Sunday, November 16, 2008

Go Fight Win

I really love living in Texas. It has been a great place to raise my family. I love my neighborhood and I love my kids' school. I love the shopping and the food. And the people here are the friendliest I have ever met. So far we have avoided ever saying the word ya'll, never gone to a rodeo, and have yet to cheer on the Cowboys. One thing we have not avoided though is the whole crazy cheerleading thing. Before I moved here I thought cheerleading consisted of showing up to some Friday night football games wearing a short skirt with matching sweater, doing a lot of jumping up and down, and shouting "rah rah" every now and then. I was so wrong. Cheeleading is serious business here. Perhaps the most competitive, dangerous, and obnoxious sport there is. I had no idea. So when my girls decided they wanted to do competitive cheer I thought it sounded like fun. They belong to a gym that is very small and everyone who tries out makes the team. There are only 12 girls on the team and when they started Macey was the youngest at 4 and the oldest girl was 9. There were some girls that could not even do a cartwheel, and some that could do back handsprings. Their first routine was so simple and cute, and the girls could not wait to perform it in front of a crowd. Their uniforms were even more simple and make up consisted of lip gloss. All of us moms made cute little signs to hold up. Someone may have even brought a clapper or two. We had no idea what to expect at a competition. I don't think anything could have prepared me for what we were getting ourselves into.
Let me try and paint the picture. A cheer competition usually takes place in a college gymnasium or community center with stadium seating. In the middle of the floor is a very large spring floor with a curtain behind it which blocks the whole back half of the gym.
In front of the spring floor sits 4 rows of tables where the judges sit. There is a small area to the side where the music is played and the performing team's coaches stand.
The stands are filled with crazy cheer parents, most of which are wearing head to toe gym colors. There are a lot of moms with big hair, and a lot of dads that wear camouflage. Our little posters and clappers were a joke. Other signs consist of feather boa and lots and lots of glitter. And people get very creative with the noise makers. Lots of teams bring blocks of wood that they clap together, or have filled up plastic bottles with beads that they shake. There are usually 4 or 5 bullhorns, and always a siren or two. It is so loud in there. The most disturbing part of the whole cheer experience to me is what some of the teams wear. The skirts are so short that booties are hanging out, with shirts that only cover the girlie parts.
Hair and make up are unbelievable. Lots of hair pieces. And lots of glitter. I don't know what bothers me more- when I see it on a teenager or on a 3 year old. It's crazy. I walk around all day just people watching. It is very entertaining. And I am still shocked at every competition.
Our first year was a learning experience. The girls loved it but they never won. Last year they worked really hard and went all the way to Battle of the Champions in Georgia where they won first place. This year they decided to go up a level, which, after yesterday (they got 10th place) we may have to reevaluate. It is a little bit out of their skill level. They stuck their routine but do not have hard enough stunts to compete. I am happy to say that the gym they go to believes in modesty and building self esteem, so we have never had to deal with somebody not making the team, or feeling uncomfortable in a uniform. I am really proud of my girls for how hard they work. And I am glad they have something they love to do.

(This is all of the level 2 teams getting ready for awards)

(after the competition)

(Yes. We colored Fletcher's hair.)


skippy and sue said...

They are soooooo cute!!! I really appreciate the pictures. It makes it so they're not quite so far away. Good job Cali and Macey!!!!! Love the hair Fletcher. See you all soon. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Lauren said...

Hey I'm Shannon's sis n law and yes I was blog hopping...only cuz she loves u so much, your post about cheer comps brings back so many memories...I did Vikings for years in Simi and that was my weekends...tons of fun! loved it...Go CHEER!