|from earlier this season|
And then there was cheer. The bane of my existence.
And now it's over.
Twice I truly thought I was having a heart attack, only to talk myself down from the Pop Warner-induced anxiety. The expectations for perfection from girls and their mothers alike exhausted me. The Us vs. Them mentality. The pressure to conform, and the unstated consequences for not having cheered with this squad since 2005. All my girlhood anxieties about not being accepted by the popular girls were rerouted into "are these girls going to cast out my daughter?" The perpetual fundraising. The no excuses-mentality. My daughter came home from many practices injured, with bloody noses and bruises across her face, but was afraid to tell the coaches. Girls get punished if they are seen as weak. Their coveted positions hastily given to other girls, only too happy to gain from an injured girl's misfortune.
This week they competed in a national championship in Orlando. The week cost more than a mortgage payment. I almost fainted (literally!) in Magic Kingdom when I got a call from the coaches saying that I'd given C the wrong card - not her "hopper pass" but a card to get into a Pop Warner-only party at MGM. She couldn't get in the park. The entire group (34 girls and their families) were stuck waiting, while the coaches (admittedly, very nicely!) sorted it out and got her a new pass.
Competition at the ESPN Wide World of Sports arena didn't go as planned. Our team had a "major infraction" - possibly a safety issue, but we don't know - and the girls lost so many points that they placed in the bottom of their division. Without the "infraction", they would have placed second.
To me, they really are winners anyway. I was truly amazed by their stunts, their dancing and their styles. I don't care that they didn't place - they looked AWESOME. To most of the other families - as well as the girls themselves - this was an unacceptable failure. The tears lasted more than a half hour and were coming from the deep depths of their broken hearts.
I'm glad those tears are over, too.
Losing is a hard, but necessary, lesson to learn. But I've learned something too. If I let this sort of thing get the best of me, it will. I've never been so angry and so stressed out over so many small details in all of my life.
I'm glad I have my girl back as well as my sanity.
It's good to be home!