Dottee Morton, one of our program coordinators, was in charge of the program, and she added a new twist to the program. This year we allowed 5- and 6-year-old girls to cheer with the department. Normally, the age begins at 7, and this has been the gold standard for our department since the 1970s.
We decided we would have 5- and 6-year-olds cheer for the 7-8 football teams, 7- and 8-year-olds cheer for the 9-10 football teams, and 9- and 10-year-old girls cheer with the 11 and 12 girls. That being said, we had a ton of girls in each age group which I think made it more fun for the girls and coaches participating.
Of course, my youngest daughter Bailey was fired up when my wife told her she would be able to cheer this year, and not have to wait until she was 7. In Bailey’s defense she always has to just go along and hang out when we are at Maddie Grace or Hue’s extracurricular activities. She wants to be the star, and in her world she deserves to be the star.
Kym Hilbert, who is a middle school teacher, was her coach this year, and she deserved an award for being the most patient cheerleading coach ever. These little 5- and 6-year-old girls were all over the place, and watching the first few practices made me think a root canal might be a better option, and would be less painful then watching my child trying to figure out the routines. As the weeks progressed she got better, but my head was throbbing each night, because she would do the routines over and over until I seriously considered putting a muzzle on her. Mandy informed me that DFCS might not look favorably on me if I pushed for that option.
As the season progressed the team looked sharper, and it was fun to see her having such a great time. By the end of the season my attention deficit disorder kicked in, and I began questioning my wife how many more games we had before the season was over. Once you see one cheerleading game, trust me, you have seen them all.
We lost in the first round of the Kiwanis Bowl, and I did not lose much sleep over the loss, but what made me smile was when Bailey got in the car after receiving her medal from the Kiwanis Club for being a cheerleader, and she asked me if she could sleep with her medal on. She was so proud of herself, and my heart just melted for her. I quickly asked her if she wanted to cheer next year and she said, “of course daddy!” Sometimes you forget how important these things are for little kids, and my little one taught her daddy a valuable lesson.
I’ll have my game face on, and be jacked up and ready for another fall football come next year cause I know these moments pass by quickly. See you at the fields!
Maierhofer is director of the Carrollton Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department.