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CERTIFIABLY CHEERMAD. FOR CHEER Moms and Dads

CheerMAD is an acronym for Cheer Moms and Dads as well as a play on words for those of us who are crazy for our kids, who just happen to cheer.

 

Certifiably Insane? Not quite.

Certifiably Crazy? Almost.

Certifiably Mad about your cheerleader? 

 

 Definitely. 

 

In the past we've written about Certifiably CheerMADs who have

 

-Scheduled brain surgery around the cheer season.

 

-Put weddings on hold when their Allstar got a bid and was now going to Worlds. 

 

So many great CheerMADs and supporting and informing them is what Certifiably CheerMAD is all about.

 

In its first year, a contest was held in which CheerMAD gave away a two -week vacation (that included a cruise and week in Miami) to, what a prestigious panel of judges comprised of industry leaders, deemed the ultimate Certifiably CheerMAD:

A father stationed in Iraq who came home to surprise his daughter and attend her first Allstar comp.

 

CheerMAD also supports cheer moms and dads who see a niche in the cheer market that they think they can contribute to. The Certifiably CheerMAD Stamp of Approval award goes to businesses owned and operated by cheer parents

 

If you have a child in Allstars, you are Certifiably CheerMAD one way or another.

 

"I drive six hours for a two-and-a-half-minute routine" or "Buy frozen peas not for the nutritional value but because they make great ice packs." or the mantra ten months out of the year "I can't. She has cheer." 

 

We're all Certifiably CheerMAD!

Herkie Memorial was one big CHEER!

                                               Watch Remembering the Legend-Herkie 2015

 

The summer of 1979 stands out to me for only reason: NCA camp. 

 

Our coach promised us: the Westboro High School cheerleading squad (yes, that's what we were called) that we were going to spend one week at a  college to learn "from the very best."

 

It was not mandatory to attend although highly encouraged but for some reason that escapes me now, I was the only one of the 18 member squad who attended. 

 

It didn't matter, I couldn't wait to go.

 

 More than the new cheers and moves that I learned,  I remember watching the NCA Camp instructors on the very first night do their thing, in crisp red, white and blue uniforms, as All American as they come, both boys (my first time seeing, never mind watching "male cheerleaders") and girls were the "ideal of cheerleading." 

 

They were beautiful and tanned and toned and smiling and jumping, stunting, flipping and yelling in a kaleidoscope of cheer like I had never seen before. Most were only a few years older than me but with what was left of my post-adolescent, 16-year old insecurities, they were rock stars and I wanted to be just like them. 

 

At the end of the week when I received a ribbon for "best" of something, it became my medal of honor for the remainder of my high school years  (I think I even brought it to college where it was tacked to my wall for at least a semester). I don't remember now what the ribbon was for, but on that last day of camp, in the steaming hot gymnasium full of cheerleaders from high schools all over New England, to have my name called out and welcomed to the center of the room  I felt, more than anything, these NCA instructors had given me a confidence to be "me" somehow.  To not worry about what others thought, to give it my all, and forget about any left over teenage angst. My jump was my best jump, my yell was my best yell, maybe not the best in the gymnasium or on the football field, but the best for me.

 

 

There are thousands of similar stories out there about NCA camp. Week-long experiences that stay with a teenage girl or boy for their lifetime.

 

 Thirty years later, I had a different but even more of a major life experience as a mother when my daughter Rachel competed at NCA's All Star Nationals in Dallas.  As an undefeated Youth 2 Showstopper, her team came in second place by less than one point. But that was just the begining of the experience that continued for the next year as Rachel and her team used the second place trophy as motivation that "you can never practice, work or give enough" when you want to be the best. She and her team returned a second year and won those coveted NCA jackets. That moment was redemption that took a year to accomplish.

 

But the first and only time Rachel has cried at a competition happened the next year when her team returned a third time and she won a second jacket. She later told me she cried because at the beginning of the season she never expected her team to be good enough to go back to NCA, never mind win. It was the most overwhelming feeling of her 12-year old life and one I believe she will never forget.

 

 That's what one man did for just me and mine when he started NCA in 1948. Lawrence "Herkie" Herkimer (called "the father," "the grandfather," "the legend" of cheer depending on the author) took his jumps to heights that became the definition of cheerleading. Camps became clinics, became competitions, became an industry. 

 

His passing this week has been the focal point of the cheer world and yesterday's memorial was a testament to the motivation of the man as so many former NCA staff and instructors attended (Photo left).

 

In a video produced by "Herkie 1948" on the NCA website (available above) it's obvious that the feeling I had at my NCA Camp and that my daughter had at NCA Dallas was no accident but a montra instilled by Herkie.

 

"If your students perform the best, you are the best," you can hear him say in the voice over of 57 years worth of life-moments captured in stills.

 

"That’s what really counts.  It’s not how sharp you are or how many backflips you can do...If you can’t teach them something you are no good as an instructor," he says.

 

"You are not just performer you’ve got to go much further than that."

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