Monday, November 14, 2011

Highs and Lows: Cheerleading Edition

Well, let me tell you, I had no earthly clue what we signed up for when we signed our 8 year old Abby up for competition cheerleading.  How silly of me to think that this would be a good and fun experience for her!  I know many of you have been following the ups & downs of "she made it!"..."she might be bumped off"..."no she made it again"..."no wait"..."Ok she's on the squad for real this time..."  So once we got past all that nonsense, the squad was able to buckle down and learn their routine...more or less.   40-some practices between August and November.  Can you believe that?  As the chief taxi driver, I can definitely believe it.  ;) 

The last few weeks of this have been really emotionally draining, but let me try give you the cliff-notes version:

That's Abby on the right - the taller one. :)
 About 2 weeks ago, the head coach stepped down.  (Ding! Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead!) Of course it was right after the ONE parents' meeting that I was unable to attend. Don't know first-hand what happened there.  We were so happy - assured Abby that practices would be a lot better now, without this woman's sarcasm and abrasiveness.  She was just really rude.  Sure, she knew cheerleading, but did not have a clue how to coach kids.  So we were really happy that she was gone.  Well, sort of.  About a day later, we found out that she was coming back "to assist with tumbling" or whatever.  Oh, great. 

A practice or two later, Abby came home crying.  Again.  This doesn't happen every time, but it has happened enough.  She said that the "new" head coach told them that their formation "sucked," and they made the girls "run around the gym until their sides hurt."  I was like, whaaaaa????  (After talking to another coach, I found out that they had to do 3 laps around the tiny gym - not that it makes it OK, but they were never told to run "till their sides hurt.") 

I told all this to DH, and he said what I was thinking, too: "let's pull her off the squad."  I was like, YES!  She'll be so happy.  Enough is enough.  So we went up to her room to tell her this "good" news...and she was not exactly happy about it.  Her first competition was in 4 days, and she really wanted to compete.  Oh.  Not expecting that.  But I can totally understand.  She has put in all the hard work, and she wants to experience the payoff.  So this was our solution:  she doesn't get dropped off at practice anymore.  One of us stays there the entire time, "closed practice" policy be damned.  These coaches obviously can't be trusted to treat these girls right.  After a lengthy and tiresome phone conversation with the "new" head coach, she agreed to let me or DH stay there during practice.  I did have to play the "If I can't be there then neither can Abby" card - which I was dead serious about - and I think when she realized that I was serious, she relented.

The older girls on the squad LOVE her!  It's really sweet to see them all treat her like a little sister.  I'm thankful for that.
 Sat through two practices, everything was fine.  Great!  ...Right? 

So.  Yesterday was the first competition.  What a thrill to see our girl out there on that floor!  She did great...the whole squad did great.  We were so proud.  :)   So they came in last in their division...honestly, who cares?  They did so great.

Tonight, back to practice.  As we walk into the gym, the parents get pulled into a side room, off the gym, for a meeting.  I figured it was about the upcoming competition next weekend, no big deal.  Well I looked down into the gym and saw the OLD head coach there, barking at the girls.  The NEW head coach was up with us, the parents.  She gives us this song and dance about how "we all owe [old head coach] an apology and a 'thank you' for all the work she's done."  I almost guffawed right out loud.  Then she told us that "some parents" (meaning, ME) have been asking if they can sit in on practices.  In a very attitudinal way, she told us that there is no way they're going to allow that, and if we can't "get behind the coaches" and comply, then they don't want our girls there, and not to bring them to the next practice.  Then she started to walk out of the room!  I said "hey, [new head coach], are you really not open to discussion on this?"  She gave me a nasty look and said no.

I stepped outside to call DH.  We discussed it for less than 5 minutes.  He said that he was 100% behind me.  So I went into that gym, packed up Abby's stuff, and quietly motioned for her to come with me.  And we left.  And that's the end.


  1. I think you both took the right decision. Abby is too young to have made it on her own. I would have done the same.

  2. Unreal. Those coaches are ridiculous! Good for you. Even if Abby get's sad about your decision, that was DEFINITELY the right choice. Your baby should not have to deal with crap like that. excellent decision. Poor Abby and boo to the jerks who ruined what could have been such a great experience for her.

  3. I think you did the right thing! I can't believe they're being like that. It's not like they need to have closed practices you're not going to share their secrets! really. I'm shaking my head here.
    I'm thinking b/c it's a school activity you should be allowed (by law) to sit in the practices no matter what the coaches say. But they shouldn't be yelling at the girls. It's not Glee after all.
    ((hugs)) I never get to see you any more.

  4. I look at these pictures and I am sad for Abby and angry at these "coaches" who can't see past their own warped interests enough to realize what is best for the girls. They don't deserve to have a girl as special as Abigail on their squad. We did the right thing and Abby will be better for it.

    I love you!

  5. that's horrible! i love your blog, and can i ask you a question? i have problems on my blog, and i can't seem to get the cool tabs like yours (home, about, tutuor,ect) do you use pictures, html?, can you help me! ive been working on days, but can only endup with what blogger provides, that is quite un-pretty i guess.. how did you do yours?