Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cheerleading 101

My sweet, adorable, smart and hilariously funny 10 year old daughter started Cheerleading tonight.

For those of you who are uninitiated, Cheerleading is always capitalized in the South. And it is a Very Big Deal here.

I remember growing up thinking the cheerleaders at my high school were, quite possibly, the most vapid and vacuous young women on the planet. And because of that, I swore if I EVER had daughters of my own, I would raise them to be independent thinkers, free spirits, and NEVER the type to rely on a man to get what they need/want out of life. So, as you might imagine, I have had VERY mixed feelings about allowing my daughter to participate in Cheerleading.

S first asked me if she could cheer back in kindergarten. She has begged me every year between then and now. (S is now getting ready to start 5th grade.) So that makes FIVE full years of me saying "NO" (sound like a broken record?)

Finally, I thought "Gee. Maybe I should let this wonderful kid of mine at least TRY it. After all, she gets good grades, she is kind, she is funny, she is smart, she is respectful, she is everything I always wanted in a daughter. Maybe I should lighten up just a tad." :-)

So, grudgingly (and wincingly, if that's a word), I signed her up, paid the several hundred dollars it costs to do Cheerleading (yes, it's an absolute racket... you have to pay an EXORBITANT amount for the uniforms, shoes, "all important cheer-bag", etc., etc., etc.)

However, tonight, at the "try-outs" (which is really just the panel of judges finding out what your daughter can do - ie: can she do a cartwheel, can she do a split, etc.) S was blissfully happy. BEAMING, she was.

So, I quit wincing. I quit scowling. I even made friends with some of the overly-tanned, bleach blonde mommies who (very clearly) were cheerleaders in their younger years. I'm going to give this a Fair Shot, and quit being so close-minded.

But I am going to make sure S keeps it all in perspective. (She will. She's a smart kid.)
I'll kick her tiny little behind if she doesn't. :-)


Sugar said...

Oh my GOD! You are going to have so much fun! I know, I know... the moms can be all stage-mom-y, and you are going to have to grow some thick skin for some of the things that might come out of their mouths, but this will be a fun little thing your daughter gets to do... at least in this innocent season of her life. Now, High School Cheerleading? Hmmm... that's a whole 'nother bag of vipers!

Deron Arnold said...

Wow! They start them pretty young down in GA.

Growing up, I always looked up to the cheerleaders--they were kind of an unattainable holy grail.

And I'm sorry to admit I used to want to be one of those male cheerleaders who got to hold them up with their hand on their you-know-what. Lots of hormones back then.

I still wonder how those guys can do this and keep it "together".

In my more mature years, I actually had friends who were cheerleaders and then the luster sort of faded. They were just ordinary people.

suz said...

This is a rite of will be fun for her.
I secretly ALWAYS wanted to be a cheerleader. sorry.
I did try out for the drill team and did not make it. I was devastated. I have just recently got over it....

Louise said...

What else can you do? And I'm pretty sure she'll be fine just from the little I've learned about you from reading your blog this week!

And I love your description of the other moms!

karengberger said...

Oh, my, it was a popularity & looks competition where I grew up (in the North). The girls had to go to the practices, and then "try out" in front of the entire school, at an assembly, both as a group and ALL ALONE! Some of my friends were cheerleaders, and they wanted me to try out with them, but since it takes me about a week of one-on-one training to learn a new dance step, I thought it best to go to summer camp, instead.
But at my husband's school (where our son is now a student), it's not like that; it's way more low-key and democratic.
I can relate to your feelings about it, yet I see the love and understanding that you are offering to your daughter in the midst of your doubts. That message is deep and strong, and will support her through all things. You are a very loving mother.

D'Arcy said...

I just saw the broadway version of Gypsy on yeah, I am anti stage mom.

But pro hobbies and talents. I always wish my mom would have answered my pleas to be a dancer...I might have some groove now if she had said yes.