Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Honey Bear

When I was in junior high, in 1986 to be exact, I tried out for cheerleading.  Long story short, I didn't make it.  Long story long, here it is:

The two coaches held a meeting after school for girls who were interested in trying out for cheerleading.  Pretty much every girl went to that meeting.  They taught us two simple cheers and told us that we would have to perform both, do a cartwheel and do the splits at the try-outs Friday at 5:00.  Oh, and an actual Honey Bear from the Chicago Bears would be there to help with the selection.

The coaches wanted 15 girls on the team and only 18 girls actually went to the try-outs.  The coaches should have just let us all go through the try-out process and then selected us all.  I mean, this was junior high.  But that Honey Bear showed up and she was cut throat serious.  At the end of try-outs she announced that everyone was on the team except for June, Gina, and Stephanie.  Gina, and I'm not picking on her, really couldn't do a split.  She looked like she attempted the yoga warrior pose.  And I'm pretty sure she flat out refused to do a cartwheel.  Stephanie certainly could do the splits, better than anyone on the team, but she was a bit chunky.  Again, I'm not trying to be mean.  I am explaining the Honey Bear's logic of weeding out three, only three, girls.  I was able to do a cartwheel and good enough splits.  For me, it was the hair.  I think.  In that time, girls either had long permed hair or short layered hair styled simultaneously with a curling iron and a can of Aqua Net.  Since try-outs were at 5:00 instead of right after school (Why was that anyway?  Oh yeah, because of that Honey Bear's schedule no doubt) I went home after school and found myself stranded at 4:30.  I had to walk to school in the rain.  By the time I arrived for try-outs my hair was wet and as flat as could be.  Oh, and my eyeliner had completely washed away.  I forgot to mention eyeliner.  It was 1986 - 'nuff said.  I looked like a boy both with my boyish short haircut and lanky non-figure.  I could have totally landed that role in Ferris Beuller's Day Off - you know where the principal goes to the arcade and mistakes, from behind, a girl for Ferris and she spits Coke at him through her straw?  Anyway.  Honey Bear rejected me as a cheer leader.  To redeem my fellow educators, the coaches tried to make ammends with Stephanie, Gina and me the next day.  They were the P.E. teachers and they called the three of us into their office and said we could be on the team.  Stephanie and Gina accepted.  I declined.  The damage had been done and I guess at the ripe young age of 13, I had principles.

Well, that was 25 years ago.  This week, Tulip discovered that she could swim underwater.  It started at the beach Sunday, when she held her breath and went under water in the lake.  She just figured this thing out on her own, splashing in our pool, getting braver and braver.  This is how I learned to swim.  She goes under water without holding her nose.  She goes under water and keeps her eyes open.  She goes under water and spins around and around in circles and does some wacky thing with her arms and legs and calls it swimming.  It IS swimming!  My girl is a swimmer!  Do you know what that makes me?  A cheerleader!

"Mama, do you want to see me go under water?"
"Mama, do you want to see me swim under water?"
"Mama, do you want to see me put my head under water?"
"Mama, do you want to see me put my whole head under water?"
"Mama, do you want to see me put my whole entire head under water?"
"Mama, did you see that?  I went under water!"
"Mama, did you see that?  I swam under water!"
"Mama, did you see that?  I put my head under the water!"  You get the idea.

And what do I say.  Here is a sample of my new role as mother/cheerleader:
"Mama, do you want to see me go under water?"
"Yes."  She does.  "Awesome!"

"Mama, do you want to see me swim under the noodle?"
"Yes."  She does.  "Woo hoo!"

"Mama, did you see that?!  Did you see that?!"
"Tulip is great.  She is so great.  Tulip is great - she swims under water.  Under the water.  Un-under water.  Tulip is great.  Go Tulip!"

Ha, take that Honey Bear.  Cheering for my daughter's backyard victory is so much more rewarding than the Hester Jr. High Wildcats' boys' basketball team.  I knew I developed those principles early for a reason.

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