When we first put Oldest One in a sport Husband and I decided it was important that she commit to and finish the season. We wanted her, and later Little One, to know that they couldn’t stop something just because they got bored, or didn’t want to do it anymore, but that they had to finish their commitment. We’ve held to that through all the years of cheerleading, and it hasn’t been an issue until this year.
At the start of the school year Little One didn’t want to do school cheer. She had been on JV cheer the year before, and was the captain, but didn’t find it as fun as her big sister did. Since a new coach had been hired I encouraged Little One to go to the first meeting and meet the new coach. I told her if she didn’t want to try out after that it was fine, but she should at least go to the meeting. It was a good meeting, she liked the coach, and the coach told her she had to try out. So, Little One tried out for JV, because as an 8th grader she wasn’t eligible for Varsity. But, they made an exception and put her on Varsity (she did have 5 years of competitive cheer behind her) and she has loved school cheer…even though the captain, Oldest One, yelled at her more than anyone else.
In fact, she loves school cheer so much that she doesn’t want to do competitive cheer next year, only school. She has really struggled with competitive cheer this year, even though this is her sixth year at the gym. In the first few years of doing competitive cheer every May she said she didn’t want to go back. We encouraged her to still attend summer practice, because we knew if she didn’t go back, the first competition she went to for her sister would make her upset she wasn’t competing with her team. Every year she decided she did want to continue, and she loved it. Until this year.
Last year she was on a Senior 4.2, which is a team that stunts at a Senior 4 but tumbles at a Senior 2 level. They were a really good team and were undefeated in our state. This year she is on a Senior 4, but since she can’t do a tuck she doesn’t get to do much tumbling. Last year she had a main tumbling pass, which she loved. Then one of her best friends decided to leave the team. And it went bad from there. Little One wants to leave now, in the middle of the competition season, because it isn’t fun anymore and she doesn’t like it anymore. She gets cranky and doesn’t want to go to practice, and sometimes cries. She said the coaches yell a lot, and they are never happy with the girls.
Oldest One, on the same team at the same competitive gym, sees all of this in a completely different way. She said the coaches yell because the girls don’t listen. Oldest One loves to cheer with the gym; if she is in a bad mood practice always puts her in a good mood. She has a tumbling pass, and as one of the 3 seniors on the team has a very different role. She doesn’t empathize with her sister at all.
So we told Little One that she doesn’t have to return next year, but she has to stay through May. That didn’t go over well. But as parents, we want her to understand that she made a commitment to the team, and that for her to leave would throw off the entire routine right at a critical time. I’ve talked to the main coach, and she has had talks with Little One, and we are all trying to make it better. But at least once I week I am so tempted to just take her out and be done because she get so emotional about it. Then I realize she can leave the house upset to go to practice, but ask to go to Dairy Queen with the team after practice. So, she will see this through until May, and we will go from there. I’m sure we’ll all survive, but boy, some weeks are definitely more challenging than others.