When People Think You’re Crazy for Wanting to Cancel Cheer

Thursday morning at 9am, I felt like a crazy person as I urged the parents in our cheer group chat that we should not go to the competition in Galveston this weekend. I’m normally a pretty confident person, but sticking your neck out with an unpopular opinion is uncomfortable. 

“Seriously, it is like a flu. We aren’t going to die.” A mom replied after I voted “no” to attending.

I was trying to explain my position without coming across as overreacting. But I’d been reading about the Coronavirus (CORVID-19) for weeks and seeing that social distancing can make a big difference. 

Wednesday night, the NBA announced they were suspending their season. Tom Hanks posted that he and his wife tested positive for it. I told my husband the next day people will finally start waking up and realizing how serious this was to become. 

But here I was, debating with cheer moms who really wanted to go to this competition.

A couple of weeks prior our team won NCA, one of the biggest, most notable competitions in competitive cheer. The girls earned coveted jackets, gold medals and a giant trophy. We were on a high and hungry for more wins when serious, concerning CORVID-19 news started to spread.

I shared this meme on my Instagram stories. Lightheartedly joking about the determination of cheer organizations and the idea that “the show must go on!” I’d been looking at people sideways the past couple days as news continued to develop and others didn’t seem as concerned.

My next story slide showed a graph from the CDC highlighting the difference between peak spreading when social distancing is involved, versus when it’s not. Cancelations needed to happen, even if it meant we pulled ourselves out. 

I felt torn between being a “team player” (in this sport people are expected to practice and compete whether you’re sick or not) and being a responsible adult. I decided to sleep on it, then speak my mind at practice Thursday night. 

Thursday morning more news was coming out about school closings and event cancellations. I knew if I could get just a couple of moms to agree to not drive to Galveston to compete, we could pull out. 

“I’m not concerned about *us* dying. But I’m concerned about spreading it to people with asthma, obesity, smokers and elderly. I just don’t think it’s responsible.”

A couple of moms agreed. Some have elderly parents living with them, or that they take care of. Others disagreed.

“I’m not concerned either,” another mom said. “I think the media is blowing it out of proportion.”

This is when I wanted to pull my hair out. I understand the mistrust in the media, people are skeptical. But if you’d read ANYTHING on the CDC website, you’d know by now that unnecessary gatherings just isn’t smart. 

At this point I decided we probably weren’t going. In my gut I knew we wouldn’t be. Whether the competition was officially canceled or not. Someone asked if we could get a refund on our hotel stay and I offered to call and find out. Cancelling my own reservation in the process. 

I knew the team would be disappointed and possibly unable to perform with an athlete down. But I also knew our coaches would understand our concern for not wanting to put ourselves in the predicament, and not hold it against us. 

I told the parents we canceled our hotel and that a full refund was given. A couple freaked out that I’d already canceled. But I knew that if by a small chance, we did all still decide to go, it wouldn’t be difficult to find a room. I mean hello… The world is shutting down, teams are pulling out. I can get a room at a hotel nobody is trying to stay at right now.

Then one parent made a statement that in hindsight is very important: “I don’t see how going to this comp is any different than wherever you would go this weekend in Austin. It’s a small local comp. Unless you are quarantining yourself in Austin, I don’t see the difference. This is everywhere now.”

Exactly. This is everywhere. We should be staying home more and avoiding crowds. We shouldn’t be unnecessarily sitting in stands side by side, coughing, laughing, hugging, shaking hands, and breathing on hundreds of people for the sake of our enjoyment. Then running home and spreading it in our communities. 

In everything I’ve read from official sources, cancelling events, and distancing ourselves from others is the way to keep it from spreading too fast. So fast that our hospitals won’t be able to keep up with the sick. 

I decided to make one last stand before checking myself out of the cheer parent chat conversation. 

“I’d rather talk to ya’ll in person tonight,” I said. Intending to continue the conversation at practice. “I’m just going by CDC and WHO recommendations of avoiding large gatherings. It’s not that I’m scared of catching it. I just don’t think a cheer competition is that serious and worth putting others at risk.”

Others continued to argue that the CDC doesn’t say you have to cancel your travel plans, and that there are zero cases in Galveston (which has of course since changed. When there are so few tests you don’t know how many cases there really are).

I chose to ignore it, but waited to hear from our coaches, gym owners, and perhaps even Varsity, who puts on these competitions. 

In Facebook groups for cheer parents I saw similar debates about whether or not the competitions should go on. Moms not feeling comfortable going, but also not wanting to let the whole team down for speaking up about their concerns.

At 10:40am we got an update from our gym owners, saying they heard our concerns and were taking them into consideration.–Even entertaining the idea of pulling out of the event. At noon we received word that Varsity had decided to postpone the competition (actually it was all competitions around the country for this weekend and next). 

