Friday, August 24, 2012


Last Thursday, Adelaide came home from her first day of school with a backpack full of papers.

One of those papers was a form detailing a cheerleading clinic being offered by our high school's varsity cheerleaders for elementary girls.

I asked Adelaide if she would like to participate, and she replied in the affirmative.

So a few days ago, our daughter attended the first day of the clinic, learning cheers and pseudo-dance routines in her elementary school's gym.  She had fun.  It was fine.

Yesterday, she and I walked down to the high school football field for the second day of the clinic, a dress rehearsal for tonight's performance at the big football game.

I sat in the bleachers with the other moms and watched 100+ young girls yell and cheer, their faces wreathed in smiles and enthusiasm.

Except for Adelaide, that is.

It was interesting to watch her.  She did all the moves, thrusting her arms up and down and to the sides in rhythm.  But while her voice was yelling, "GO-BIG-RED!" her hooded eyes and dead expression communicated the message, "I hate my life."

She made it through the hour, collected her t-shirt and poms, and we began walking home.  As soon as we were out of earshot of all the other families, she stopped walking, pressed her face into my stomach, and started crying.

"Adelaide, what's wrong?"

"I'm not cheering tomorrow night!"

"Why not?  You did such a good job out there!"

"I can't do all that cheerleading stuff in front of all those people."

"Adelaide, you did that dance clinic just last year, and you performed in front of a lot of people then, remember?"

"Yeah, but this is different.  In cheerleading they say you have to smile like every single second and I can't smile that much.  IT'S JUST NOT NATURAL."

I must admit, I had to stifle my first, instinctual reaction to agree with her and go on a little rant of my own.
No offense to any current or former cheerleaders reading this.  I actually really enjoy watching the national cheerleading championships on ESPN every so often.  When confronted with real live cheerleaders, however, I find myself unable to handle that much smiling and pep.  Because I'm with Adelaide on this one- it really is unnatural.

Instead I said something about everyone being different and it's okay if she doesn't want to smile that much.  We walked the rest of the way home, talked the whole thing over with Derek, and agreed that she didn't have to perform tonight, but that this couldn't become a trend; following through on your commitments is important.

She went to bed a little less upset, but still a little bitter about cheerleading.

I went to bed satisfied that our daughter wasn't going to be a cheerleader- until this morning when she woke up and told me that she'd changed her mind, she was going to cheer at tonight's game after all.  When I asked her why, she said that she'd thought about it all night and decided that she couldn't let herself be afraid to perform in front of all those people.  She'd just have to cheer anyway.

That's admirable and everything, but I just keep thinking about how Adelaide the Angry Cheerleader is going to bring everyone down a bit tonight.

It should be fun.

UPDATE:  Adelaide survived the cheer performance.  She even managed to smile a couple times when she saw her Daddy, brothers, and me in the bleachers.  The rest of the time, it was pretty much what I was expecting:

For those of you that haven't had the joy of meeting our Adelaide, she's the one sitting in the back row glaring at you.

And here she is in action.  Again, the one standing in the back row, staring at the camera, not smiling.  Really, though, the face she's wearing here is a vast improvement over her practice expression.

So in the end, I was right.  It was pretty fun.  And Atticus just loved getting to see "lots and lots and lots of girls!"  For an explanation, see tomorrow's post.


  1. Great book title! "Adelaide the Angry Cheerleader"!

    I kind of hate the idea of cheerleading. Certainly it was never me, and Emma is just not coordinated enough :-) She can climb trees and run through obstacle courses, but all that moving in ordered synchronicity seems to defeat her.

    I've never really cared for the cliquishness of cheerleaders, but of course there are other things that get cliquish too, so I really shouldn't single them out for that. Nowadays, though, middle-school and high school cheerleading just seems terribly sexually explicit, and I have a serious problem with that.

    Good for Adelaide, though, for following through. I think I'd enjoy the performance more, really, with at least one cheerleader who wasn't wearing that OMG-I'm-so-HAPPY! smile.

    1. I really like the cheerleading coach at our high school- she seems pretty down to earth, and in it for the right reasons.

      There was one little high school girl teaching at the clinic, however, who's shorts were just a bit too short. I was hoping our daughter wouldn't notice, but sure enough, as we were leaving the first practice, Adelaide said, "Hey, Mom! Did you see that girl's bottom? It was just hanging out of her shorts!"

      I can't really ascribe that modesty faux pas solely to cheerleaders, however; I see that just walking around town, anymore.

  2. Please, please, please take pictures!

    1. I'm trying to upload them now. I have a bunch to print off, including some of Charlotte, that I'm going to try to get in the mail to you guys.

  3. Well, now I want to go! Adi does not have the self discipline to make herself cheer in front of all those people and afer her "horrible" experience last year there was no question that she WOULD NOT be cheering in front of all those,although she'd love to be a cheerleader, guessing she'll have to choose another profession since I've never seen cheerleaders under the bleachers leading the crowd :)

    1. For some reason I can totally see Adi as a cheerleader. She seems athletic and reasonably perky. Oh, I know! She could be the mascot! That way she could prance around but nobody would actually be able to see her.

      Wait. Do we have a mascot? Like... a giant bomb or something?

  4. =D You always make me chuckle. I kinda want to come watch tonight just to see her face.

    1. She did way better at the performance than at the practices. She even managed to crack a smile when she saw us in the bleachers. It was a miracle!

  5. As a former cheerleader, it is unnatural. LOL

    1. Wait, are you saying all that cheerleader enthusiasm is forced?

      My entire belief system is now in shambles.

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  7. Thus my sole reasoning for homeschooling - no tempting cheerleader camps. (If only that were my real reason for homeschooling and not the fact that we live in crappy area that makes homeschooling my only option...)


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