Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Cheerleader Nation

No, not the show, my life.

Since I began coaching my daughter's competitive cheer squad, I've endured some of the whackest ish I've ever seen in my life. People do and say things they wouldn't for any other sport.

Yeah, I said sport. You better recognize. Don't make me go off, up in here!

There are the inevitable accusations that the reason I do it and have the temerity to enjoy it, is because I'm living "through" her experience. :::sigh::: Okay, to those small-minded people, listen up!

I was a cheerleader from the age of nine until I graduated high school. Did the pee wee league thing, the middle school and Jr. High thing and the competitive thing. Was Captain of my squad several times and everything. Loved it. Cherish the memories. I'm over it! Hung my pom-pom's up back in 19-Lickety.

The irony, I never considered registering my daughter for cheerleading until at eight years old she asked could she take a year off from ballet and try it. Talk about disappointed.

I loved dance!

She was so cute in those little outfits. And ballet is so pretty.

Ahhh...now there was some living vicariously action for you.

Then there are the ill-ass parents who swear that because me and my other co-coaches insist that the girls practice hard, focus and give us a shockingly tough 4 hours a week of practice (that's 2 days a week)that we're fanatics.

It's called dedication be-yatches! Teach it to your kids and they may actually use it elsewhere in their lives. On the other hand, letting them skip practice because they don't feel like it; miss cheering for a football game (because we do sideline and competitions) because they'll miss the first hour of their friend's birthday party or quit the season in the middle - yeah, those are all great lessons.

I'm grateful though. We have a twenty-girl squad - and it has been larger some years - and typically we only get one per year like this.

My favorites, are the ones who still believe that cheerleading is wearing saddle shoes and waving pom-pons on the sidelines.

Yes, that is cheerleading...ummm, minus the saddles and the poms. But cheerleading is also busting your ass, dancing, chanting and hurling as many stunts as you can in three minutes. Welcome to the new milleny.

We've come a long way, baby!

These people are always shocked when their daughter's fall. It's when it stops being cute and starts getting real, that they realize danger is a component. Then they start checking stats on cheerleading injuries and get themselves in a lather over it and want guarantees their daughters won't fall.

Guess what? Cheerleaders fall!

But there's a big diff between falling and injury.

Want to know how many injuries my squad has had? NONE.

Want to know how many times someone has fallen? Couldn't tell you. The ish happens all the time. It's a part of the sport. The key is, if the girls know the proper technique, that fall will result in a bruise or an ache instead of a sprain and a break. Thank God. And now and then...thank your coaches.

Finally, there are the "catty" callers. These are the people who sit back, smug and look their nose down on the level of drama involved in cheerleading.

I won't deny that the drama is HIGH. But I've seen it within other sporting circles too. Drama doesn't mean that we're all catty, backstabbing, hiring hit-men Wanda Holloways.

I can't lie, it does get tiring - the long season, the highs and lows of my squad's emotions (they are only 10 and 11, after all) and the parents' demands.

But I coach because my daughter loves it.

I coach because, when she joined, the cheer component was in need of some organization. I figured sitting back and bitching about it wouldn't serve her well and pulling her out of something she loved wasn't real high on my option list, either.

I coach because I love seeing something I enjoyed as a young person, being enjoyed by other young people.

And hell, it's not bad for my career. These girls keep me smack dab in the middle of my YA fiction demographic. They're plotline gold!

Today, we're off to our Nationals, in Atlantic City. The light at the end of the tunnel is burning brightly.

Mad shout-out to my Hornet honeys and their parents. Let's bring us home a title!

1 Comments:

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