Being A Cheer Mom

I’ll admit, being a Cheer Mom was never on my radar. I loathe those overly zealous moms who live their life vicariously through their daughters. You know those moms…the ones on the television program Cheer Perfection. Those moms who are obsessed with every aspect of their daughter’s life. The moms who gossip about the “other” girls. You know who I’m talking about.

My youngest daughter Julie had spent 9 years in gymnastics and I thought she wanted to be a gymnast in college. Nope. That’s not how it worked. She came home from school one afternoon and very confidentially told me she would no longer be a gymnast. She was going to cheer from that day forward. She had already picked out the cheer gym, she knew their phone number and she asked me to call them…that day!

I took her seriously and made the call to KC Cheer. We set up a time to go in for an interview with the owner and have a tryout session. She made the team. That was 2 years ago. Her team was undefeated this year and they were awarded a fully-paid bid to an event called The Summit.

The Summit (the highest level of U.S. Cheer competition) was held in Orlando, FL. We returned home just 10 days ago. We had a wonderful time, the weather was beautiful and we even had time to visit Walt Disney World. But we were there to compete and win!

My daughter’s team, called FAME, would be the 2nd team to perform on the morning of May 1. There were roughly 26 other teams in their division. But there were thousands of cheerleaders at this event. I could see Julie was obviously stressed. Her team had worked so hard for a year preparing for this one chance to be 1st in the nation in their division.

That morning around 8:30 am, the team enthusiastically ran out from behind the stage to perform their routine. They were pumped and all had smiles on their faces. Ready. Set. Go. The routine was flawless UNTIL the music stopped half-way into the performance. This group of 27 girls did not know how to react. Had someone been injured? The music never just stops. They kept performing until their coach yelled for them to stop.

There had been a technical malfunction with the music. After the equipment was checked out, the girls were told to start over at the beginning. It was too late. Their minds had been interrupted and they were all visibly shaken. Sometimes there is no next time, no second chance. This was their life lesson to be learned the hard way. They did perform; however, they were not focused as well and could not pull it off. When the performance ended, several girls on the team walked off sobbing. 

It was hard for me to watch and see the dismay in everyone’s faces. The team had practiced for a whole year and had made it to the top, but in a single moment, everything changed. It was heartbreaking to see the team and the coaches accept what had happened. This day and this event showed me that being a Cheer Mom is really about helping my daughter learn life’s lessons. Sometimes, we just don’t get a second chance.

In the end, FAME placed 14th in the nation in the large junior division. What an accomplishment to even be invited to The Summit. I think that is the memory that will be with every team member. It’s not that the music messed them up, it’s that they were there!

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