Monday, March 15, 2010

Spirit fingers, anyone?

I was never into cheerleading. I was more the type that played the sports and didn't understand the point of cheerleaders. Of course, my senior year, I was one of the captains of the dance team, and it wasn't until then that I actually understood the athleticism of the sport, but I was never the cheerleading type.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago. The Daughter was ready for sports. We had already tried dance, but she has too much energy for tap or ballet. We tried soccer. I even got her lotto cleats with pink laces. But she didn't like other kids taking the ball away. And then she became friends with the neighbor. Who is a cheerleader. And the Daughter fell in love. She'd go to practices with her (the neighbor is about three years older). She went to games. And she was smitten with cheerleading. So I began the quest to find her a team.

Little did I know that up here, there is no cheerleading for basketball. It's football only. And football season was over. I found a gym, Superior Cheer All Stars. And we went to our first practice. She did good, even if the Son was a huge pain and let everyone in the vicinity know that he did NOT want to be there.

Should it surprise anyone that at the end of her first practice, the coach/gym owner (and ridiculous amount of times-national champion coach) said to me, "She's a natural cheerleader. Your daughter is going to be very good." Of course. Of course, my daughter would be a natural cheerleader. My friends back home with all boys think the irony is hysterical. Me, the epitome of a tomboy, ended up with a girly-girl who is now a cheerleader. And not just a cheerleader, an All-Star cheerleader, meaning cheerleading is the sport itself.

I've now learned, as we are into our second season of competition that there are rules. Every cheerleader must wear a bow. There is an unhealthy amount of hairspray to be inhaled. Glitter gets everywhere. Get used to callouses on your hands, because it is not proper to enter a competition without curls, the tight spiral type. And then, there's the big role: Cheer Mom.

I held out the entire first season. I watched the other moms at competitions whip out their arsenal with no less than three cans of hairspray, personalized curlers, and don stylist's aprons full of combs and barrettes. I did buy the "Proud Parent" shirt, but didn't get a chance to wear it. I've worn it twice this season. However, if you think I'll ever be the flashing-hat-wearing, glitter-stars-on-the-face, mom dancing to the cheer type, you'd be wrong. Should I ever become this mom, who orders her minivan with the cheer edition package with in-seat curling irons, fold-down glitter makeup trays and a personalized megaphone, please take me out back and make me play football in the mud. But I do shake my noise maker, I photograph the team, and I cry when my daughter is on the mat. I participate because teams with the most crowd spirit win more points. And points = trophies. And when you're 6, the big trophy is what it's all about.

First place! Yes, I cried. I may not like cheerleading, but I have a little cheerleader. And how do you not support that? Especially when her team wears dark red and black. At the least, they're stylish.

P.S. I did order the personalized cheerleader sticker. For the Husband's truck. He just doesn't know it yet. =)

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