There’s a part of me that when I was little, I really wanted to be a cheerleader. I wanted so badly to try out but I was too nervous, too shy, and never pushed enough to get out of my comfort zone and just do it. I take that back. I DID try out, but I ran out of the gym crying because I was so embarrassed. Obviously not something I like to remember, but it is something that I will someday tell Haley about.
You see, she might have found her thing. She tried gymnastics, but after three weeks, it just wasn’t right and she asked if she could stop going. I didn’t want her to be upset or pushed to do something she truly didn’t enjoy, so we let her quit. She also tried tee ball, but that wasn’t her thing either.
This year, however, after talking a few times about cheerleading, I decided to look into our options for her age and beginner skill level. I was looking at one when we received an invitation from a high school classmate of mine to try her daughter’s team. They were new, and not associated with a big gym or a big organization with lots of teams all over the place. I figured why not? I spoke with the coach about letting her try it a couple of practices, seeing how she liked it, and going from there.
Well, to our surprise, it was IT. Her very first practice, the coach had her stunting. She needed encouragement and a little push, but the coach did exactly what she knew was needed to get Haley up in the air. I was FLOORED.
Cheerleading has taken us by surprise. After just a few practices, Haley and the girls went to their first competition where they won (and won big) – first place and grand champions with a full paid bid to nationals! Which means, at the end of April, we’re heading to Chicago for a competition!
Yeah, just a bit of a surprise!
As a new cheer mom (and cheer dad), we’re naturally a bit overwhelmed but we’ve been very fortunate to have friends with kids who have been cheering for years. We’re thankful for the Instagram community and the blogs that we’ve found full of insight from other parents, and we’re thankful for the other parents of our cheer team. It really is like one big family, and if Haley stays with this, I can’t wait to watch each and every single one of them grow!
We will continue to encourage her and to provide her with what she needs to improve and strengthen and grow. I’ve already been looking at gymnastics style floor mats and stretching bands to help her with tumbling and flexibility. After the first competition and taking an hour to do her hair, I’m definitely considering a hairpiece, too!
My advice for the parent who finds themselves going from activity to activity with an indecisive child? It’s okay. Sometimes it’s just not a fit, or they expect something and it doesn’t hold up to their expectations or dreams. It’s okay. It’s okay to try different things, and I don’t like the idea of forcing them to finish something they truly don’t have an interest in. Don’t make them resent an activity or experience, help them learn from it.