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Stuff N' Nonsense - From Cheer Mom To Cheer Coach

POSTED July 24, 2012 10:56 p.m.

I’m not sure how it happened — I suspect cocktails were involved — but somehow I went from being a cheer mom to a cheer coach for the Rookie Stampede squad.

Have I mentioned I’ve never cheered in my life? In high school I was a drama girl, not a cheerio. I had many girlfriends who were cheerleaders but while they were learning cheers, I was in play rehearsal. So basically, I have zero experience but I hope I can make up for that with a sense of enthusiasm and two junior coaches who really know their stuff.

First off, I have to say, I’m excited but nervous, too. I love the idea of coaching my daughter. I figure this will be a good opportunity to spend some quality time with her that she will remember fondly when she’s grown. At least that’s how I hope she remembers it. Many people have cautioned me that it’s difficult to coach your own kid. I will try to be cognizant of this fact and strive to treat her as I treat the rest of the girls, without over or undercompensating for our relationship.

Last year was my daughter’s first year in cheer. At 6-years-old she was one of the mascots for the Rookie squad and it was a joy to watch her learn and grow and become more confident in her abilities. Cheer talent was definitely in her wheelhouse. She learned quickly and without complaint. In short, she truly loved it. Seeing her joy made me love it, too.

So when the time came to sign up for the new season, I casually mentioned that I’d be willing to be an assistant coach if they needed me.

Fast forward to me being asked to be the head coach and me accepting.

When I told my husband, he simply looked at me as if I’d told him I was thinking of joining a cult and getting a tattoo — on my face.

“You’re crazy,” he told me. “Like you have time to take on another responsibility?”

Lack of immediate support aside, his point was valid.

However, I looked at it this way: my daughter is growing up so fast and I’m missing out on a lot because of my work schedule. If I don’t carve time out for her, before I know it, she’ll be a teenager and I’ll have missed my opportunity to create lasting memories with her. Besides, cheer season doesn’t last forever and before I know it, we’ll be packing away our cheer sticks and whatever gear we’ve accumulated, to move on to the next sport or event.

I know there will be moments when I’m stressed and overwhelmed but life is about the ups and downs, right? I can’t wait to meet the girls on the squad as well as see them all dressed in their uniforms. Last year when my daughter received her uniform I thought I was going to die from the cuteness. I mean, when all the little ones are dressed in their cheer uniform, with their hair in jaunty ponytails, I couldn’t stop smiling. I really did love it.

So I guess it’s a natural, if not rapid, ascension from cheer mom to cheer coach, but if you’d have asked me before I had a daughter if I’d ever coach a cheer squad I would’ve laughed my head off.

But having a daughter changes everything.

Now I’m learning about spirit fingers, motion drills, eight-counts, and the importance of the cheer stick and how it should never touch the ground.

It’s a different world with its own language; I can only hope that I can learn everything I need to know — by next week.

Wish me luck!

Kim Van Meter is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at kvanmeter@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.

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