Sunday, November 15, 2015

All-Star Cheerleading

When Cadence was 3 yrs old, she was shy.  But not the normal 3 yr old shy.  Completely debilitating.  She would freeze if you spoke to her – she wouldn’t make eye contact.  She would walk away, as though you weren’t there.  Her dr suggested we put her in a group sport., where she’d perform in front of people.
I found a great gymnastics center and she LOVED it.  It took a few months for her to talk to the coaches and make eye contact.  But finally, she felt comfortable with them.  And even more, she loved doing the activities.  For 6 mos she was the happiest kid ever.  And it really did help.  She was still really anxious about talking to people, but it was better. 

Then summer came to an end and we were told of a schedule change & price increase.  Ugh.
I couldn’t work with the schedule change, unfortunately.   BUT, in its place, I found a tiny level cheer team.  I enrolled her and she’s been a cheerleader since. 

She again went back to not speaking very often, except with people she was friends with.  But at her first competition…she ate up the attention!  I was shocked.  I was sooo worried she’d go out on the mats, in front of 100’s of people and freeze while her teammates performed…but she was on it.  She loved it!  I am fairly certain I cried at her first competition!
1st year cheering - tiny
As the years have gone by, she’s been on a few teams.  She started w/CSE for 2 yrs…but the coach/owner ‘retired’ to take care of her kids and so ended a decade of a great team and coaches.
2nd year cheering - tiny
She started on a the team that ‘inherited’ CSE, but I wasn’t a fan of their head coach.  Luckily, two of her old coaches started their own team.  She moved there for 2 years.  But again, all good things must come to an end and SEA ended so both coaches could pursue their studies. 

3rd year cheering - mini

4th yr cheering - mini
As every season ended, I would ask her if she was sure she wanted to do it another season, b/c once she was signed up, there was no backing out.  And every year she said yes.

After SEA, I found Titans.  Honestly, the price & minimal amount of competitions is what caught my eye.  They were a good team…but their coach left A LOT to be desired. I have now learned, we were very spoiled with our previous coaching experiences.  What we had w/CSE & SEA is not normal, unfortunately.  When TCE season ended (THEY WERE NATIONAL CHAMPS!!), Cadence finally said no, she did not want to cheer the following season.  I was shocked and a tiny bit disappointed. 

5th year - youth L1
 As a mom, who sat through HOURS of practices, I was very lucky to be surrounded by AMAZING moms.  While she was with CSE, I made quite a few friends, who I am still friends with today.  Titans was a lot different than CSE & SEA, the families all stayed to themselves and they didn’t speak to other families.  It was weird for me, having come from such a warm, friendly team. 

 After a season off, Cadence begged me to find a team.  Again, I looked for one that was inexpensive (I use the term loosely, as all-star cheer is CRAZY expensive) and found COCG.  Two of my friends brought their daughters and it felt good to watch Cadence do her thing.  And Bryleigh was able to join in on their tiny team!  She was ecstatic.  It was a hard year.  Being off a year was hard for Cadence.  It was a lot of adjustment.  Also, being with a coach that she didn’t know, again, was hard.  She missed Morgan, Chelsea & Stacey.  These were the coaches that made her love the sport.  She got through her year as a ‘ruby’ (Youth L1) and considered not joining for the most current season. 
Cadence's 6th yr - youth L1 & Bry's 1st yr - tiny
But she was excited to go with her friend again and joined.  This has been a heard season for her.  She’s now cheering on a L2 team.  She spends 30 mins an evening practicing facials, or BWO or arm movements.  She holds cans of veggies in the air to build up strength since she’s a base.  The very beginning of the season she wanted to quit - but I don't believe in starting something and dropping out before you finish.  Her coach was tough, and I told her it’s b/c it’s a tough level.  I have to reassure her that her coach believes in her and likes her and that she should not let what some of her teammates have said to her, affect her (way easier said than done!)…but in July, she decided she was going to prove her teammates wrong.  She may not be the best – but she is probably the most dedicated.  She tells me all the time she just wants to be able to tell them suck it.  I am proud of her determination. 

She was sad to see her friend leave a few months into the season (so was I) but happy to have her cousin join!  She said at least she has one person she can trust and knows likes her.  It makes me sad she thinks this, but proud b/c she’s not letting it stop her from doing a sport she loves.

Bryleigh has wanted to cheer as long as she’s been able to walk.  She loved following her sister around cheering with her and stunting.  Last year, her first year, as a tiny, she was on a duo team.  They always looked so freaking adorable out there performing in front of everyone.  This year she is on the ‘sapphires’ youth L1.  She is excited to have been put as a flyer.  She works very hard, too. 

Two weeks ago they had their team pictures – omgosh – they all looked amazing. 
Bry & her teammate trying to stay warm waiting for pics on a chilly Nov afternoon

Bry's 2nd yr cheering - mini L1 & Cadence's 7th yr cheering - youth L2
And yesterday was their first competition of the season!  They didn’t place as well as they had hoped – but they did so much better than their showcase in Oct.  It was obvious the amount of work all the girls have put into their routines!  We were all very proud of them.

They have another competition in a few weeks.  I can only imagine how much better they will look.  I don’t know if this will be Cai’s last year or not…she’s endured a lot this season, emotionally, but even if it is, her hard work has made me so proud! 

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