RELIEF! And if I’m honest, a little vindication. Though many weren’t willing to take the situation seriously when they woke up that morning, I’d imagine, now, nearly 36 hours later, after Disney announced the closure of their theme parks and cruise line, they’re seeing things differently. We all are. If you were not aware of what’s going on, you likely are now. And if there’s an event still on that you’re uncomfortable attending, don’t feel bad about wanting to decline, or persisting that it be canceled.

I picked up a grocery order Thursday morning (yes, while this whole discussion was happening) and Walmart was not crowded in the least. Shelves were stocked (minus bleach and hand sanitizer), and there was even some toilet paper still on the shelves. (The hardworking employees were bringing in a huge pallet as I was leaving the aisle.

Hour by hour things are getting a little more eerie. Disappointment, fear, and urgency continues to spread. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to not be traveling this weekend. Bummed out to not see my girl rock the stage again? Yes. It was going to be our girls weekend in a nice hotel, just the two of us! But I’m also relieved to be in the comfort of my own home surrounded by the people that matter. 

My husband has said no less than a dozen times how happy he is that we are going to be together. And that we can have a movie marathon (he suggests Toy Story 1-4 and Rocky 1-800).

Helpful Coronavirus Information

I wanted to share some of the most helpful things I’ve read while learning about the spread of this virus. 

This chart by the CDC. Demonstrates the difference between the growth of cases when people have been staying away from one another versus when they don’t.

Our friends in Italy are ahead of us by about 10 days. My friend Sonia has been sharing their experience in her IG stories. Some people have said they made them feel more at ease about what things could be like. 

This Medium Article: A very long but very helpful, very detailed explanation about the importance of shutting events down NOW and practicing staying away from people.

MommyShorts wrote a thoughtful post about cancelling her spring break plans and how important it is, even though it’s disappointing. She also has a great post about what to do when you’re stuck at home with your kids.

Liz Dean wrote a family pandemic prep post several weeks ago. Note: I think it’s important to read and take all of this with a grain of salt and stay calm, don’t panic. But it may give you some ideas of things to make sure you have on hand if you don’t already.

This positive post about the good things that are still happening surrounding the Coronavirus. 

Our schools are out for spring break, and instead of fun plans of going out to see movies, going to the beach and watching a cheer performance, we’ll be home playing in the yard, finally starting that garden I’ve been wanting to try, and watching a lot of movies.

The teachers sent our kids home with their workbooks and instructions on how to access online materials “just in case” the break is extended. Based on my research I predict the break will be extended. 

Having homeschooled for a couple of years, and with plans to homeschool my son next school year I’m feeling prepared. But I know some of you might not feel that way. 

Homeschooling during the Coronavirus lockdown

I’m going to do a separate post rounding up some of my favorite FREE homeschool/home learning resources. I should have that up before Monday. But I do want to tell you that homeschool does NOT need to be an all-day thing. We take 2-3 hours tops to get through all of our materials. In school so much time is spent getting kids back on track, and transitioning from one activity to the next. Not to mention all of the kids are on different levels. Getting a chance to see where your kids are at one-on-one and allowing them to learn at their own pace could be an enlightening experience. 

Here are some of my previous posts about homeschooling to get you started:

Homeschooling for beginners: This post is more for people looking for a specific curriculum to invest in. If your school is shut down, they should have sent you home with resources.

Homeschooling myths: 7 Things You DON’T need to homeschool your kids.

A Typical Homeschool Day: This is what a typical day looked like for us. It wasn’t a full day of work, just subject by subject about 15-25 minutes at a time.

I’m hopeful that through this we will pull together as a country, as a world, to fight this thing. Instead of getting caught up and pointing fingers about politics and differences, we will be able to see how much good there is still in the world. And how great we can be together. 

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Your post never disappoint Jennifer and this one is filled with jewels that will only increase understanding on the importance of Social Distancing and hopefully more of us will be encourage spend more time with our families while add more reading to our routine. When you said, the world is shutting down. It seemed to really express the magnitutude of what we are dealing with in this Coronavirus Era. Cancelling cheer may be disappointing but it’s be necessary and in line with what is being recommended in the face of this pandemic.

Plus, we still have Social Media, Print Media and Television. Thank God for it since we can stay connected to put loved ones and the people and things that inspire us.

When I heard Harvard and Princeton was closed, I knew things were serious and we could anticipate more educational closures in Institutions of Higher Learning and Public Schools. No matter what happens, it’s always important to protect our health and welfare. Then, if things happen, we can live with the oitcomes.

Jennifer says:

I think we all had our specific moment where we said “oh crap, this is real”. For me it was the NBA season postponing and Tom Hanks’ tweets. For others it may have been when they went to pick up some food and noticed shelves were empty. Still some may not be sure what is happening. We will get through it though!

Camille says:

Good for you for sticking to your instinct!

Jennifer says:

<3 I'm not always great at that, but I was worried dangit!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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