Thursday, March 3, 2011
High School Clubs
In junior high school, I was in the pep club in seventh grade. I also joined speech club that year but didn't really participate very much. From eighth grade through senior year, except for tenth grade, I was involved with cheerleading. I also participated in other extra-curricular clubs, like National Junior Honor Society and National Junior Beta Club in junior high school, but again, my participation was limited.
Cheerleading was pretty fun. I originally wasn't even going to try out. I was a gymnast but had quit taking private gymnastics in the sixth grade. One Thursday afternoon during football season, in the seventh grade, I was out in my front yard doing some tumbling passes. A tenth grade cheerleader lived across the street from me and she and some of the other girls on her squad were painting signs for upcoming football games on her driveway. They saw me tumbling and called me over. The girl was a friend of my older brother's and I knew her. All the girls were quite impressed with my tumbling skills and asked if I was going to try out for cheerleading at the junior high school. The girl offered to help me with the tryouts if I decided to try out, so I took her up on her offer. I made eighth grade cheerleader and was one of twenty girls on the squad.
Although I enjoyed cheerleading, I never really felt part of it. The cheerleaders were the popular girls and I never was really one of them. I think I only made the squad every year because of how advanced my tumbling skills were. I could do a series of back handsprings from one end of the football field to the other, about twenty in a row. I was also skilled in the stunts, able to pull difficult stunts like scorpions and pencils because of my balance, flexibility, and experience in gymnastics.
At the end of ninth grade, we were supposed to be moving, so I didn't try out for the tenth grade year. I participated in school gymnastics instead until we moved. The new school had no gymnastics team, so at the end of that year, I tried out for cheerleading again and made it. The cheerleading coach was an elitist and had already hand-picked her squad for my senior year when everyone was a sophomore. I was the new girl and because I had so much cheerleading and gymnastics experience, I got high marks from the judges and made the squad, but because I wasn't on the lady's original list, she never really did like me and always put me in the back and never really let me fully participate. By my senior year, cheerleading was something I did because I liked the gymnastics part of it, but I really wasn't part of the group. In fact, I don't really have any friends that I've kept up with from cheerleading my senior year. I have more friends from cheerleading in eighth grade that I've kept up with than people I cheered with in high school.
I enjoyed cheerleading because I was able to use my gymnastics training in it. I am glad I participated. Cheering at football and basketball games was really fun and exciting and every year when these sporting events roll around, I miss the excitement of cheering in front of the crowd. But cheerleading did not define who I was, it was just something I did for fun.