Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cheering for the Cheerleaders

Being a parent of a special needs child can have its difficult moments, but I think that, if anything, it makes the good moments all that much better.

In our area, pretty much all sports and related activities prior to middle school age are run by the local youth group, the Brandywine Youth Club. In addition to all the boys and girls sports it also includes cheerleading. A few of the high school age cheerleaders from the district, along with their parents, have put together a cheering squad made up of 10 or 12 special needs kids of various ages, in addition to the regular squad.

This weekend at our high school dozens of teams from all over the region, ranging in age from club squads of tiny little kids all the way through high school squads, gathered for a huge annual competition. The parking lots were overflowing, the gym was packed to the rafters, and out of 36 teams to compete today, our little gang started the event as the first squad on the floor. Parents and supporters of all the teams filled the stands, wearing team colors and waving flags and banners. Every available inch of floor space was crammed with cheerleading squads whose turns were not coming for a while yet.

It is sometimes frustrating and hard to comprehend the lack of understanding some people show towards these kind of kids, but today was not one of those days. Our girls did about a 3 minute routine, having fun and trying hard. Sometimes out of sync, sometimes lost and confused, sometimes bumping into each other, sometimes more concerned with surveying the crowd than remembering their routine. But trying hard. When they were done, a gym full of strangers, with other cheer squads chanting in support, for the most part stood and gave them a standing ovation.

It renewed my faith in humanity, and I don't think I could have been any more proud of Julia if I had been there to watch her receive a Nobel Prize.

1 comment:

  1. Very sweet post and pic. Wish we could have been there to see her.