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Christmas Countdown 2021 Day 17 <3

I never was a cheerleader. I wouldn’t even so much as spell V-I-C-T-O-R-Y from the stands or raise my arms up and do “spirit fingers” for a free throw. 

I couldn’t do the splits to save my life, nor did I have the desire to attempt such a position. 

To be honest, and I am so sorry because I now have friends who were one; I tended to be in the group that sort of laughed about cheers and pondered if the game would be as successful without their gymnastics and chants. 

I am also old enough and self-reflective enough to admit that maybe I was just jealous of them. They always seemed cute and perky and popular…so basically not me…

Then one day, as grown up woman, seated in the bleachers of our small Christian School’s basketball game; I watched our son run up and down the floor shooting and guarding and having a fine time. 

Around me, I heard the conversations that our cheerleading coach, who was as sweet as could be and a favorite teacher of ours, was going to have to step down from the task due to a pregnancy that needed more rest and less stress. 

Perusing the group of teenage girls, I thanked the good Lord for giving us a boy on #3 as female drama has never been my preference. I saw them all gathered and talking and shaking their pony tails and very briefly the thought flickered through my mind that someone would need to step up and do the job. 

And in a flash I had that sinking feeling I get when I know God is asking me to do something that I am not inclined to do in my natural self. 

I sat there amongst the parents, trying to push away the horror that was growing inside of me. In the frank way in which I pray and converse with my Abba Father, I finally basically told Him that if this really was something He was going to have me do He would have to have someone directly ask me to step up to the plate. 

A few days later I heard one of the moms was taking over and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I even laughed at the notion that had run through my head and chalked it up to a false alarm. 

Fast forward to the beginning of the next school year and as I packing up my materials for the Life Skills class I taught at this school two days a week, the principal asked if I could stop in her office. 

Mary Dickey was to me much like the Mother Superior in the Sound of Music. Except she wasn’t a nun and she was married and a mom, but otherwise…all the wisdom and kindness and firmness of the woman who sent Julie Andrews out into the world to serve as a governess over the errant Von Trapp children. 

She looked across the desk at me and said she was asking me to be the cheerleading coach for the following school year. It was John’s senior year and she acknowledged that was important but they needed someone who would maintain discipline for the girls and lead them with a firm hand. 

As always in a Christian school, I was told to pray about it. 

I just sat there and said, I don’t have to. I told her God had kind of given me a head’s up the year before and was calling in my marker. 

So began my foray into being a cheerleading coach. 

Since I had no experience, I was given a young teacher as an assistant. She was born to cheer and so she handled the choreography of motions, jumps and other shenanigans that cheerleaders manage to execute whilst spelling various words to urge the team on to a win. 

I handled the paper work, the discipline, the spiritual growth aspect for the girls. We had both JV and Varsity and believe me…this little summary I have given you in no way even barely covers the experiences, tears, frustrations, and yes…drama that the year involved. 

But these girls showed up for that same visitation I mentioned a few days ago when my mom passed…because yes…she passed during the first part of December that year. 

We managed to enter a competition for the various cheerleading teams at the State basketball tournament for Christian schools and our girls won first place. 

It was a Disney moment. 

On one of our van trips to a game, the sweet girl who always rode shot gun and is now one of my dear friends asked if she could give the devotion as we rode. 

I made them listen to a devotion and discuss it while we rode to games and I had one prepared, but let her lead. She talked about Esther and things I had never thought of and it was one of the most precious teachings I have ever heard. 

It turned out to be one of the hardest and best jobs I ever had.

The ornament for today was a gift that December from one of my best friends. Lisa was a cheerleader…I have seen pictures and she was adorable. 

We had had honest conversations about our varying views on the sport of cheer over the years, and so it was with great glee that she watched me launch into this endeavor. 

I can see her chuckling now as I open my gift that year and I am sure she looks for it when she scans the tree…rah…rah…rah 


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