Sunday, November 14, 2010

Although we've come to the end of the road....

Tomorrow Mady cheers for her elementary school for the last time....ever. I didn't think I'd feel so emotional about it. I mean, it's not like it's her last game ever or her last competition ever. But this is where she got started in cheer. I think back to all the Homecoming parades we've gone to, and how much fun we had. How proud I was the first time she went up in extension....that's where she learned to fly. I think about how many times parents from opposing teams would stop me, and tell me how good our girls are. I think about her first coach, and how grateful I am to her for the three years she gave us, and all Mady got out of her time with her. She made Mady what she is today, and I'll never forget her for that.

When Mady was in 6th grade, she should have moved up to the Youth team. We kept her in peewee though, with the 4th and 5th graders. I had many reasons for that, her brother played peewee football so it was easier for us on game nights, the uniform wasn't changing and I loved it (not having to buy a new one was a huge bonus too LOL), her coach's daughter was on Mady's all-star team so I knew our schedules would never clash. I was worried her friends that did move up might pick on her for still being on peewee, but they never did. They cheered for her while she was cheering for the boys. She made such great friends.

This has been a stressful season between her right ankle and her left knee, an all-star schedule that didn't always mesh, and some other things. I really thought I'd be relieved when it was over. Until I remember this is *it* for Mady as a Bulldog. Cheering for this school has been such a big part of our lives, and it's always sad for me to say goodbye to anything.

Of course, this May she'll try out for the JV squad at her school and if she makes it, we'll start over with new memories, and that's exciting. But tomorrow night, when she runs on the field for the MES Bulldogs the final time, I fully expect to shed some tears.

Blue, gold and white....Bulldogs, let's fight!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jack of all trades, master of none? Haha not if you're a cheer mom!

When I accepted the job of cheer mom, how could I have imagined the extensive job description I had just walked into? I mean, it's third grade flag cheer, how hard could it be? All you gotta do is give up 8 Saturday mornings a year to go watch the girls jump around and look cute, right? So here we are five years later, and as the mother to a lifetime committed cheer freak, I have honed my skills and talents to near perfection.

The obvious one, of course, is chauffer. I drive a minivan that I lovingly refer to as my cheer taxi. A typical cheer day for me, leave work, drive 30 miles to her school where she is practicing for her school team, and then drive another 30 miles the opposite direction to her gym for tumbling or all-stars. There's football games during the week. Weekend all-star practices. Fundraising events. Parades. Out of town competitions.

She cheers, I pay. And pay. All-stars is not cheap. Tuition, uniforms, shoes, practice wear, bows, bags, warm-ups, t-shirts, entrance fees to games and competitions, hotels, gas for the cheer taxi, private tumbling you understand why I work overtime! National Bank of Cheer Mom.

Seamstress. How excited I was last year when my daughter's all-star uniform came...but, wait, it's missing the stars. No problem, I know someone who can sew these on. Except she couldn't, she never got the time. So what do I do? Good idea, I'll procrastinate! Come Friday before a Sunday competition, and my daughter's sleeves are still starless. So I break out my sewing kit the darn stars on myself, and I'll go ahead and tell ya...there was language.

Did you know being a cheer mom you get experience in physical therapy? When my daughter injured her ankle, who do you think sat with her every night doing her rehab exercises? Coaching and encouraging her that yes, baby, I know it hurts but you can do it, just a few more.

Hair and makeup artist. Now this is a big one! This takes planning and strategy. Hair starts the night before, it gets washed and rolled. We stop when we get close to the competition to get ready, cuz you gotta be ready when you get there. So we eat, then get her into uniform. The hair gets unrolled, put in a ponytail and then re-rolled because her hair won't hold a curl, so the rollers stay in until warm-ups. Makeup and glitter next, and eye glitter is a work of art!

Yes, being a cheer mom requires more skills that one would think. The salary earned though, when I watch my baby girl out on that floor, doing what she loves, I feel like a bazillionaire!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Once upon a time...

One day, back when my daughter was in 2nd grade, she brought home from school a piece of paper that changed our lives...cheerleading sign ups for the next season of flag football. Sure, I said, how cute! And it was. However, it soon became clear that this little girl had found her passion. With the best coach, who wanted the best uniforms and best routines, she excelled in cheerleading. So about halfway through her second year of cheerleading at her elementary school, we decided to expand her skills, and we signed her up for tumbling classes at the gym where her cheer coach at school was manager. She took a total of two classes, when my phone rang. It was her coach, there was an opening on their all-star team, and she wanted my daughter. We said we'd come check it out, honestly I never thought my husband would ever agree to competitive cheerleading. She loved it of course, and did so good that first day, the head coach gave her 2 stars before I had even signed her up!! It's hard enough to tell her no, but I was no match for the head coach extraordinaire! What a season we had that first year! Everything I could have wanted in a gym, a coach, my daughter and her team, we had it. To this day I can't think of anything we lacked at that gym. We immediately signed up for a second season, then a few months later, to our shock and grief, the announcement was made that the gym was closing. Of course, there's other gyms in the area, some of the girls went to one, and sadly, some quit altogether. We checked out every gym within a reasonable driving distance, and found one as close to what we had before as possible. My daughter is now on her second season at this new gym, and while we still miss our first home, she's happy. We still get to work with the guys from ECA occasionally, and my daughter has learned so much. And me, I've driven more miles, written more checks, screamed and yelled and clapped and cried much more than I ever thought I would for cheerleading. I've been a taxi, seamstress, even a back spot. I am no longer afraid of scorpions, because they no longer remind me of a creepy crawly in my bathroom, but of my baby girl in Panama City, FL. And the best part is, I'm not alone!