Sometimes life interferes with cheerleading.
OK -many, many times life interferes with cheerleading.
Since I started CheerMAD ten years ago, there have been conflicts between my two daughters' cheer requirements and my responsibilities to my son, other family members, career and life in general.
A couple of incidents that immediately come to mind:
-- Driving overnight, making a 12-hour roundtrip retrieval so Rachel could enjoy a much needed, extra-special vacation with her best friend and make it back to the gym in time for choreography.
--Another multi-hour roundtrip retrieval so Rachel could attend her annual family vacation with her father and make it back to the gym in time for bootcamp.
--Coordinating a major family conflict when Rachel's first Summit competition was held the same weekend as my son's Jr. Prom AND Confirmation. HUGE events in both children's lives. We agreed I'd take Rachel to Summit and stay for Day 1, missing my son's first prom, then fly back to Massachusetts overnight to make his Confirmation and missing Rachel's first Summit victory. My mom and step-dad took charge of the prom and my sister-in-law, who lives in Central Florida, with adult-aged other daughter managed Summit, while I missed two huge achievements in my children's lives.
My heart still breaks over that one.
Then there is the daily rollercoaster ride of CheerMADs: Multiple practices in multiple activities for multiple offspring; Dinners on-the-run and left in crock-pots; Drop-offs and pick-ups; Grocery shopping wedged in between practice sessions.
You know what I mean.
I'm not perfect and didn't handle everything gracefully. GPS got me lost on the way to a new practice location. Practice-wear didn't make it into the washing machine on time got a few spritzes of air-freshner. Miscalculating time or running behind; traffic and the Boogey-Man made us late for the car-pool.
Three children, a full-time job and an uninvolved husband/ex-husband are no defense: I know many CheerMADs who flawlessly carry out their daily routines.
But I need sleep.
I've written in this space about CheerMADS who scheduled brain surgery around Worlds. Wedding ceremonies around the season. Births (!) around cheer.
SIDE NOTE: Unfortunately when I moved this website from Wordpress to Wix several years ago, I lost some of the best blog posts I've ever written. Most about extraordinary sacrifices made by extraordinary parents.
It's a major commitment to be the parent of a competitive cheerleader. And when serious, life-altering crisis arrive (because they do), this intrinsicly balanced life of cards can come a tumblin' down.
That's what happened this season.
If you've ever created something from nothing like I did with CheerMAD then you know the feeling of "giving birth" to something other than a child. Nurturing it, encouraging it, growing it from scratch, CheerMAD has become another chid of sorts that I protect with my life. (I'll share some very exciting news of its recent achievements and future plans very soon).
While both daughters have aged-out of competitive cheer, this "fourth child" continues to be very involved. While I no longer post a new blog every 36-hours like I did in its early years, posting on soccial media several times a day have helped it thrive.
Each year its website and social media "numbers" have grown, and in fact this season are higher than ever while other parts of life have been particularly challenging.
Last summer my younger brother got hit by a car while riding his bicycle without a helmet. A brain bleed, surgery and two titanium plates in his head have left him physically and neurologically compromised. When his live-in girlfriend of ten years passed away less than a month after my brother's accident, he was alone and in need of someone to help him schedule, coordinate, drive, attend and follow-up his many tests, labs and doctors' appointments as well as daily tasks. That someone is me.
I kept all the balls in the air until we were hit with another major medical issue.
This spring my father had a life-threatening health crisis, necessitating major surgery two weeks ago and a need for someone to help with all the scheduling, coordinating, driving, attending and follow-ups to his many tests, labs and doctors' appointments as well as daily tasks. That also is me.
Life doesn't stop for Nationals season and it certainly doesn't care about Worlds (Allstar or USASF sponsored), Summit, D2 or all the other end-of-season championships.
Which is why I feel so badly that I didn't bring you the kind of coverage you deserve these last few weeks.
Of course, other cheer-related sites on social media, especially CheerTheory, are always a help but today I share events I wanted but wasn't able to write about through another excellent site called Cheer Buzz. I encourage you to follow it.
Cheer Buzz. The link to its full newsletter is at the end of the information I'm referring to and I encourage you to follow it.
Varsity apologizes for misjudging at The Summit
D2 Summit recap
Varsity apologizes for misjudging at The Summit
After The Summit was over, it turned out that mistakes had been made in the International Open Coed level 4 division.
The judges apparently missed (twice) what should have been deductions in one of the routines in the division.
Now, missed deductions do unfortunately happen occasionally, but this situation has caused more conflict.
Why? Because the team with missed deductions (Cheer Extreme - Open 4 Coed) won the division. Had the deductions been noticed, another team (Palm Beach Lightning - Moonstones) would have won.
You can watch Varsity's apology to the team here (+ why they won't change the final results) & read the Palm Beach Lightning gym's statement here.
D2 Summit Recap
On a more positive note, here are some D2 Summit moments!
A military dad surprised his daughter who competed at the event, after not having seen each other for 2 years. If you need to either smile or cry a little today, you can watch the video here.
Dynasty from CheerXcel advanced from the Wild Card round (for teams with wild card bids, not at-large or paid bids) to Finals - and then won their division (Junior Level 1 - A, tied with Reign Elite Majesty)! Don't underestimate teams based on the bid type they have 🥳
two teams shared the highest score of the competition - WIDC Hailstorm (medium junior level 2) & Extreme All Stars X5 (small senior coed level 5) both with a score of 98.75.
The fire alarm went off again, as it did at Worlds. Coincidence? Prank? Upset cheer mom? Who knows...