Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gimme a [letter of your choice]!

G's school had tryouts for the middle-school cheer squad last week. G wanted nothing to do with them because she prides herself on being a sort of anti-cheerleader--if you remember your early adolescent stereotypes, G is the Artsy/Goth Girl, although she hasn't yet embraced the music that goes along with it--and also because, as she accurately observed, "I can't do a split to save my life." The newly anointed cheerleaders appear to include the usual complement of popular girls, with one exception: G's friend "Penny," whom I think made the cut due to sheer dance/gymnastic ability.

This fascinates me for a couple of reasons:

1. How do the cheer coaches know, six weeks into the school year with a brand-new crop of seventh graders, who is popular and who isn't? Does it show somehow, or do the popular girls just tend also to be the bouncy, outgoing type who have taken lots of dance lessons?

2. If you become a cheerleader because you have actual skillz, does this automatically make you popular too? Can you be a cheerleader and be socially shunned by the other cheerleaders? Penny is a cute, sweet little girl, but kind of like an overeager puppy who does whatever she thinks will please whomever she's with at the time, and I can imagine the cheerleading crowd dismissing her as a wannabe.

To show her total rejection of cheering and all that goes along with it, G instead used last week's club rush to join the newspaper, which is much more her sort of thing. The meetings happen during zero period, which means she'll have to be there by 6:45 a.m., but she's pretty motivated and I think she'll do fine. She's been like a different kid this year in terms of the morning routine: where last year I had to drag her out of bed and she was late a shocking number of times, this year she gets up on her own when her alarm goes off, gets dressed without being told, finds her own breakfast (not the healthful bowl of whole grains and fresh fruits I'd like her to eat, but at least she does it herself) and is usually downstairs waiting at the door to the garage while I'm still brushing my teeth. I don't know why this happened, but I'm glad it has. We had quite a few no-holds-barred cage matches over getting ready last year, and I wasn't up for another 10 months of that.


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