Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Vancouver to watch my daughter’s cheerleading competition. If you have never had the chance to see a competition, it is worth the visit. It is a place where girls* excel. They are confident and strong and from every age group, these girls stand tall. It amazes me to watch young girls flick their curled ponytails with all the sass they can have at that age. I love it. I love that girls can be strong and beautiful and sassy.
My daughter loves cheerleading. And she should. She’s great at it. She’s gone from a complete novice to a base and occasionally, a flyer. She set a goal this year and did everything a mother could hope her daughter could do. She committed to practice. She committed to eating right. She committed to the team. And when those goals got hit, she signed herself up for gymnastics and got even stronger.
And then off we went to the year end competition. Her team competed and they did great!
But here is where things get better.
After the team competed, they rushed off stage to go watch the video of how they did. Just before I started rolling my camera again, something happened: the music for the other team failed. For a competing team, this is bad news. The music is the conductor for the performance and in the absence of music, the team is at risk for not staying on beat.
That’s not the good part.
The good part is that every cheerleader knows this. The object of cheerleader is not to win, but to be your personal best, so when the music fails, the entire room knows what to do. They start counting in the beat. With the entire competition audience counting in 1-3-5-7-1-3-5-7 the next team performs with excellence. And so did the whole room. It’s not enough to win. To be the best, you have to compete against the best. And that means making sure no one falls.
Here’s my proud mama video of the final competition. I’m proud to be a cheer mother.
*Boys cheer, too, but not in the same number girls do. I wish I had a way to indicate inclusion here, but to use a gender neutral pronoun would not showcase that this is a female-dominated sport.