Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 708

Could you lift your best friend up above your head?

In your mind, go and grab your three best friends, and determine who might be the smallest/lightest and most flexible.  Then  work out who might be the two strongest or more physically solid of the friendship group. Chances are this is not obvious coz you may all actually be the same size.  Stand in a row with the stronger two on the outside, and the smaller one in the middle.  Then grab the tallest of your friends and put her behind the smally.  If you do happen to have a fourth friend hanging around watching, then stick her at the front of the group.

Now, in your mind, have your two strong friends turn and face the smaller friend.  Have the friend who was just hanging around turn and face the group.  Now what is going to happen is the two strong friends are going to squat down a bit, put their hands out in front of them (one hand on the other in support) and the tall friend at the back is going to help the small friend jump into your hands with both feet, and then she is going to stand up nice and tall with complete trust as you hoist up your arms to hold her feet at chest/shoulder height.  One day you will be expected to actually hold your arms fully extended above your heads so that she is towering above you, but we won't do that today.  While this is happening the taller friend at the back is holding onto the fliers legs (reaching as high as she can) and the friend who is just hanging around is watching in case it all comes crashing down and she has to help catch the small friend.

Now, in your mind, as you look at your friends and look at the sizes, dynamics and strength needed, do you reckon this is possible?

This is what I do with my cheerleaders every session.  Every session my base girls are expected to lift friends, who are essentially the same size as them, above their heads and keep them safe.

This is a huge ask. And sometimes  - whether it be due to tiredness, lack of focus, a wobbly or floppy flier, a wobbly or floppy base, lack of communication or just plain physics - the stunt comes crashing down and all the friends get hurt.  Then they look at each other in pain and horror: you dropped me, you kicked me in the head, you punched me in the face, I think you broke my nose.  At which point we all need to say sorry to each other, accept responsibility for the role we all played (I say "we" because as a coach I am also responsible) and have a group hug to ensure friendships stay in tact.

Yesterday we had a stack.  A huge stack.  This group has been working together for two years and actually won with their group stunt at Australian Nationals last year.  They have always worked so well together! But as my year 6 team get older, and as their bodies change, as their focus waivers and as their attention span becomes divided between things other than cheer, I am finding the stacks are happening more often.  But yesterday's stack was bad.  The injuries included cheek bone, nose and shoulder.  All requiring first aid attention, all resulting in tears and a shoulder that requires follow up medical advice.  It was serious.  It is serious ...

That shoulder ... that belongs to my Tahlia.  Yesterday I had my coach hat on and got all three of the girls through the fall.  Today I have my mummy hat on and I am little bit worried.

As friends we are there for each other to hold each other up and catch each other as we fall.  We stunt together all the time metaphorically.

But seriously, could you or I actually hold our best friend above our head in physical terms?


Should I really be expecting these kids to? 


With only a week and a half until our state competition which hat should I be wearing for the benefit of the entire team?

1 comment :

  1. Sorry to hear about the spill. It must be tough in your position. But it sounds like you handled it well. All part of their learning journey. Hope Tahlia is ok.

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