by Anon Cheer Dad
I get asked why I spend so much on cheerleading for my two young daughters. Truth is, while I would like it to be less expensive when it comes to competitions, I’d happily pay more for the tuition because I’m not paying for really paying for cheerleading.
Not paying for cheerleading? Then what am I paying for?
I pay for my girls to be teammates and value strong female friendships in a society which often pits girls against each other. I want them to learn how to work with their teams towards a shared goal, how to be accountable and hold their friends accountable for their actions both on and off the mat.
I pay for my girls to be passionate about something and understand that passion is not enough—hard work matters too. Alongside passion comes discipline, focus, and determination. It also comes with failure, disappointment, and perseverance—lessons that are hard to learn but the blow is softened when you’re learning with your friends.
I pay for my girls to be proud of their achievements and respect themselves, their coaches—and at competitions, the judges. Do things always work out in their favor in this objective sport? No! Not nearly as often as I think it should, but I am biased, after all. If they are upset with their practice, skills progression or routine placement, they are learning to ask their coaches for their help, opinions, and advice. Building relationships with authority figures is so important, whether it’s a coach, teacher or, in the future, boss. Navigating and negotiating with those in authority is a hard skill to do well.
I pay for my girls to learn every day that champions aren’t created from hope, they’re built from grind. Champions are built from going to practice when you’ve had a hard day at school, when you’re frustrated at plateaued skills, when you’re not winning but don’t stop trying. I want them to know that champions don’t always get the ring, but they get the peace in their heart they did everything they could to get there.
So no, I don’t pay for cheerleading; I pay for life-skills my wife and I cannot teach them alone. It takes a village to raise a child, and these young men and women who task themselves with coaching and loving my stinky, sweaty girls through each season are doing more than I could ever ask.