A day in the Life

A Day in the Life: Debbie Love

A Day in the Life: Debbie Love

8:00 am: I do a devotional every day when I wake up; that’s really important to my life, because I’ve been given all these gifts. Everything I do, I want people to see Christ in me.

8:15 am: One of the first things I do is take care of social media stuff: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Messenger is a new one that’s kind of nice. I’m pretty active on social media, especially for my age! About three years ago I decided to post a tweet once a day, either inspirational or informational, about a skill. I’ve been doing that for three years—it’s called #debtips.

8:45 am: Breakfast! I like oatmeal, fruit and cereal—kind of light [foods]. I like eggs sometimes too, but always stuff that’s good for you. I have rheumatoid arthritis, so I try to stay with a diet that’s going to keep that inflammation down.

9:15 am: Whatever I need to do in the house I do in the morning: letting the dogs out (we have two dachshunds, plus my daughter’s two dogs), writing emails or answering messages—I have tons of them!

11:00 am: Errands, and then lunch; my husband Marcus and I like to get soups and sandwiches. We eat really healthy: a lot of water or hot tea, and lots and lots of fruit. Sometimes I’ll have a little bit of sweet tea.

4:30 pm: Getting ready to go to the gym. I go to GymTyme on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and then I work with University of Kentucky on Mondays and Wednesdays. We have to drive an hour and a half to the gym, so we usually grab a snack right before we go in. Many times we eat on the run at Panera, Whole Foods, Subway….

7:00 pm: All-star practice goes until 9 pm, and then college [practice] is from 9 to 11 pm. The schedule I follow for practices is: a dynamic warm-up, a little bit of cardio, exercises with cardio, and then, right before Worlds, we warm up our separate skills in our routine and our tumbling. Then we do it full out a couple of times, plus any parts that need to be worked on. Ideally, we stretch at the end of practice so they’re not sore for the next one.

11:00 pm: On the road back home to Lexington!

12:30 am: I go to bed pretty late around midnight or 1 am. I get a lot of my work done late at night! I just enjoy it. My mind is freer at night. Before I go to sleep, I’ll re-look at my emails to see if anything new has come in, or sit down and make a to-do list for the next day. I might sit and read a book on kinetics or physiology. I was reading Game of Thrones for a while. That was pretty interesting! I like James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks books, too. Or I’ll watch one of my favorite TV shows. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but sometimes late at night it relaxes me. All of the crime shows like “NCIS,” “Law & Order” and “Criminal Minds” are my favorites. I also enjoy watching movies with my husband. He likes old movies, so we’ve watched Gone with the Wind and all of the oldies. The Sound of Music would probably be one of our favorites!

-Jamie Beckman

Day in the Life: Dan Kessler

Day in the Life: Dan Kessler

5:00 or 6:00 am: I get up early in the morning to work out before the girls wake up. (I have two little girls: 3-year-old Ruby Jane and 1-year-old Eleanor.) 90 percent of my workout is straight running—right now, I use the treadmill because it’s been so darn cold [in Kentucky], but I’ve done a couple marathons and a bunch of half-marathons and smaller races. Then I shower, drop Ruby Jane off at pre-school around 8:30ish and come to the office. 

9:30 am: I don’t sit down and check email right away, because that totally distracts you from everything. Instead, [I make] a to-do list. I leave it on my desk, and then try and visualize my day and where I’m going to put my time.

10:00 am: Time for some emails! I really try to sit down and tell myself, “Be productive and don’t sit here for eight hours and get five hours of work done.” When I leave, I’m done for the day. With two young kids, I’ve made an emphasis to get stuff done before I get home; I try not to let it seep in [to home life].

11:00 am: We couldn’t become JAM Brands without the people we have. I normally check in with Tara Harris, VP of Sales and Development, to see what’s going on. Early in the week, I definitely check in with our brand leaders to see how the weekend went, hot buttons, whatnot—and, obviously, to discuss the next week’s events. It’s the same thing every week, in terms of events ending and events starting. (This dialogue continues throughout the day.)

