I have to admit…I watch Dance Moms. It is a guilty pleasure. I love the drama and the fighting and the crying. It’s like a big weepy vagina farm because that’s just how girls roll, particularly when they are surrounded by other girls. I love that it’s in the ‘burgh. That’s my blood hood. I didn’t grow up there for too long, but I was born there. When I watch, I see all those poor girls and put-upon moms being driven to the precipice of an audible snapping of the soul. Is there someone who is really that strict and filled with unmitigated rage? Who does that? Who treats their customers that way? Who puts winning above the children?
A competitive dance coach, that’s who. Regardless of what the lack-of-reality show would have us believe, those moms have their kids dance at her studio because she is a winner. She abhors losing. If those kids lose, she fails, and that means her reputation takes a ding. The solution: no losing. The result: title after title after title.
Let me bring this all back around to my world since this is my blog. My son is a cheer captain (and an overachiever), as I have before stated, and currently his team is practicing for the state championship competition that will happen in just a few short weeks. They are the defending champions. They tied for first at the state qualifier. They should be able to just mop the floor at the competition and take home another championship. Easy as pie, right?
The problem we face is that, while the team probably really does want to win, there are a few that have been led to believe they have a sense of entitlement that puts them above reproach. I hear stories of girls on the squad calling teachers names that would make a sailor blush (allegedly, of course) with little repercussion. I hear stories of girls screaming at adults and throwing things (again, allegedly, of course). I hear of a general ennui among the “returners” who already have a ring from last year and don’t feel like working for another ring. I suspect that is also going to be the attitude that sabotages the whole thing – “I have a ring. If you don’t have a ring, then I’m better than you. If you get a ring, that will level the playing field and take away the thing that makes me better. I better keep you from getting a ring, or at least make you think that because I know how badly you want what I have, and I have such low self esteem that the entirety of my self-worth is contained in this now outdated ring.”
*Insert Gollam joke here, please*
Vaginas. For as compact as they are, you wouldn’t think we’d be tripping all over them and letting them get in our way like that.
There are also rumblings that get back to me about how much they loved the coach before this one. They only won because of the last coach and if they win again it will be like slapping that other coach in the face.
Reality check: That coach quit. She quit and left and you had no hope of even going to state until the current coach stepped up and took you. Make no mistake. That last coach left you high and dry. When you were faced with not having a competition, you were so relieved just to have the chance to go that you worked and worked and worked to make it count. Do you think that last coach even thought about any of you the minute she walked out? That would be a “NO.”
I even heard one particularly porcine “cheer mom” say that the team isn’t a championship team, only the returning girls are champions. There is no “I” in “T-E-A-M,” but you can scramble it up and spell “MEAT,” which is probably more something you can wrap your brain and your mouth around, you know…hahaha…see what I did there? Sorry, I digress, now go look up “porcine.” *giggle*
Anyway, here is the point I’m trying to make: you are varsity cheerleaders. You are ALL on a CHAMPIONSHIP team…from LAST YEAR. You are only as good as your last practice, and for as much as you all huff and stomp and whine and bitch and complain, there is another team in this state that is salivating for that state title and is working its collective ass off TO BEAT YOU. IF you continue with the current subterfuge and bullshit, YOU WILL BE BEATEN. Life is harsh and rough and you have been falsely led to believe that anyone cares if losing or hard work hurts your feelings. You show up, you hit the mat, and you knock that shit OUT OF THE BALLPARK. Be proud. Don’t whine. They don’t give rings to whiners, and if you let the title go over some petty bullshit, nobody is even going to remember that you ever won and you clearly won’t have deserved a second championship because you didn’t appreciate the one you had. The onus is on the “returners.” What have you done THIS YEAR? What have you done to make the judges take notice THIS YEAR? You all need to want this not because it’s fun or it’s cool, but because the idea of losing fills you with a level of contempt so much so that you say, “NO. LOSING IS UNACCEPTABLE. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN ON MY WATCH.”
Do you want to do something that is okay, or do you want to do something remarkable? Wouldn’t two rings be nice? I’m pretty sure the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t stop after one full hand of rings and say, “You know, five is enough, let’s just stop here.”
In closing, I just want to say this – you need to be grateful, you need to say “thank you,” and you need to keep your heads on straight, your eyes on the prize, and your moves precise. There is do or do not. There is no try.
If you don’t win, you LOSE.