Football is a religion in Texas. This means that cheerleading is a religion for girls in Texas. Because you can't have football without cheerleaders. Girls start out cheering when they're really little, like at peewee games. It's funny because the little guys playing football don't have much of a clue. They're more busy studying butterflies and practicing ninja kicks than they are making the perfect play. The little girls cheering have a little bit more of a clue, but not much. They are all dolled up in their cute little cheer outfits and do a good job of watching the moms show them what to do. So really, the footballers have two cheering squads. The little girls copying their moms and the moms reliving their past dreams of cheering.
Back in the day I wanted to be a cheerleader really badly. I'd practice in the backyard for hours. Our kitchen had a window overlooking the back yard and while mom tried to cook, I'd practice and yell for her to watch every 15 seconds. Every day. For over a year. Thanks Mom, for being so patient.
When I got into middle school the opportunity arose for anyone who wanted to be a cheerleader to try out. My friend Julie Foley tried out and she nailed it. I was so jealous! I wanted to be a cheerleader! The only problem was that I was too chicken to try out. Back in those days (the stone ages) if you wanted to be a cheerleader, you had to try out in front of the whole school. Usually what you'd do is go around to all of your friends and ask them to vote for you. Then, even if you were bad at cheering you'd still get voted in because all of your friends would vote for you.
The second year of middle school I got brave and decided to go for it. Mom sewed me a cheer skirt for the big day. She wasn't a seamstress so my skirt was a little crooked and didn't really look a lot like a real cheer skirt (sorry Mom) but I was still ready. My classmates were assembled in the gym and we all got a turn to show our mad cheering skills. When I did my jumps it sounded like an elephant hitting the floor. When I tried to do a high kick, my leg would only go up about 1/2 way. I couldn't do any cool stuff and I definitely couldn't do the splits (which were really important) so I was stuck having to do 1/2 splits which weren't cool at all.
My friends said they'd vote for me and I'm sure they did, but I failed miserably. I bet I wasn't even in the top 100 applicants - and there were only about 20 girls trying out! I decided then and there that I would never be a cheerleader. Or majorette. Or drill team girl. I'd just be a plain old girl because I didn't want the humiliation of trying out in front of talented people again.
On a lighter note, my oldest daughter tried out for cheer and made it. For 3 years until she got tired of it. She didn't have to copy my moves from the sideline. I tried to copy hers. For some reason the crowd around me moved to another section of the stadium. Not sure why.
Rah rah, sis boom bah!