CHEERMaD is written by award-winning writer and 15-year veteran cheer mom, Lisa D. Welsh
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As a professional journalist I’ve interviewed former presidents and sitting governors, covered Olympians and professional athletes and shadowed Hollywood A-listers and local celebrities. I’ve also written about some of the most gruesome crimes the streets of the second largest city in New England can spit out. My credits include The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNN.com and MSNBC.
On the other side of life’s spectrum, I’m a proud Cheer Mom of Becky, a 21-year-old All Star coach and former high school and All Star cheerleader. Over the years I have watched the tremendous growth of both my daughter and the sport she loves so much. I’ve seen first hand how dedication, discipline and determination can help a self-conscious little girl blossom into an amazing young woman. And I’ve been amazed as competitions moved out of high school gyms and into World Wide Convention Centers.
Several years ago, I became a Cheer Mom x2 when my youngest child, Rachel, 12, started cheering again. She had been on a tiny tots team when she was three and had a false start in All Stars when she was seven (which was fine with me as I added up all the costs and multiplied them by two). But now I can’t keep her out of the gym. The 2013-14 season was the first that Rachel double- rostered; as a proud veteran of ShowStoppers, youth level 2, and a new member of Divas, junior 3.
Cheerleading is the great equalizer in our family, which also includes my son John, 16.
John attends one of the most challenging, prestigious private high schools in New England where he excels on stage in musical theater and is is a member of the Computer Club, Yearbook Committee and Improv Society. Please forgive the bragging but the girls tend to steal the limelight in our house.
It is rare for two sisters to be as close as Becky and Rachel, especially sisters ten years apart in age. Becky and Rachel had little in common. Now they speak the same language.
Their first year as Allstars together was in 2010 when Rachel was a member of an undefeated Mini-level 1, ProAthletics Fierce Kid and Becky, a struggling senior level 2 Headliner. It was a “life-moment” for the three of us when the girls shared the very special experience of receiving their CHEERSPORT jackets.
One received it in her first year as an All Star, the other in her last year as a “Super Senior.” Those are very two dynamics and I see how Rachel’s experience is much different from her sister’s: one is a natural born tumbler and gets the attention afforded that while the other worked real hard to get where she is and was a proud member of the back line formation.
Two seasons ago, Rachel’s youth level 2 team, the ProAthletics ShowStoppers won nine of its 10 National competitions (seven as Grand Champs) including CHEERSPORT during which the team scored second highest among more than 900 teams. She was a member of the USASF’s highest ranking youth team for two years in a row as its All Levels champion.
A highlight of the 2012-13 season was when ShowStoppers, competing as a youth level 3 team, won its division at NCA-Dallas. This time the sisters, now coach and athlete, received their first NCA jackets, together.
During the 2013-14 season, ShowStoppers had a nearly perfect season, with one second place finish, another NCA win and placing first at The Summit.
But cheering is more than rings, jackets and awards. Becky apprenticed at her cheer gym in her last year as a an athlete and is now a coach of two teams and fully respected staff member. She has transitioned from “one of the team” to the authority figure. She will continue to share her passion for cheering with young athletes but more importantly Becky is a great role model. Rachel has just started her life as an AllStar and I look forward to another decade of being a Cheer Mom.
After that, who knows? Cheer Granny…
Lisa D. Welsh is an alum of the United States All Star Federation’s Parent Action Committee.
CHEERMaD was developed to support the parents ~Moms and Dads~ of cheerleading. While most CHEERMaDs can be found in the All Star cheerleading arena, they can also be found in the pop warner, recreational, junior high and high school levels. Many of these are also crossover CHEERMaDs.
We aren’t on the mat with our kids but in life CHEERMaDs hold their flyers up high, backup their backs and provide a strong foundation for their bases. The best CHEERMaDs give unspoken permission to coaches to take the lead in a major part of their child’s life. They don’t complain or interfere (most of the time) don’t embarrass their children in the gym or at competitions (hardly) but support the sport with their dollars and time.
CHEERMaD.com is a place to read and laugh, nod in agreement, speak up or shout out with other Certifiably CHEERMaDs.