This whole “situation” is making our “normal” lives so much more day-to-day. There are questions we can’t answer, plans we can’t make, and decisions we struggle to understand. The following was written late at night as a response to the current situation that we are dealing with. Haley does competitive cheer (and loves it), and like everything else, it’s on “pause” right now. We literally have no idea what’s happening to this season, to the competitions on the schedule that are currently postponed by event organizers, and it’s heartbreaking. It’s even more heartbreaking to know that because of this “situation”, many are now unable to afford and be able to participate in some of the biggest events of their competitive cheer careers – including us.
Our big event of the year is supposed to be held in Orlando in May (or whenever it’s rescheduled to), and as of today (3/23/20), the event producers are still planning to hold this event and our coach is still planning to keep us registered and attend…
“Realistically, we only have to have five per team to compete…”
But I have to ask, at what point do you look back at the hard work, the long practices, the sudden change in practice space, the stresses and chaos and confusion of competition meet-ups and realize that it’s not fair to form a team of “only 5” just to compete?
At what point do you candidly ask your parents, the ones doing the paying and the driving, the parents who volunteered their own time and money when no one else would, and ask them how they feel?
At what point do you consider that maybe the pandemic allows you to let everyone quietly take a pause, be with their families, save their money for the hard times, and when safe to do so begin a new season?
How is it fair to have girls practice day after day, go to 4 hour practices, and then go to what is supposed to be the season ending biggest competition of them all?
What do I tell my cheerleader, who works for hours at practice and then hours at home, that we can’t go because the newly rescheduled dates make it more difficult or because we worry it’s still not a healthy decision, that it’s okay, her “team” will be represented without her and those athletes from similar scenarios?
At what point do you consider this a small blessing in disguise, a way to rethink the structure of it all, and come back better than seasons before? A time to implement systems and roles to take everything to another level?
At what point do you realize that parents are exhausted; exhausted from losing their jobs, from having to explain to their children that people are dying and getting sick and no one knows what to do about it? Parents are exhausted from having to teach their children at home, exhausted from having no day care and never having been “stay at home parents” to now home 24/7 because everything’s closed?
How is it fair to plan to go with “only 5” and not even have the appropriate time to practice so that whatever routine is slapped together even represents the hard work, the blood, the sweat and the tears (not to mention the stress of parents, the cost, the changes throughout the season) the entire team, young and old, deserve? Don’t you see that by going and saying you only need 5 that you actually are taking the experience away from everyone else? It’s different when the majority of the team can be represented, that’s more likely a common situation year after year with gyms all over the country, families unable to afford the growing expense of this sport. But it’s different now, now you’re willing to take whatever few have managed to make this work in these unprecedented times and basically forget the others who might be silently struggling.
At what point, coach? It’s your business, your gym, your team… but don’t forget that without the athletes and without the parents and those that volunteer to make things tick, you wouldn’t have two teams at all.