Lauren Peetz wonders where she would be if she hadn't tried out for cheerleading in the seventh grade.
"Without it, I wouldn't have a single thing in my life I have now," she said.
Jason Peetz thinks about it, too. If that guy down the hall in his college dorm hadn't asked for help practicing before cheerleading tryouts, would he himself have discovered the sport?
Those chance moments sparked prolific careers in cheerleading that led the couple to unique opportunities and, eventually, each other.
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Growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts, Lauren, 33, would study the seventh-grade cheerleaders, the first grade the program was offered at her middle school. They looked like they were having such fun that she decided she would try out when she reached seventh grade.
Once on the team, Peetz discovered that not only was cheerleading fun, but that it also came naturally to her. Her pompoms became an extension of her arms, her megaphone, an extension of her voice.
The awards and honors racked up through the rest of her education. She was a National Cheerleading Association High School and Collegiate All-American.
After graduating she went on to become head cheerleading coach at Georgia Tech, a writer for numerous cheerleading magazines and a sought after judge and choreographer across the country.
Jason, 39, was raised in Charlotte. The football player discovered cheerleading after helping a friend practice stunts before his tryout on the Charlotte 49ers team at UNC-Charlotte.
"Tossing people in the air - that's kind of cool," Peetz said.
He decided to try out and cheered four years on the team, finishing in the top five frequently in the National Partner Stunt Championships.
After graduating, he went on to coach the Charlotte 49ers cheerleading team.
Cheerleading gave them both great moments.
Jason was a performer in the opening ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
"We came out with a big banner over us," he said. "I remember seeing President Clinton 15 yards from us."
He traveled across Europe in a variety show with performers from Cirque de Soleil.
"It was literally a melting pot of talented gymnasts," he said of the performers he met from around the globe.
Lauren performed stunts on "Late Show with David Letterman." In 1994, ratings for CBS had dropped to No. 4, and the host read the Top Ten reasons to be proud of fourth place. She and other cheerleaders chanted, "We're No. 4. We're No. 4," while Letterman ran down the list.
She remembers how tricky it was to do pyramids on the set, with small ceilings and cameramen underfoot.
"It is 10 times smaller than how it looks on TV," she said.
She judged contestants on cheerleading routines during an episode of MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
"Our job was to show them how hard cheerleading was," she said.
Jason and Lauren met at a cheerleading camp in 2002. The following year, he proposed in front of 1,200 other cheerleaders at the same camp.
For the past 10 years, the couple have run Victory Cheerleading, off International Drive in Concord. Their hopes are for their students to be just as successful, without compromising sportsmanship.
The most talented cheerleaders are not the ones Lauren admires most.
It's those with such dedication for cheerleading that they keep practicing.
"Some of the best cheerleaders I know have it in their hearts," she said.
Indeed, they do.