
My second angel that year was my husband who without I could not have returned to coaching. As the cheerleading season was approaching that year, and members of the team would call my house wondering if I would be coaching the team, I became very saddened by the fact that I was still learning to walk again and could not drive my self to practice. It only took my husband to ask me if I still wanted to coach and he managed to take me to practice every night along with a lawn chair and placed me in front of the team to coach. We made it to an international competition that year. Thank God for angels.
Author: Smiling Eyes, A Cheerleading Coach's Personal Victory