Tuesday, August 14, 2018
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3 CHEERS FOR THE ATHLETES WHO ROOT ON OUR TEAMS

I’m sending this a little early because we leave town early in the morning. Have a great week!

I have a confession to make. My youngest child of my four kids (Kamryn) is a CHEERLEADER. Yes, it is true; I am the father of a cheerleader. For about 20 years I have coached and watched my kids win championships, pump iron to get stronger, make last second shots to win the game, finish a game with torn jerseys and scrapes and bruises indicating they fought hard and gave it their all. This past year I even had the thrill of watching my son win the high school state basketball title and be selected to the All Region team. For years I have written this column that reaches all boundaries of this land of liberty helping and guiding parents and coaches concerning kids and sports.
And now I am the father of a cheerleader.
I will spend my Friday nights sitting up in the football bleachers with the other cheerleading parents watching my daughter do cartwheels kick jumps and half time dances. I will probably miss that last second long bomb touchdown pass to win the game.
I will walk out to my car after the game and listen to the other dads brag about how their kid made that great tackle, or that last second touchdown.
And then it will soon be basketball season, my sport! This year will be different. As the parents come to me for expert opinion, or strategic explanations, I will answer like this: “I don’t know, I didn’t see the game, but did you see Kamryn do that cheerleading stunt? Did you see how high she lifted that girl up?”
These were my original thoughts when Kamryn announced with a knowing grin that she was trying out for the cheer line. After I got over the shock of her actually making the squad, I watched her come home from cheerleading practice worn out, completely physically drained. She has black and blue marks all over indicating she has worked hard. She wakes up in the morning with sore muscles. She has learned a new discipline and has given it her all. She has become a good cheerleader. She has become committed to get stronger, more flexible and to be the best cheerleader she can be.
She even had a week of cheerleading camp. A physically grueling week that depleted her of all energy while filling her up with new skills, disciplines and developing new relationships, and friendships.
Sure, during her past 17 years, or so, she has played basketball, flag football, soccer, swimming, softball, and many other sports, enjoying each and every one. She has benefited from all that each sport has to offer. (She plans to still play on the basketball team and continue working out with the softball team in preparation for the spring season.)
I have come to realized that she made the right choice. She loves being on the cheerleading team. She has a new sense of excitement. She gets up in the morning looking forward to her school day. It’s AWESOME!
Now, I can’t wait until that first football game. I am going to bring that padded bleacher cushion I bought from the cheerleading fund raiser, getting there early to find a front row seat, and enjoy the show. For the first time in my life I may even join in the “wave”. I think I might even learn some of the cheers and throw in a couple arm and shoulder movements.
Then, after the game I’m going to find the dad of the star quarterback and say, “hey did you see the cheerleaders? They were awesome.” And then I will ask, “Hey, did we win?”
I am the PROUD father of a Cheerleader! “Rah, Rah!”

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