Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 369

It's going to be a very cheerful weekend.

We have our last State competition here tomorrow and I can't wait! I can't wait to see all the cheerleaders dressed in their gear, I can't wait to see their smiles and energy as they perform, I can't wait to cuddle and congratulate them as they come off the cheer floor, but most of all I can't wait until it's all over.

Sorry, but that's about the size of it.

I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I'm spent. I'm over it. I've got migraine. I'm losing my cheer spirit.

We've only got three coaches with 90 competitive cheerleaders. That's 3 coaches working with 5 teams, across 12 routines, doing choreography, admin, positive psychology, tumbling, stunting, strength training and dance. That's about five face-to-face hours a week each and another three working behind the scenes. In the whole scheme of things that's not a lot, but it is when it is done a volunteer basis and has to be done around work, business, family and household management.

Anyway, I'm not complaining. Really I'm not. I'm the one that brought cheerleading to the school, but if I am losing my cheer spirit a bit, then that has to be affecting the kids, and if they lose their cheer spirit, then what's the point? So it's time to find our cheer spirit again. It's time to find the joy. It's time to step back, recoup, re-energise and let that spirit break free.

Some of it returned last night I've got to say. In addition to cheer and poms routines, competitions also include parter stunts, group stunts, basket toss and individual events. Trying to work out who should represent the school out of 90 kids while remaining fair and inclusive is impossible. So we weren't going to enter these items. But the older two teams begged and begged and BEGGED and I figured, if they are so keen, then who am I to say no? So I suggested they get their own partner/group stunts together. They do all their own choreography. Get their own music. Then come to me with their plans on paper and I would give up some time to supervise as they rehearsed and we would then bring in an external judge for a "try-outs" session to determine who we should enter into Sunday's comp.

Wow. These kids were amazing! Their cheer spirit, their enthusiasm, dedication, choreography, innovation and skill blew me right out of the water. I am so proud. I didn't provide any input at all, even into my own daughter's stunting preparations. I just stood back, gave some coaching regarding safety and technique, and watched in awe. Anyway, last night was the big night where we had to choose 2 group stunts and two partner stunts to send to comp tomorrow. I wish I could have entered all of them. Honestly. But we could only do two of each. So we got our group stunts sorted (easy, there were only two entered in the end) and we got our partner stunts sorted. I am proud to announce that Tahlia and her partner will be representing our crew tomorrow. I am so happy for them, but also glad it was an external judge that made that decision. I mean, Tahlia and Phoebe did win their partner stunt last year at comp, but still, I don't want to be put in the position of choosing my own child over someone else's. And if the truth be known, it wasn't an easy decision. It was hard!!! The kids were all so very clever. In the end it came down to technique, form, consistency and general cheer attitude.

Anyway, that is a long story about spirit and digging deep to find mine again. This morning I will have more spirit as I pull my shoulders back, chest up, head up and plaster that smile on my face for three and a half hours of cheer practice as we make final adjustments for our comp tomorrow. And then, when this comp (and then Nationals) is all over, I will be sitting down to take stock and create a strategic plan for the cheerleading in general so that we can get more coaches on board and some across the board assistance with administration. If I am going to do this again next year I need to go back to my origins. I need to get back to basics. I need to go back to what brought me joy in the first place and try and side-step the bits that bring me stress and make we weary.

How's your spirit? Do you have something that used to bring you joy but has now become a chore? I would like to dedicate today to "bring back my spirit" day? Join me ..

Let me leave you with this little video of Tahlia and her partner performing last year's partner stunt routine. Just so you know what I am talking about .... they have improved 10 fold since then! I didn't realise just how much growth there has been until I watched this. Very cute.

PS Partner stunts are traditional male/female with a big strong bloke lifting his fair maiden, but at Primary School level we just let the kids do girl/girl as we are severely lacking in cheer dudes ....


  1. The noise! Leanne, no wonder you have a bloody migraine. The spirit is wonderful. Peace is required to top up the spirit.

    (She is adorable, by the way. What a grin.)

  2. You're amazing. I hope it goes away during the weekend, and you have a nice relaxing time to get over the vacation and the migraine. crossing fingers


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