….I was a cheerleader. Technically I was a cheerleader twice, once in Freshman year and again in my Senior year. But this post will be about the first time I was a cheerleader. If you are lucky I will post about the second time, it is full of teenage bitchiness and drama!
At the end of 8th grade, try outs were held for the high school cheer leading squad. A lot of girls in my grade went for it and I thought why not. My older and younger sister were really into cheerleading but I was never one to do it. I thought it would be a cool thing to do.
The thing is, I was terrible. I mean no hand-eye coordination at all. I struggled hitting the right poses, remembering routines, and the jumps, don’t even get me started on those.
Somehow, after several days of try-outs, I made the team. Well, pretty much everyone made the team. Except for two. Ashley was my try-out partner and she wasn’t accepted and Brieanne didn’t make the team. Ashley was about as bad as I was and Brieanne didn’t make the team based solely on her weight. They claimed they didn’t have a uniform to fit her. I felt so bad, Brieanne wanted to be a cheerleader more than I did and just because she was a heavier, she didn’t make it. So my experience already started out with me being salty over this.
A couple months went by after try-outs, summer was in full swing and for cheerleaders that means cheerleading camp. The entire squad packed up on a bus and went to camp somewhere in southern Indiana at a university. We were split off into pairs to share dorm rooms and I was roomed with one of my then good friends, Taylor. Taylor had been a cheerleader forever and she was really good at everything. It was so cool to be in our college dorm room, giggling into the night and talking about boys and what not.
I was not physically or mentally prepared for the next few days ahead of me. Cheerleading is hard especially when the bar is set so high. Back before my day in high school, the cheerleading squad was the best. They did competitions and actually won them. I remember my older sister, Emily, did a individual routine and rocked it. So this camp was for advanced squads. I, however, was not an advanced cheerleader.
We were up at the butt crack of dawn warming up, would practice non-stop all day, and flop into bed right after dark. Camp sucked, I sucked, and what made it worse was the most humiliating event of my life. For a little backstory, I had a pretty debilitating stomach condition that started at the beginning of freshmen year and still happens to this day. Without going into too many details, lets just say what happens to me you would not wish upon your greatest enemy. After many years, I have finally gotten it mostly under control. I still have bad days but there are way more good ones. Anyway, this camp was the first, and worst, bad day of many to come.
We woke up and went to breakfast as a squad, everything was done as a squad. I felt fine, I ate a little when the cramps and the rumblings started to happen. I ran to the bathroom but nothing happened. I knew I needed to get away from the giant crowds of teenage girls to a private bathroom where I could release the devil in peace. I had to beg my cheerleading coach to go back to the dorms alone. She finally relented, I began quick-stepping it to the dorms, but I knew I wouldn’t make it even as I broke out into a full on rub. To put it simply, I shit my pants at cheerleading camp. Gross, liquid, all consuming shit. I cleaned up the best I could, throwing away my cute Victoria Secret underwear but my cheerleading shorts needed to be washed. We all wore the same outfit at camp and this was my only pair of red shorts and I was so lucky there was a laundry room in our dorm. I threw them in for a quick wash when my coach showed up and I lied saying I had gotten them wet and they needed to dry. She told me to hurry up and that if anything I was the one who needed the most practice. I mean I had already shit myself, no need to make me feel worse about my situation. After my shorts were clean, I went about my day like nothing had happened. Cheerleading camp finished without any further incidents and had I known my stomach problem that day was going to be a constant issue afterwards I would have just quit when we got back to town.
I kept up with cheerleading and I did get marginally better, like if you were measuring it on a scale of one to ten I went from a 2 to a 2.6. We practiced for the rest of the summer and into the school year and football season. We were required to go to all games, even the ones we didn’t cheer at. This meant that at varsity games, cheerleaders were required to go in uniform, sit in the bleachers, and not have any fun. Away games were rough especially as my stomach and overall health declined. I remember almost having “the incident” happen again at an away game and I ended up in the stall that was broken. I had to demand my mom take me home. The girls on the freshmen squad were pretty mean to me I missed a lot of school and practices due to multiple doctors visits and near hospital stays. They would constantly talk shit behind my back and to my face to the point of tears. I stuck with it, I wanted to quit but my mom wanted me to see it out. Then my stomach was so bad that the doctors recommended I stop as it was causing un-needed stress on my body. This all occurred less than a month into the season. You would think that after I quit, the girls would leave me alone but the whispers continued.
I didn’t want to just be someone who sat on their ass after school though so I found a flexible replacement. I became a football manager and those were the three best years of my life. There were four of us in total, Jessica, Kayla, Kossette and myself. I loved those girls and the time we spent together during practice, before and after games, and even in the off season. They were nice and actually concerned about my health. There was also no jumping or choreographed routines involved.
Well, I think I have embarrassed myself enough today. I will share some stories about being a football manager and the second time I was cheerleader at some point!