Thursday, September 25, 2014

TBT: Cheerleading

Dear Em,
I love football season, but it might surprise you that my love of football started with cheerleading. It comes as no big shock to most people that I was a cheerleader. I remember my very first tryout. A bunch of my friends were trying out as well, most of them with past cheerleading and/or gymnastics experience. I was so scared I wouldn't make the team. I think I had serious butterflies in my stomach for a week.

On the day I found out I made the JV squad, it was probably the best news of my life. I was so excited to belong to a team...& with so many of my friends. Cheerleading didn't come easy to me. I have no sense of rhythm. I had to practice constantly to pick up moves that came easily to some of the other girls (especially the dance routines). I pretty much had cheerleading on the mind 24-7. In fact, my friends often found me almost unconsciously moving my hands to a certain cheer as I walked through the halls of our school or sat down to eat lunch.

I freaking loved cheerleading. I loved being on a team & working together with a group of girls. I loved the stunting. I was a base or back & loved that I could make girls fly through the air. I loved the athletic aspect of it & that it pushed me to do things that I couldn't do before. I loved cheering on the football team (& basketball too) & how much it taught me about the sport (& how I could have intelligent conversations with my Dad about sports because of it). When our football team was down & the crowd got quiet, I loved pumping everyone up. When it was game time, somehow I was able to shut out all the worries & frustrations of the day & just cheer. Putting on the uniform & running out onto the field each weekend was one of my favorite things in the whole world.

You could see how much I loved the sport just by looking at my face when I cheered. One of my friends told me once that me without cheerleading was like peanut butter without jelly. But then my family moved inbetween my sophomore & junior year. It was really hard starting on a whole new squad without the girls who had become my best friends. I went from being on Varsity as a sophomore to being on JV as a junior, & I had to start completely from scratch learning new cheers & dance routines. I was so glad to have a chance to continue to cheer, but it was never the same.

When it came time to go to college, there were a lot of things I wanted to be involved in. I just didn't know if I could do all the things I wanted to do and still cheer. It wasn't even a questions for me when I said goodbye to my pompoms my senior year of high school.

I can say without hesitation I made the right decision for me, but I miss cheerleading sometimes. I miss that feeling of stepping out onto the field with my squad & being right in the middle of the excitement under the Friday night lights. Every once in a while I recite one of my old cheers to root you on.

My days with pompoms are over, but I can't help but wonder if I'll be seeing you pick them up someday. Daddy & I have noticed that you sometimes enjoy cheering on your soccer team more than playing yourself. Plus, you are an absolute "Wooooo" girl. Daddy laughs at us as he watches us "Wooooo" together.

Who knows? The only thing I do know for sure, no matter what you choose to do, I'll always be your biggest cheerleader.

I love you so,

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