I used to be a cheerleader. You know, one of those bright, punky girls who bounced around happily on the sideline of the basketball court shouting joyfully and encouraging the crowds to do the same. That was me, in a nutshell.
Truly, because I was never a good cheerleader or a skilled cheerleader. No, not even in the loosest of terms.
Fifth grade is when cheerleading began in my alma mater. It was a very exciting time for the girls in my class. We didn’t have girls sports back in the day for those in fifth grade, so cheerleading was the end all, be all. And all the girls wanted to be cheerleaders, but only two were chosen. It was set up so that there were two from fifth grade and two from sixth grade, as the boys’ team was compriseed of both fifth and sixth graders. It was a popularity vote amongst the classmates. I was lucky enough to be chosen the first year - which meant that by default I would not be a cheerleader as a sixth grader. Nope: The two chosen in 5th grade were automatically disqualified for the sixth grade cheering squad. We all felt that was fair enough, even if we were a little disappointed.
The very same principle applied again in seventh and eighth grades, so in seventh grade I became re-eligible and was again elected as cheerleader for the boys’ basketball team. By seventh grade, however, we also had a girls’ basketball team, and I actually played on that. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
Anyway, I was a lousy cheerleader, in reality. Oh, I could bounce around and scream really loudly for the boys and I could entice the crowd to yell loudly, although I think they were inclined to do that on their own.
My downfall then, as it still would be today, is that I have an incredibly short attention span. So learning cheers was always rather difficult for me. Or maybe I should say, remembering cheers was always difficult for me. Specifically the actions. Because of this I always had to stand in the back row when we did floor cheers, so that I could watch the other girls and follow along, albeit a fraction of a second behind.
Basically, I looked like a newcomer in a Zumba class - the one that doesn’t know the routine. Yep, that was me.
Have you seen that I Love Lucy episode where she is trying to keep up in the exercise class, but doesn’t know the routine? Well, just imagine that episode every time there was a junior high or grade school basketball game in Wilmot and I was cheerleading. Because there I was, out on the court in front of the entire town of Wilmot, pretending to be a cheerleader.
Of course, I realize this was a bigger deal to me than to anyone else, because, believe it or not, the world does not revolve around me. I’d like to think it does, but I know better.
The good news is that all this foolishness as a child taught me that it’s okay to be foolish. Which is maybe why I continue to enjoy life so much as a “grown-up,” eh?