Here I am, A Cheer Mom
March 02, 2016
Posted By: Shaunescy
WRITTEN BY LEIGH RIPLEY | PHOTOS BY MARIAH ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHY
An arena packed with screaming families and friends. A mash-up of today’s top hits blaring through speakers at a nerve-shattering level. Tough ranchers dutifully donning “Cheer Roadie”- bedazzled shirts. Lines for mirror space rather than bathroom stalls and enough hair spray in the air to spontaneously ignite a fire. This is competitive cheerleading in Montana.
Two out of my three girls have recently taken up competitive cheer with the fervor of Olympic athletes. Never have I seen them so dedicated to anything, nor have I been so confused.
We’re typically more of the weekend-warrior-play-kickball-in-the-backyard kind of family, so competitive sports came as a surprise. Especially this one – and I had no idea what I was in for.
We are at the gym three to four days a week, traveling around the state for tournaments; my living room has been transformed into a gym for tumbling practice and there are cheer bows everywhere – except for the special ones they need on competition day. Those are always missing (translation: $20 for a new one).
I have to be honest; I wasn’t thrilled when the subject of cheerleading came up. But now that we are well into the season, I have to give props to Motion Athletics. This sport is no joke. My couch potato prone children are hot, sweaty messes when they leave the gym, every practice. (I didn’t even know they could sweat.) The coaches at this gym work these kids hard every minute they are on the floor and yet still keep it fun.
And the lessons learned are not lost on me either.
» Physically: Are those muscles I see?
» Responsibility: Forget your bow for practice, you owe 10 burpees
» Team pride: You show up for practice even if you’re sick or injured because every member of the team is important
» Sportsmanship: Teammates help each other rinse puke off their shoes when someone’s nerves get the better of them at a tournament
A friend was recently telling me about her weekends touring the state, watching her son play basketball. The miles on the road, hotel rooms, hours sitting on a cold metal bench... All I could think about was how awful it sounded. Before I knew it, I blurted out, “I could never do that.” To which she replied, “You already are...and you will because you only have so many precious years to do it.” And she’s right.
So, here I am, a cheer mom, in spite of myself. GO BLAZE!