As we walked through the double doors at the Austin Convention Center I was instantly overwhelmed with the amount of sparkle and athleticism in the room. These girls were not here to play. They were there for medals, Division Championships, and Summit bids for the day’s All-Star Cheerleading competition.
My daughter didn’t seem too small among them. These girls came in all shapes, sizes and ages. But when we found her team she stuck out as one of the smallest. She ran up to her friends–Other girls about her size, who are called “flyers”. They’re the girls who get thrown up in the air during the routine. And trust me, it looks easier than it is. My daughter spends a good chunk of time each week working on conditioning and flexibility to get those moves just right.
She’s the youngest on her team. They all range in age from 9 to 14 years old. My daughter turned 9 this summer, barely squeezing into the age range. At first I panicked at that realization. That she’s be matched up with older girls. But it’s proved to be a lot of fun. Her bases (the girls who lift her up) will sometimes surprise her with goodies like a homemade bracelet, or candy for practicing (I love the innocence of them bribing her with their Halloween candy). They and her coaches at her new cheer gym have taken her under their wing and lifted her to new heights.
We (meaning the parents) don’t stay with our cheerleaders very long. We pass them off to their coaches as their team prepares for their performance. Then we may have a few hours to wait before we get to see them on stage. Then I’m the loudest, most enthusiastic mom on he sidelines as they perform. I don’t know how the others hold their emotions in. I’m screaming my head off every time something goes right. A perfect performance means they’ve “Hit Zero”, or zero deductions.
They did that this week. And hopefully will continue to do so through the year. “Oh we’re going to win,” my daughter said to me last night in reference to the competition we’re driving up to Dallas for this weekend. Her confidence is refreshing (normally she’s a bit nervous and not so optimistic). I wasn’t going to bring her down. But the competition will be steep and I’m sure we’ll have a lesson on losing at some point this year, and supporting others in their wins.
There’s so much more I’d love to say about this sport. All-star cheerleading, competitive cheerleading, or whatever you want to call it. The cost (this gifts for cheerleaders list will give you a tiny idea), the time and dedication, the diversity (or sometimes lack of), the ups and downs and lots of fun in between. But I thought today I’d just open up in this simple journal entry about what a day in the life of a cheer competition looks like. I hope you enjoyed it and liked watching our vlog!
Do you have any questions about competitive cheerleading, or thoughts on what you’re like to see more of? If you’re coming over from our YouTube channel, HI! Please leave a comment and let us know where you’re from!