When Lu was just 3 years old, we signed her up for dance, gymnastics and soccer. We believe in the benefits of group activities and the importance of regular physical activity. From the beginning Lu has enjoyed the various activities but she has never really fallen in love with something.
Then this past summer, some of the older girls in our neighborhood started teaching her about cheerleading, stunts and dance routines. She would beg for the girls to put her up in a stunt over and over and she worked tirelessly on her cartwheels. After being asked about a zillion times if she could “take cheerleading” classes, I did a little research and found a new gym in our area that had a competitive cheer team.
I wasn’t 100% sure what I was getting myself into but you should have seen her eyes after one day on the mat. I have never seen her so focused. So determined as she was during that one hour “practice.” I still had to convince my husband that signing her up for cheerleading was a good idea.
Now here we are, 7 months and 8 competitions later.
She is still just as impassioned. She works her butt off at practice and she loves every minute of it. While Lu has learned a 2:30 routine. I have learned a whole lot more.
Here are my reflections from season one:
- Cheerleading takes hard work and dedication.
- Tiny teams (ages 3-5) are the cutest and the bravest. It takes a whole lot of courage to get in front of a 1000+ people and perform.
- Bows and Sparkles are the most important part of every uniform.
- Cheer bows on grown women look absolutely ridiculous, not cool. Trust me on this.
- Midriff uniforms look horrible on any normal sized child/teenager and even worse on children that are more full figured. (Fortunately, after this year, they are no longer allowed for younger children)
- If I ever had my own team, I would forbid crying in public unless injured. There is something to be said about teaching young people to make a mistake and proudly walk off the floor and not fall into a puddle of tears in front of the judges.
- I appreciate competitions that provide awards for all competitors. Even though I am not normally an “everyone should get a trophy” kind of parent. These girls deserve some recognition of their hard work, even if they get 4th place.
- Cheer Moms should teach their daughters what it looks like to show good sportsmanship. I witnessed way to much negativity and hostility towards other teams via parents. Let’s not have have the cheer mom wars too!
- Special needs cheer teams are amazing. I joyfully cried each time I saw one perform. I would totally coach a special needs team.
I have never been more proud of my daughter than when she steps out on that floor. Not because she is performing but because she is loving every minute of the experience. Every practice, every competition. Every moment. She just glows.
As I tucked her in tonight and asked her how she felt about her first cheer season being done. She said, “It’s ok Mom, it’s not done, we just have to do conditioning now.”
And with that, I move on to season #2 of being a Cheer Mom.
Do your kids participate in competitive sports? Cheerleading? Dance?
What are your reflections of the experience?