I Cheer, Therefore, I Am

As the new school year fast approaches, and my 17 year old daughter prepares for cheering on the varsity football squad, a lot of memories are flooding back for me. Not just back to the 1980’s, when I cheered at my high school, but rather to the year 2011, when I returned to my high school and cheered again.

It was the year I turned 40 and my mid-life crisis had just begun. Well, technically, it began the previous summer, when I willingly paid extra money at an amusement park for the opportunity to allow 2 strangers to strap my husband and me into a giant ball attached to bungee chords, and then proceeded to allow them to fling us 300 ft into the air together while our children watched.

That spontaneous lack of judgment prompted us to update our will.

Anywho, I found out that my High School was in search of alumni cheerleaders who were interested in dancing at the homecoming fame. I bolted to my closet. The desk chair was still swiveling when I returned with my old uniform. I was thrilled when the skirt zipped up the back and the sweater fit, too. Well, maybe not exactly like it used to, once you factor in that I'd birthed 4 children and my boobs were sitting about a foot lower than they were back in 1989. What once was up, will come down. It's a fact of life.

When my son came home from school, he found me cleaning the house in my cheerleading uniform, said, "Oh gosh” and walked away without asking. He also refused to spot me on a round-off-back-handspring, doubting my ability to do it without paralyzing myself.

 
Dude, it's probably like riding a bike. What could go wrong?
 
My husband, however, spent the week grinning like a kid in a candy store, and my daughters were completely enthralled with my sudden obsession with high kicks and even higher pony tails. They followed me around the house asking lots of questions and comparing jumps. Then we sat around and talked about boys and used the words "Like" "Totally" and "Awesome." And then I taught them how to combine them..."Like totally awesome." It was a pretty big deal.

Thursday night of that week, I had cheerleading practice.

 
(I can't even type that without twirling my hair.)
 
There were approximately 10 "real" cheerleaders and then 5 ladies, who may or may not have been suffering a sudden identity crisis. I was one of the 10. Obviously.

We reviewed 2 dances from our past. The first was the routine danced to the Fight Song. No problem. Our High School fight song is the same tune as The Ohio State’s song, therefore, I'd spent every Saturday for the past 21 years dancing that routine every time the Buckeyes score a touchdown. My husband can attest to that.

The second routine was one we also used to do at every game. I remembered bits and pieces…more bits than pieces…but was too embarrassed to speak up and figured YouTube would come to my rescue. No such luck.

I spent all day Friday imagining the horror that was about to happen that night in front of hundreds of people. I was gonna go out on that field and totally rock the Fight Song, only to turn around and look like a stroke victim during the 2nd song, as I lay on the field in the fetal position crying in a puddle of my own drool.

To top it off, on the way to the game, my husband broke some big news to me. "It's The Game of the Week! Channel 2 News is gonna be there!"  That was followed by him grabbing me before I could dive out of the side of our moving mini-van while the kids screamed.

 
(((You've entered The Drama Zone)))
 
Like you didn’t already figure that out.
 
We arrived early and I spent some quality one on one time working on the 2nd routine with a cheerleader, whose eyes were coated with the most beautiful gold glitter eye shadow I've ever seen, and I spent half the time wishing I'd known that eye-shadow existed 3 hours ago, but I digress.

We took the field, the band started playing, I looked up into the crowd of my alma-mater, and I danced my 40 year old heart out.

And in case you’re wondering if I was wearing my old uniform, the answer is no. Once the tiny detail emerged that I no longer own the tights that cover my underwear, that became a deal breaker. Picky. Picky.

Now I’m all set with a black warm-up suit with sparkly lettering and a supply of thick glittery gold eye shadow, cuz I’m gonna totally be ready the next time they ask me to come back and cheer at a game again...and I'm sure it's simply an oversight that they haven't asked me to come back and cheer at a game again.