November 8, 2009

Cheer Clinic

Align Center
Hannah Jane went to the USU cheer clinic yesterday and danced at the half time show of the men's basketball game. Our friend, Amber, got her hooked on cheer leading a couple of years ago when she invited Hannah Jane to the clinic at OSU. She lowered the age for participants so that her daughter and nieces could attend, and she invited Hannah Jane along as well. Hannah Jane was enamored with all the pretty girls and all the screaming. I remember, after her first time at cheer practice, she said, "This is way better than ballet! You get to be loud!" So it began!

Yesterday, we got us super early and dropped her off at the clinic. She looked a little shy to start. Most of the girls had come in groups with friends, and hardly noticed her standing there wanting to be invited into the fold. Finally, I snuck back in and pointed out another girl who was sticking close to her father and looked about Hannah Jane's age. She went over and they didn't leave each other's sides the rest of the day.

There was a group of three girls who looked to be about six or so who were actually lifting up one girl who would strike a pose before they tossed her up and caught her just like the big cheer leaders do. They had obviously had some serious training. I have a feeling that it will only be another year or two before Hannah Jane realizes that the other girls aren't there just for fun, but for their itty bitty cheer careers and she'll start feeling bad about not being trained and will quit. But, for now, she feels like a star and loves it!

When we picked her up, her whole group (ages 5-7) was chanting, "We are a hairy monster sandwich!" over and over again. Strange, but cute! It was an adorable mass of giggling girls, singing, hugging, and hopping around.

We went home for a nap, took everyone out for dinner at McDonalds, and headed back for the game. Hunter and Joe waited at the door for our friend Karen to bring the extra ticket, and I took Hannah Jane and Haven in. Soon I got a call from Joe. Hunter had an accident and they weren't going to be able to come in. He'd call me back when he knew what they were going to do. Hannah Jane went to sit with the cheer leaders and Haven and I took our seats in the next section. About 15 minutes into the game, Joe and Hunter showed up in all new clothes. Rather than miss her show, they had gone to Wal-Mart and bought dry clothes from the clearance racks.

I watched the college cheer leaders as they stood around the little girls waiting for the show. They all looked so unhappy. Sure, when they cheered they gave big smiles, but when they were just hanging out, they we fixing their hair, adjusting their tops, and looking generally unpleasant. I recall thinking the OSU cheerleaders were all so cheerful and sweet. I don't know what the difference is, but there was definite gloom around these girls. I sure hope letting Hannah Jane participate in these clinics doesn't give her the impression that pretty cheer leaders aren't supposed to look happy. She did say earlier in the day, "I am biting my lip on the inside so that I don't smile so much." I told her that she should let that smile out because her cheerfulness would be contagious and make people happy. She did.

Finally, it was half time. All of the older groups went first. Two of our friends had daughters in the older group. They did so great! Then came Hannah Jane's group. She did such a good job. She actually did all of the moves this time (a big improvement over her OSU debut)! So so adorable!

She's the one with the big pink hair poofs behind the real cheer leader!

When her show was over I just happened to look back and see our friend Meg, who had been a cheerleader in high school and who Hannah Jane adores, sitting a few rows back. I can't believe she actually came out. She must have been planning to come to the game anyway, but who knows? I grabbed Hannah Jane on her way back to her seat and told her Meg was there. She jumped up and down and giggled, but when we got to Meg's seat, she was struck with shyness. She couldn't believe that her favorite real cheerleader had come to see her dance! That was such a big deal to her!

The Aggies played a great game, the mini cheer leaders cheered a great cheer, and the boys made it our of the game (2 hours past bedtime) with no fits or crying! The night was a success!

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