At the beginning of the school year my daughter wanted nothing more than to be a cheerleader for the elementary football team. When she was in kindergarten she was a cheerleader but since she didn’t understand the first thing about football, she quickly grew bored and could hardly wait until the end of the season.
Now, as a more mature fourth-grader who has sat with her daddy numerous times and watched his beloved Tennessee Titans lose enough games, Gracie felt better equipped to handle the responsibility of knowing when she was cheering for offense or defense and which direction the school team should head when attempting a touchdown (in kindergarten, many of the footballs players weren’t even sure).
So, she signed up for cheerleading, received her uniform, game schedule and began attended twice-weekly practices. She was so excited.
Reality hit with the first game which was a 90-minute drive in cold, off-again-on-again rainy weather. On the ride there I could feel her enthusiasm leaving her face like a balloon losing air. She tried to keep a smile on her face but cheerleading in the real world was not meeting her dream of jumping around on the sidelines with her girlfriends on a beautiful, crisp, sunny autumn day, waving pom-poms in the air. This job was going to require her to get her white sneakers dirty and motivate the fans in the stands no matter how cold and soggy she got.
I’ve tried to talk to her about how she’ll have a good time with her cheerleading friends and will soon forget about the weather conditions but if you know my daughter at all you know she lives by the self-fulfilling prophecy theory. She also doesn’t like to be wrong. So if she says she’s not going to have a good time, you can put your life savings on the fact that she WILL NOT have a good time.
So as I watch my daughter from the stands and I see her clearly having a good time, she will immediately offer a frown the second she sees me take out my camera. She refuses to have any documented evidence showing that she is having anything less than a wonderful time as a cheerleader.
I imagine this is just a sneak peek into what the teenage years will be like as my daughter gives new meaning to the word “stubborn.”