In September, my daughter brought home a paper from the school letting parents know about the cheerleading camp that would be taking place in November – the elementary girls would learn some cheers from the varsity cheerleaders (my kids attend a K-12 school) and would perform them at a real football game. Needless to say, she was thrilled and insisted that she had to do it. (This is the same girl who brought her own pompoms to a game earlier in the year and stood right in front of the fence and pretended she was already one of the cheerleaders, so, understandably, I did not fight this demand.)
She (im)patiently waited for the next 6-7 weeks to pass so that it would finally be time for the camp. The day arrived and she showed up, ready to learn cheers. I didn’t get to watch anything during the camp because I had to bring my littlest “devil” who was all about living up to that description in the greatest fashion that day and was attempting to scream louder than the girls (as well as try to run in between them to see who he could knock over first). But, I did know that they learned several cheers and a dance (none of which my daughter could show me when we got home because she had already forgotten everything but the “shake it” part – fantastic). No worries, I thought; I’ll just watch it in the stands at the game that Friday with the other people who aren’t preoccupied by chasing their toddler around.
Friday came around and the school had a carnival that afternoon. I
stupidlykindly volunteered to chaperone a group from my daughter’s class.
While it was fun to watch the kids play, by the time I actually left the school that afternoon with all 3 of my own kids, I was spent. It would have been a great day to just go home and crash for the night and my kids probably would have fallen asleep really early. This dream was not to be though, because we had some cheering to do that night.
So, I mustered up some false enthusiasm and a few blankets as it was supposed to be unseasonably chilly that night – it had been sweltering at every other game we attended this year but not this time – and got my daughter dressed in the humongous shirt/uniform they had provided her with (seriously, would it have killed them to make an XS instead of making her wear a shirt that was so big it looked like a dress?).
I also wisely picked up a giant Starbucks for me and some hot chocolate for the kids on the way there because I knew it was going to be a long, cold night and folks tend to frown on mothers bringing flasks to the high school football game (totally kidding since I’m not a big drinker, but I completely understand why some parents are!). We arrived there a little before 7 because the girls were supposed to be there half an hour early for the 7:30 game and I (unlike so many others) like to be on time in case it really is actually necessary.
Now, one might ask why these 5-10 year olds needed to be there that early? I have no idea why since all they did was stand there for 30+ minutes while we waited for the game to start. Have you ever watched a 5-year-old (or 40 girls under 10) try to wait 30 minutes for something that they have already been waiting nearly 2 months for? And, in the cold? It’s not pretty.
It is freaking hilarious, however, when the first little girl states that she has to go to the bathroom and a mass exodus of little girls follow the lone varsity cheerleader who was sweetly trying to accompany the first little girl to the bathroom. The look of sheer panic on her face while she violently waves her arms in an attempt to get the attention of the other older cheerleaders so that it’s not just her and 30 girls in the 3 stall bathroom behind the bleachers is PRICELESS. And, of course, we parents could be counted on to just stand there and laugh at the poor, overwhelmed varsity cheerleaders scrambling to make sure they got everyone there and back before the game finally started. (These cheerleaders will probably choose to remain childless for the remainder of their lives after the craziness of that night.)
After my toes had already begun to freeze, the game finally started and seemed to last for days. Each girl was enthusiastic for the first 10-15 minutes,
and then you could just sit back and watch as, one by one, they started to complain or look sad or come back to grab another jacket, etc.
The cheers that had been so cute in the beginning were barely being performed by anyone other than the older cheerleaders as the first quarter finally came to a close almost an hour later. Yes, I said first quarter, not first half. Seriously, the longest game EVER, naturally.
Toward the middle of the 2nd quarter, my daughter was completely miserable and kept asking if we could leave. I wanted her to stay until they did their dance because I knew she would be disappointed if she missed it as it was to a One Direction Song that she loves. No one seemed to know when this performance would take place so finally another mom got the attention of the Captain of the squad and asked her when the dance would take place. She told us that each age group of girls had learned a different dance so they weren’t going to do it at the football game. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So, now I’m a horrible mom for making my daughter (as well as myself and my poor older son who really just wanted to go sit with his friend on the hill at the edge of the field) continue to suffer literally for the sake of the dance….the dance that will never happen?!
Mama was not pleased and promptly removed daughter from the field where she ran directly into one of the blankets and refused to emerge. We then finally made our way over the hill to see their friends, teeth chattering the whole way.
It was not the glorious night that we had envisioned that bright September afternoon when we first received notice of the cheerleading opportunity. But, I did get a few shots in before things completely went to pot, despite the fact that my digital camera provides the same quality pictures as a disposable camera.
She did initially have fun with her friends and seeing all eyes on her (or so she thought) so I guess it was worth it in the end. Will we be doing this again next year? I’m thinking NO! But since I’m a sucker for repeating situations that are ridiculous, who knows? At least I did get to see her “stop, and shake it” with her fellow Seminoles, which is all I really wanted to see anyway.