Cheer Dads

Our cheer dad is not at Cheersport Nationals this weekend. This is no reflection on how awesome a cheer dad he is to my girls.

Our cheer dad…

We would not be here this weekend without his hard work to help pay for it. We would not be enjoying our time without all The Time he spent booking everything from flights to our hotel. We would not be here except for his love and dedication to his girls.

He knows the scoring system. He is the best videographer. He packs cars and suitcases like a boss. He won’t touch the hair or makeup, but I don’t either. Our oldest cheerleader mastered it on her own. He talks us down, even miles away, from slamming hotel doors, a result of our early morning nervous drama. He is the truth and the hugs after a rough performance.

Cheer dads are every bit as important as cheer moms. And oh, how we miss ours this weekend.

Winning

A win does not always involve a jacket or trophy. A win does not mean you are the best. A win without heart and humility is not really a win. A win where others get hurt is actually a loss in disguise. A win you think you carried for the team makes you selfish. A win can simply be doing better than you did last tine.

We push our kids to win. Do we push them to win well?

One of my daughters took home a jacket and a medal this weekend after coming back to right a second place finish last year. The other fought a battle to take 10th after a joyfully delivered routine hit zero on the mat.

They are both winners.

The Cheer Hair Rap

A little rap (radio edit version) I wrote for my daughter as she got competition ready:

Who’s that babe with the jacked up hair?

She’s a cheerleader.

It took a can of hairspray to get it there.

She’s a cheerleader.

She walks by the judges and they say ‘sup?

She’s a cheerleader.

Even a hurricane couldn’t mess it up.

She’s a cheerleader .

‘Twas the Night Before Super Nationals

It ’twas the night before Super Nationals when all through the house,

The uniforms were getting packed for a chance to compete before Mickey Mouse.

The cheer shoes were now sneaker balled with care, in hopes that the car wouldn’t stink before we arrived there.

The cheerleaders were flipping around on their beds, while visions of hit zeros danced in their heads.

And Cheer Mama in her sparkles, and I in my gym branded cap, gave up long ago our hopes for a nap.

Because cheerleaders by nature are always making a clatter, so telling them to be quiet really does not matter.

Away to the car I flew like a flash, tore open the door, and tried to pack up the cheer stash.

The moon shone brightly on our bazillion cheer sparkles below, making my eyes start to tear, so blinding I thought our dog was a bear.

Then my athletes yelled out the door, so lively and quick, “Dad, don’t forget our spirit stick!”

More rapid than eagles, the cheer luggage came, I whistled and shouted and called off the items by name: “Now uniforms! Now cheer shoes! Now, bows and eyeliner! Come on, lipstick! And medical tape! And, backpacks and lucky stuffed items! To the back and the sides and the front of the car! To the top now in a roof rack! To the top of my lap! Now pack it up! Pack it in! Let’s prepare to dash away all!”

Like the bases before the wild flyer must fly, so they don’t get a deduction, I lifted the glitter and gear and it flew, like a sleigh full of toys from St. Nicholas if he was on my packing crew.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard the prancing and chattering of my wife.

As I took a deep breath and was turning around, she came at me with a bound.

She was dressed all in cheer mom gear, from head to foot, and her clothes were all glue gunned with sparkles black like soot. A bundle of healthy snacks she had flung on her back, and she looked like a peddler just opening her cheer survival pack.

Her eyes–how they twinkled! Her dimples, how merry! Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry! I realized then that I was married to a cheer fairy.

She then started to frown, like a right angry elf, for I had forgotten those darn snacks, in spite of myself.

A wink of her eye and a twist of her head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. She spoke not a word, but went straight to work, and filled the car with those snacks, then turned with a jerk.

With a proud sniffle from her nose, she gave a nod, and into the house and up the stairs she rose.

She shouted out a loud “Hey”, and to our cheerleaders gave a whistle, and away they all flew into bed like the down of a thistle.

But I heard her exclaim, after she stomped out of sight, “Let’s win a paid bid in Indy, and to all a good night!”

 

On Being a Cheer Mom

As I get ready to travel with my daughters to a national cheer competition this weekend, having binged Cheer on Netflix this past weekend while packing the glitter cannon, the reality of who I have become is clear. I can say loud, and a little [a lot] bit proud: I AM A CHEER MOM.

Don’t mix me up with a dance mom, a soccer mom, or a gymnastics mom. Those moms have their own club to which I do not have access. We cheer moms have unique characteristics that make us easily identifiable in a lineup…I meant crowd.

So how do you know a cheer mom? Let me give the basic call signs of our Sparkle Tribe:

  • We talk about cheer even to people who simply don’t give a poop. I hope this has changed now because you all are going nuts over Cheer on Netflix. Listen to us. This shite is glittery gold. There are athletes like Jerry and Gabi and Lexi and Morgan galore in this sport.
  • We do everything like it is timed to an 8-count track. Washing a dish? 8-counts. Putting a child to bed? Five 8-counts. Running a meeting at work? Endless 8-counts. You talking to us? Better make it cheer good if you want a decent number of 8-counts assigned to the conversation.
  • We live in our car. To make it to all practices, open gyms, tumbling clinics, team bonding sessions, camps, and competitions, we are in our cars endlessly. In fact, we sold our houses and live in our cars to pay for cheer. Just kidding on the selling of houses…
  • We have glitter everywhere. There is glitter in our homes, our cars, our hair, our nose, and probably in our bits. It comes from uniforms, bows, cheer bags, bottles of glitter we glue gun to stuff, and from the blood and sweat of our athletes.
  • We belong, willing or not, to a cheer family. It is loud. It is crazy. It is a loud and crazy dysfunctional family that can simultaneously make you feel extreme love and irritation. We talk about each other. We hug it out. We get mad at each other. We hug it out. We win. We hug it out. We lose. We hug it out. WE STICK TOGETHER.
  • We use semi-trucks to take our Glitter & Gear (G&G) between competitions and practices (in our dreams at least). We then carry the G&G around massive competition facilities, to and from hotels, and to and from modes of transportations like we are Beyonce’s entourage. Even when our athletes go all diva on us, we still carry their G&G because they are nervous, sore, and tired. Also, we spent a million dollars on that G&G. No G&G gets left behind.
  • We are as fierce as our athletes. You don’t mess with either. Don’t let the sparkle and bows fool you.
  • We are participating in a sport. Our sons and daughters are athletes. We are their support system. We will clarify this a bazillion times until you repeat the same. And we study the stats and other teams like there are Las Vegas odds on this.

So, do you get it? Nope, neither do I some days. My girls chose this life for me and our family. Even their reluctant teenage brother will schlep their stuff and put on Wildcats gear. He will stand by the stage and scream for his sisters and their teams, having seen this season’s competition routines one thousand times, yet he still pretends it is all new and amazing.

This makes us all sound crazy, especially me as the mom who lets this be a reality for her family. Again, my girls chose this. I then chose to support them financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I also support their team and the gym as needed. As a result, I grew my world and my family. I get to watch my daughters and their teammates perform amazing physical feats on the mat while they grow as leaders and people. I get to watch them win and lose with grace because that’s the golden rule of cheerleading.

While Cheer on Netflix correctly pointed out there is no career waiting once these athletes max out on age, there is something even better. There is a life waiting for them for which they have all the ingredients and attributes for success.

You may be wondering where our cheer dad (The Dave) is in this. He gets to make his own post at The Rogers 5 in the future on this topic because his role is just as important as mine.AKD_6381