Noon: For lunch, I try to do 50/50, bringing lunch and going out to eat, but it doesn’t usually work out like that.  There’s a rotation of places around the office I go to: Qdoba, Jason’s Deli, Backyard Burger, Chick-fil-A, Subway….

2:00 pm: Check in with the judging department to see how they’re doing. It’s important to make sure that I’m staying up to speed on what’s going on.

4:30 pm: Head home to be back with the girls. The girls take an afternoon nap, so I spend the rest of their waking hours with them until they go to bed. We do anything from arts and crafts to going downstairs to the playroom. Just being a present dad is the most important thing, and I’m lucky that I can do that. That’s my wife Shannon’s time to step away from the girls for a bit.

6:00 pm: Lucky for me, Shannon likes to cook! She makes very good, healthy dishes for us; we love her chili and fish dinners.

7:45 pm: The girls go to bed around 7:30, so Shannon and I try to go downstairs and have adult talk about how our days were. (Even during dinner, it’s a lot of Ruby Jane saying, “Mom! Mom!”)

8:00 pm: Like most people, we have shows that we like to watch on DVR; it’s just trying to enjoy quality time being together. We’re addicted to season one of “Breaking Bad” right now; we also got hooked on “Nashville” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Shannon and I are really big sports fans, so on Saturdays, we’ll be watching games like football and basketball depending on the season.

9:30 pm: Jokingly, but seriously, I’ve been known to fall asleep on the couch. It’s kind of like, go ‘til you’re done, and then you shut it off. There are nights when I could stay up all night and watch meaningless TV, but I have to get up at 5 or 6 am!



A Day in the Life: Les Stella

A Day in the Life: Les Stella

Get a glimpse into the day-to-day life of USASF’s Les Stella (when he’s not on the road, that is).

5:00 am: Up and at ‘em! I usually start my day with prayer and quiet time, and then it’s off for a barefoot run.

7:00 am: Time for a breakfast—usually eggs and fruit, or sometimes a smoothie. We use a Vitamix blender for all types of great smoothies. We also try to eat breakfast as a family and can pull this off pretty often.

7:30 am: I bring my two sons to school and head into traffic for the 45-minute commute. This is another good time to listen to some podcasts on ministries. It keeps me from getting frustrated with other drivers (most of the time) and helps start the day on a good foot.

8:15 am: I usually start by preparing for the day. I know when I open up my emails that I usually get stuck there, so I review my calendar, meetings, video reviews and other important priorities for the day. My day can consist of everything from conference calls on scoring or rules, to Board or Committee meetings, to answering questions from lawyers or parents, to updating the rules website or handling any “drama” that may have occurred overnight! I try to also check the major social media outlets for any news that I should know about. THEN IT’S EMAIL TIME!!!

12:30 pm: Off to lunch. I try to get my mind out of “cheer” at this time and focus on coaching my boys at soccer, talk to my parents or just read local and national news websites. Then, back to work!

1:30 pm: More emails, meetings and conference calls. After lunch is when I usually do a calendar check to see if I need to book any upcoming flights, hotel rooms or rental cars.

5:00 pm: Traffic is a nightmare! I rush to pick up my boys from after school care, get changed, have a quick snack and run out the door to coach a soccer practice (soon to be football for my youngest son).

5:45 pm: I have learned to love coaching soccer. People always ask if I miss the coaching side of things. The answer is “ABSOLUTELY!” Now I get my coaching “fix” by coaching my sons. When you can train a group of individuals to lean on each other and trust one another to make a cohesive unit, the sky is the limit. I enjoy challenging them mentally and physically, and they are a great group of athletes. I usually get two to four rules phone calls while running practice (and games). I don’t mind as long as the cheer coach on the other end is patient while I call out instructions to my soccer athletes. My soccer parents think I’m a lunatic as I’m on the phone marking cheer stunts or watching stunt videos sent via text while coaching a game.

