Saturday, August 07, 2010

Keep on Cheering in the Free World!

Sorry Bob Dylan but that's the song I'm singing loud and proud. With one pom-pom-carrying fist raised to the heavens I will make sure justice is carried out and cheerleaders throughout my community are represented and protected.

Okay, I haven't lost my mind, I've just attended the first of many mandatory (yes, MANDATORY) cheer-parent meetings of the season. Now before you get your bloomers in a bunch let me state here the obligatory disclaimer: This post is purely satirical. I do not intend to blaspheme, slander, disrespect or otherwise misrepresent ANYONE involved with our local cheerleader organization. Hell, I was even a Team Mom for one season and regret enjoyed it immensely. I respect everyone involved with the organization and thank you for what you do throughout the year. Just keep in mind that my twisted sense of humor must find irony and sarcasm in everything around me lest I go insane. So I apologize in advance to anyone involved for anything said that offends. Lighten up and take a minute to see it from my smart-alecky point of view. You just may laugh, too.

Anyway, this past week was the first week of cheer practice. My 12 year old has been a cheerleader for half her life. That hurt just to type it. Anyone who knows me from high school knows I have a love/hate relationship with cheerleading. I love it because my daughter does. She LIVES cheerleading for three months out of the year. We hear cheers being recited from the shower, continually listen to cheer music being blasted from speakers while routines are learned and practiced and we recite "one,two - three,four - five,six - se...ven,EIGHT" over and over in our sleep. We gladly and proudly support our cheerleader and her efforts to perfect her high-jumps and cartwheels right down to a 'high V, low V, daggers, T!!" We attend every game and practice and the ultimate of every cheerleader's career...Competition! I love to watch her on the sidelines even when the temps dip below my comfort range of 68 - 75 degreesF and I haven't spiked my hot chocolate with anything stronger than milk. She's my daughter and what makes her happy, makes me happy.

However...(you knew that was coming, right?)...let me get to the root of the 'hate' portion. I wanted to be a cheerleader in high school. I dreamed of being a cheerleader with the cute short-skirted uniform worn to school the day before game day and the perfected high-jumps and cartwheels. But we all know the end of this story. I tried out freshman year and didn't make it. My high-jumps and cartwheels were FAR from perfect, but more importantly, I wasn't part of the "in" crowd and my pom-poms just weren't big enough to fill the cheer sweater. Cliques and scornful looks and snide comments ended my cheering career before it even began. Can you blame me for my resulting distaste for cheerleaders that has hung on for more than ::ahem:: ... well, A LOT of years?

So with the first week of my daughter's cheer practice comes the first mandatory parent meeting. I really don't know what would happen if neither Randy nor I attended these meetings, but frankly they have me too scared to find out. These cheerleader Leaders have everyone intimidated. We have to line up no sooner than one minute before practice starts to sign the girls in, line up no later than one minute after practice ends to sign the girls out, line up to sign in for the meeting. Don't forget to get your color-coded folder-stocked-with-many-forms-to-fill-out-and-return-ASAP-or-your-daughter-will-never-be-allowed-to-cheer-again. And puh-lease sit quietly and attentively while we go over this season's rules, which are almost identical to last season's rules but with a few more thrown in for fun.

My favorite one of the communist-rules yesterday was: There are too many bathroom breaks being taken so puh-lease make sure your cheerleader goes before leaving the house. Doesn't sound too unreasonable, right? Well, cheer practice is 2 hours long in the HOT sun and they are required by rules encouraged to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. Now I know my bladder is many, many years older than theirs, but I know I couldn't continually hydrate AND jump around for two hours without having to pee (or pee myself). What's the answer? Scheduled bathroom breaks? Don't drink TOO much? Cheer in the shade? I don't know, but I'm heading to Wal-Mart to get my daughter pull-ups 'just-in-case.'

Another chuckle escaped from me when the subject of fundraising came up. We have two fundraisers for great reasons. The girls get t-shirts for 'free' and fair entry for 'free' and trophies and banquet dinner for 'free,' and the girls love all this 'free' stuff. But we parents pay for it and once again, I am not saying this is wrong. I just don't like being told that each girl is 'required to donate' a set amount for one fundraiser. I know that many parents slack off on various sport and school-related fundraisers and I've been guilty of this as well. But the hell-bent on rebellion part of me resents being told I HAVE to do anything. And being told that I HAVE to write a check (or beg family and friends) for a certain amount or my daughter will NOT get her uniform just burns my ...backside. Sounds a bit like extortion, doesn't it? I've paid the registration fee and the snack fee and the refundable uniform deposit fee. I have bought the required parts of the uniform that my daughter has grown out of and have paid for new cheer sneakers. I will buy my hot chocolate at the concession stand and buy 50/50 raffle tickets at the games. I will purchase assorted team logo-wear for both my daughter and myself. I will cheerfully and willingly drive my daughter to and from practices and games no matter how far away. And I will buy our tickets to the banquet to watch my daughter eat her 'free' meal and receive her 'free' trophy which will more than likely end up in a box in her closet with the many other 'free' trophies I've paid for over the years. Maybe I should start a Christmas Club account this year for next years expenses, or have an allotment sent from Randy's paycheck straight to their account. All this aside, piss-poor planning on my part DOES require you to hear about it. Any amount of money for my daughter to be happy. (That sound you heard was coffee spewing from my nostrils - did you choke on that line too? haha!)

I dearly hope nobody takes this to heart. Seriously. A little humor (usually at someone else's expense) goes a long way to helping me get through the day, and like I said before this was all written tongue-in-cheek (well, MOST of it anyway). My daughter is at that age where self-esteem and self confidence can take a hit quite easily if I get too careless and leave my mommy-watch for a minute. I am beyond grateful and thankful that for at least three months out of the year cheering gives her this self-confidence boost. God knows that at her age or even now I wouldn't have the nuts guts to get up in front of a crowd and do what she does.

Yes, I am all talk and no action. A-C-T-I-O-N ACTION!

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