Daughter got it in her head to try competitive cheer last summer, an inclination her mother and I readily allowed, especially after she so easily agreed to trading this new activity for the one she’d been spending four hours a week on for nearly two years, gymnastics. Nothing against gymnastics, but that choice indicated her seriousness.
You just don’t know the things your kids are going to be into, and Daughter is forging new family territory at the gym. Her mom was a gymnast, at least, which is more relatable by degrees than her father’s baseball, which seems dull by comparison, but neither of her parents have any first hand experience of all-day cheer meets. So while Daughter is learning pyramids and leapfrogs, we’re learning meet schedules and makeup. Oh, and there have been makeup tutorials. Makeup. Tutorials.
I’m warming up to it. For the first few months, whenever I spoke of competitive cheer I quickly added that it wasn’t my choice and that it’s a completely foreign subculture for me. Like I needed to apologize for my daughter’s preferred leisure pursuit because it’s not soccer or dance or basketball. That hangup died last week as I watched her and her team pant their way over and over again through a program of running, lifting, rolling, and jumping that is more rigorous than anything I could have been talked into at 10 years old. And, yeah, they do it in makeup.
So now I rock a “Cheer Dad” T-shirt I got for Christmas and write blog posts from the parent room in the gym at 9:00, because practice ended an hour ago but my leotarded 10 year-old can’t be dragged from the trampoline.