7:30 pm: This is my favorite time of day. We have a family dinner every night and take turns talking about the highlights of the day. We laugh, play and just enjoy our family time. If we have time after dinner, we may go for a family walk or bike ride. When my wife, Katie, travels to judge at cheer competitions, she is often asked about the latest USASF drama. People are always amazed that she has no idea what they are talking about. We never talk about cheerleading at home, especially in front of the boys. If my sons wanted to cheer, I would let them. However, I don’t want them to feel like they “have” to cheer because that’s what Mom and Dad are involved in all of the time.

9:00 pm: Time to put the boys to bed (if they have finished their homework) and relax with my wife for a bit before bed (and check emails one more time which usually gets me in trouble with Katie).

10:00 pm: Lights out! See you in the morning.

A Day in the Life: Happy Hooper

A Day in the Life: Happy Hooper

Get a glimpse into the day-to-day life of Ace Cheer Company tribe leader Happy Hooper.

8:00 am: Wake up. The first thing I do is check emails—this morning = 45 new messages overnight. I try to answer them all, even sending an email to say I’ll get back to them when I have an answer to their question. I check Facebook and Twitter too—and I just joined Instagram, Vine and Path.

9:30 am: Grab Starbucks. My drink of choice: a grande nonfat no-foam latte.

10 am: Go into the office and meet with my business and state directors to go over financials.

11 am: Time for coach mode! I review tapes of run-throughs on every gym’s YouTube account. Afterward, I contact the site director about tapes from the day before. In terms of thinking ahead, I always try to do memos every week for our coaches to know what to do better for [maximizing] the scoresheets.

Noon: Every Thursday, we have a directors’ conference call to discuss what worked and what didn’t at the gyms—just to tackle what happened this week and prepare for the week to come.

1 pm: Zoë’s Kitchen for lunch! Now it’s a national chain, but it started here in Homewood (where the Birmingham gym is located). Zoë Cassimus is a great friend of mine. I ate there every day for three months and ordered the exact same thing: a lean turkey pita with fruit and pasta and an unsweetened tea. Since I’m such a creature of habit, all my staffers know how to order for me anywhere we go to eat. I find it comforting. 

3 pm: Make playlists for the gyms from services like HitDisc and PrimeCuts. I make sure to have music playing in the gym at all times. It seems like every song has some bad words in it, so we have to make sure to use the “clean” version. Music is very important not only for our teams, but for setting the energy level for the gym during classes. I think the high energy helps to create an atmosphere that makes kids want to be there.

3:30 pm: Meet with class, all-star and staff directors on anything needed and objectives going forward.

4 pm: Classes begin. I try to walk around the gym or lobby once every hour to high-five athletes and say hello to parents during classes.

6 pm: Teams begin practice. I try to allow the coaches to coach but at the same time ensure that routines and athletes are being prepared properly according to the scoresheet we are approaching.

9 pm: Classes and teams finish.

9:15 pm: Call my parents after I leave the gym, as I do every night. When I leave the gym, my mom knows that more than not, I’ll be calling them. We talk about cheering issues, athlete issues, even scoresheet stuff; we’ll also go over the teams that we’re competing against. Their biggest advice to me is: “You’re never gonna please everyone; you’re never gonna win every one.” As long as you know that, then you can be of somewhat sane mind.

9:30 pm: For dinner, I always go to GianMarco’s and either get the daily special or lasagna. GianMarco’s is a very local Italian restaurant and it’s amazing—the place I go and relax. Not only is it feeding my body and helping me decompress mentally, but socially and business-wise, I get to network. Any given night, you can catch the ACE staff at GianMarco’s.

11 pm: Head home and spend time with my husband. Every night before we go to bed, I answer emails and check social media from my phone (sometimes he gets frustrated with me for doing that). Then I turn on “Law & Order: SVU” and try to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow!