I went to see my daughter cheer last week. I was excited to finally make it to a game because I know this is very important to her.
She’s excited because this is her first year cheering for basketball and because she earned the coveted title of cheer captain. She worked very hard to earn those stripes, and I was glad that I could plan a trip home to see her and her squad in action.
But I’m not too sure I knew quite what I was getting into.
The cheer game is serious business. It isn’t like what it used to be. I remember the cheer teams in my middle and high school years mostly cheering for the teams on the court or field.
However, cheers of the “1st & 10 do it again!” variety are a thing of the past. Now, the cheers are all trash talk directed mostly at the other squad. However, I only know this because I’ve seen my daughter practice.
When I’m at the game, I can’t really understand what they’re saying. At first, I chalked it up to my oldness. And, while I’m sure that’s most of my problem, most of the cheers were done at the same time. Meaning, the cheer squad from either team sit right across from each other chanting their cheers at roughly the same time as each other in a middle school gymnasium.
Because of this, I couldn’t tell what either squad was saying. They might as well just be doing the “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah” cheer over and over. Mix in the overzealous parents yelling their coaching instructions to their kids from the bleachers, and it’s pretty much chaos.
However, as I said, I have the advantage of having seen my daughter practice many of these cheers, so I know what most of them say. Couple that with the general body language of the cheerleaders, and man, things were getting heated!
Each cheer had more and more stomping on the bleachers, and it got louder as the night progressed. Anytime we’d have a timeout, there would be a tumble display from one team. Then, at the next stoppage, two girls from the other team would tumble to answer, then three.
By the end of the night, I’m not sure if either squad knew there was an actual game going on. They were both pretty much only concerned with out-cheering the other. The trash talking got a little more and more intense as the night went on, as well.
“Your team is slow and your cheers are weak; the only way you win is if you cheat!” wasn’t too bad, but I knew when I heard “Sports and grades and standard tests, you fail all three and have bad breath,” I thought we might have problems.
By the fourth quarter, I think I heard a cheer about “Ya momma’s ugly, ya daddy’s fat and they don’t love you, no wonder they’re divorced!” That one struck me as weird, because it didn’t even rhyme.
I’m kidding, of course. Before you fire off that Whine Line letter, none of these were actual cheers.
And, yes, for the record, they did follow the game along with the rest of us. However, the intensity was there.
I picked on my daughter about it. But she ensured me that the cheer game is serious business. It’s ruined friendships, and I honestly thought it might come to fisticuffs by the end of the night.
It made me realize how thankful I am that I’m not in middle school. Not because I’m afraid of the pressure, but because I never even made the cheer team.