Over the past year in my newer role as a cheer mom, I have noticed the increasingly growing obsession with cheerlebrities and the cheer spotlight. Looking back, I remember being a kid and having a favorite athlete or taping posters of various pop stars to my wall. I even wrote one of my favorite gymnasts for an autographed photo and I saw her in person at a competition, from far away in the stands. Pretty typical for a child athlete. Now with social media life has become an open book of sorts, and what once use to be admiring someone from a safe distance, has now turned into a scary up close and very personal obsession. Between facebook, instagram, twitter, and other apps you can virtually follow any cheerlebrity’s every move, climb into their bedroom window, walk into their unlocked back door, all metaphorically speaking of course. Cheerleaders everywhere are basing what shoes they buy, how big their bow is, and what they are going to eat for dinner on what their ‘idol’ is tweeting/posting out at the moment. Their chosen cheerlebrities goals, likes, and interests are now their goals, likes, and interests. What happened to individuality? What happen to their own personal goals? What happened to a healthy admiration of role models?

This brings me to my daughter, Cheyenne, and how she is so oddly unaffected by the cheer craze going on around her. She doesn’t care about the latest fad, what brand her cheer shoes are, or who is going to World’s this year. I had very little influence in choosing the cheer team she tried out for. She tried several programs and chose the best fit for her. It’s not a famous gym, nor a flashy one either, with dated uniforms, in-house mixed music, and staff choreographed routines. She feels at home there and likes the other kids and coaches. She has small goals and big goals both, all fueled by self-motivation and desire, not because she wants to be the next so-and-so.

cheycaths cheydoghs

Cheyenne spends a lot of hours giving back to the community and has a compassionate heart. When asked to cheer on the Special Needs team (in addition to her regular Youth team) because they were short enough members, she stepped up to the plate without hesitation. Even though we may struggle at times to put food on our own table, we spend every holiday season donating and serving food at Miracle Meal- a community Christmas dinner for the homeless and poverty stricken in our area. She is gracious for the opportunity to give back to others and takes this serving task very seriously. cheyabbyspledgeOur city has a widespread bullying problem and to help combat this she took a wonderful program designed by another cheerleader called Abby’s Pledge all over the city educating others on bullying awareness and available resources. She spends all summer cleaning headstones of family members and random strangers. Her biggest interest is in animals and she aspires to open her own animal store someday where Mini Lop bunnies can be purchased. She spends many hours working with animals at our local animal rescue and has even rehabilitated animals who had issues with children into being comfortable around children again and able to be adopted to families with children. Her birthday each year is spent working hard at the annual ride-a-thon fundraiser at the equestrian therapy program, where she attends therapy once per week for her medical conditions.  She does all of these things because she loves to help others and feels compelled to share kindness everywhere she goes. She doesn’t do it to get ‘noticed’, or because there is a PR agent pushing her to do so, or a lavish trip and appearance involved, or a big endorsement check tied to it at the end of the day. Her only ‘payment’ is the smiles of others, some wet sloppy doggie kisses, and maybe a few horsey nibbles at her shoulder.

So who does Cheyenne look up to? I asked her that exact question. Her answer: She looks up to one of her teammates, Makayla, who is always looking out for everyone on her team and works very hard. She looks up to her coaches because not only do they coach her, but they also stay active cheering on their own team. Her instructors at equestrian therapy because they take good care of the horses all day and they are patient and kind to everyone. The volunteers at the humane society because they work hard to help save the animals and get them homes of their own.

cheyept1All of these people are regular, every day people, just like she is. While they may not be famous, a big name in the cheer world, or gracing this month’s issue of a high profile magazine; They are out there doing good in the world and their hearts shine brighter than any spotlight.

Take time to remember the important aspects of cheerleading and life in general. It isn’t about promoting a product, getting glammed up for a cheer magazine photo-shoot, or signing autographs at World’s. It’s about the kids who are out there in their community representing themselves, their teams and gyms, and their peers in a positive light without the camera’s following their every move.

It’s about making a difference when no one else is watching.

LeslieBlogCheerleadersanimal shelter,anti-bullying,cheerleading,giving back
Over the past year in my newer role as a cheer mom, I have noticed the increasingly growing obsession with cheerlebrities and the cheer spotlight. Looking back, I remember being a kid and having a favorite athlete or taping posters of various pop stars to my wall. I even...