Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bless the little cheerleaders

Have you ever caught yourself saying something you never thought you would say?

I found myself in this very situation the other day.

I love sports. I played sports in high school. Made a living for several years as a sports editor of various newspapers and currently maintain a close relationship with a few coaches and teams at the university where I work.

Throughout this time, however, I have found one constant in my opinion … cheerleaders are worthless. They don’t really pay attention to the game and very often have to ask the person next to them how to spell G-O for the next chant they are planning. Even as a strapping young lad in high school, I never really paid attention to the cheerleaders. Quite frankly, I thought the athletes had much more going for them.

Needless to say, I have little use for cheerleaders who typically don’t lead cheers anyway. They do their little flips and gyrations during timeouts, but the real cheerleading comes from the athletes on the bench who actually know what’s going on in the game.

And I have no problem telling cheerleaders this. Last year, we had a student worker in our office who was a cheerleader and I constantly made fun of her. She was a good kid, though, and took it well. I did tell her I might have to change my outlook on cheerleaders after dealing with her for year. A current member of our Sunday school class is an ex-cheerleader. I haven’t really made fun of her, though. Her husband still plays for the basketball team. He’s bigger than me and has really sharp elbows. But they are both nice kids, too.

Back to my point … my 5-year-old teenager has stated for several years now that she wants to be a cheerleader. This hurts my heart. I try to get her to hang out with the athletes as much as possible and her babysitter, whom she adores, is even a basketball player. But that doesn’t change the stubborn offspring’s mind when asked what she wants to do.

“I want to be a cheerleader!”

Well, our church started a youth basketball league last year and this year expanded that league to include cheerleading. You know, it’s one of those leagues where people don’t keep score at the games because you just want the kids to have fun. That, my friends, is another huge soap box altogether.

Anyway, my youngster wanted to join the cheerleading along with her other little friends, so my wife and I decided to give it a shot. We paid the fee and collected the little outfit complete with pom-poms, a megaphone and weekly Bible verses that are way too long and have little to do with the day-to-day life a 5-year-old. (Another soap box).

Being the good father, I decided to support my child in this endeavor. Last week, I loaded up my camera and headed out for the games with cheerleader extraordinaire in tow. I snapped away while the little nugget cheered her heart out.

At one point, after a timeout, my daughter leaned over to me and said …

“Da-da, do you like this game?”

“No,” I replied. “I’m just here to watch the cheerleaders.”


SpookyRach said...

*holds head in hands, despondently*

little david said...

Hey Rachel, I saw that photo of you from the 70s and your cheerleading niece looks a LOT like you. Didn't you encourage her to be a cheerleader? Tee-hee!