Of Good Cheer

I believe my wife and I are like most parents with kids – our lives revolve around them. We really wouldn’t have it any other way, although the sacrifices we make can push the parenting thing to the limit. With our 16-year-old daughter, I’ll do anything for her, even if it practically kills me.

In her junior year at a great parochial high school, she is a varsity cheerleader. We go to every game she cheers at, and recently her squad was competing in a three-series private-school cheer competition. To us, that’s the equivalent of a high school football championship. If you’ve never been to one of these competitions, you should know that it’s a big deal.

Each school is well-represented with family and friends of the competitors and, as you can imagine, the rivalry can be intense. But being that’s it’s cheering, everything is in good spirit, so there’s no “booing” or brawls.

But school pride rules, so it can get pretty hairy, especially with the cheer mothers in the crowd – and I mean mothers in the best possible way.

For her second competition, I was working late, so I would have to arrive at the gym after the event started. Nearly everyone in the crowd wears the colors of their respective schools, so the bleachers are practically mapped out that way. I arrived in my daughter’s school colors, white and Carolina blue. Since I was late, there were no readily available seats, and I could not locate my wife and the other parents from the school.

I was ushered in and ordered to take a seat wherever there was one available and they directed me into a section. Unfortunately, the section was occupied by the supporters of a “powerhouse” school (hint: their colors are buff and blue). I excused myself as I scooted past people in the section. When I sat down, I was clearly out of place.

It was like I was a white kidney bean in a bowl of blueberries. Nonetheless, when my daughter’s squad performed, I was the lone voice from that section cheering them on. I felt laser-like stares from those mothers I referred to but, for the most part, everything was civil, although I was feeling intense anxiety sitting in “enemy” territory.

It could have been worse. If my wife was with me, it might have been more like defending Fort Apache.