CheerMAD was created to support those who support the sport of Allstar cheer: Cheer Moms and Dads.
While most CheerMADs can be found in the All Star cheerleading arena, they can also be found in the pop warner, recreational, junior high and high school levels. Many of these are also crossover CheerMADs.
We aren’t on the mat with our kids but in life CheerMADs hold our flyers up high, backup our backs and provide a strong foundation for our bases. The best CheerMADs give unspoken permission to coaches to take the lead in a major part of our kids' life. They don’t complain or interfere (most of the time) don’t embarrass their children in the gym or at competitions (hardly) but support the sport with their dollars and time. CheerMAD.com is a place to read and laugh, nod in agreement, speak up or shout out with other Certifiably CheerMADs.
LISA D. WELSH
Creator and President
As a professional journalist I’ve interviewed former presidents and sitting governors, covered Olympians and professional athletes and shadowed Hollywood A-listers and local celebrities. I’ve also written about some of the most gruesome crimes the streets of the second largest city in New England can spit out. I am Associated Press credentialed and my credits include The New York Times, The Boston Globe and CNN.com. Publications I've written for include Inside Cheerleading, The Atlantic, Today's Parent, Living, Senior Advocate and Jewish Chronicle magazines.
On the other side of life’s spectrum, I’m a proud cheer mom of 20 (!) seasons and served a term on the United States All Star Federation's Parent Action Committee. In journalism they say "write about what you know," and CheerMAD was born on June 19, 2011. My goal was to have 10,000 readers in the first year; we had that in six weeks. Most recently CheerMAD had more than 10 million social media impressions, with the majority of posts receiving more than 250,000.
I am honored to bring the cheer parents an authentic and independent news source; no more learning about the industry by eaves-dropping on your athletes in the carpool.
How I became CheerMAD
We dove into Allstars headfirst (not to mention blindfolded) after my oldest daughter Becky (now 28) attended a one-week summer cheerleading camp at
5 Star Academy--one of the first Allstar gyms in our home state of Massachusetts. The third day of camp, the soon-to-be third grader was asked to stay late and practice with one of the gym's teams.
It had always been obvious that Becky was a great athlete. She was better than average at basketball, softball and soccer. She also danced ballet, tap, jazz and Irish Step Dancing. But by the end of that week at cheer camp, when the kids showcased what they'd learned, I'd never seen my daughter's smile so bright. While she liked all those other activities, Becky fell in love with Allstar cheer.
We've never looked back.
Over the years I have watched the tremendous growth of both my daughter and the sport she loves so much. I’ve seen first hand how dedication, discipline and determination can help a self-conscious little girl blossom into an amazing young woman.
I've seen Allstars outgrow school gymnasiums and competitions held in the biggest convention centers and arenas in the world.
I became a Cheer Mom x2 when my youngest child, Rachel (now 18) started cheering as a Tiny Tot. She says she was motivated by two things: Number one was to spend time with Becky and I because we left her behind every weekend while we traveled to comps. Her number two goal was to get her back handspring.
Since then, both my daughters have gone to achieve great things on and off the mat but have had two distinctly different experiences. While Becky received her CHEERSPORT jacket the last year she competed, Rachel received it her first.
After earning her NCA jacket, as well as many other medals and jackets, and became a full-time staff member at our gym, Becky graduated college with a psychology degree. Since then, she and her boyfriend bought a house, loves her work in customer service and helps me manage the CheerMAD Facebook page.
A natural born tumbler and performer, Rachel has earned three NCA and two CHEERSPORT jackets, the International All Levels Nfinity Cup (pre-curser to The Summit) a Summit ring and many National and Grand Champs sweatshirts, backpacks and medals. She was a four-season member of USASF’s No. 1 ranked team ShowStoppers. After natural progressions through Tinies, Mini 1, Youth 2 and 3, Jr. 4, Jr. R5 and Sr. R5, this year she made the Worlds team; Sr. 5, International Open. For the second year, she's a Feature Model for Rebel Athletics but more importantly, she's a high school senior and is learning the important skills of time management and how to have balance in life.
But cheer is much more than rings and jackets. It has provided both of my daughters with great opportunities. They travel like pro's and navigate massive airports better than me. They deal with pressure with flair (also better than I do). They know what commitment is and what it means to never give up; even though they both had seasons during which that is precisely what they wanted to do. They are strong both physically and mentally and know what it means to put others first.
And I've learned, being CheerMAD is so much more than cheer.
It's a way of life.
Becky and me when I was "Becky's Mom," Allstars featured wiglets and comps were held in high school gymnasiums.
Tiny Tot Rachel, age 3
My favorite memory of all: 2011-Becky received her CHEERSPORT jacket the last year she competed, Rachel received it her first. Being together for the first NCA jacket-Becky as a coach and Rachel as an athlete has to be the second best memory.
CheerMAD daughters, above and right:
Becky and Rachel 2011-
Rachel's first year as an Allstar, Becky's last.
Ten years apart in age, Allstars is the great equalizer in our family.
Despite being ten years apart, Becky and Rachel share the same language. Cheer is the big equalizer in our family.
One more thought.
At $15,000 a year, the average cost of a cheer season that includes traveling at the highest level of competition, my cash flow certainly wouldn't have been so tight for the last 20 years. I've heard parents say "That's the cost of a mansion, global vacations or college tuition.
My mantra is "Pay now or pay later. The time spent together is priceless and the cost of keeping them out of trouble is well worth it.
Rachel with her Summit Ring.
Her teams have received Summit bids ever since its inaugural year.
In addition to earning rings, her teams would have a couple of second and third placements and one big blowout.
Allstars has given my daughters great opportunities. Including, for the second year, Rachel is a Feature Model for Rebel Athletics.
The once shy girl has learned how to present herself in public as well as be an advocate for bullying prevention.