F-M Pop Warner Cheer: Onward and upward

This weekend was packed with activities for my family - a birthday party, another family party, a football game and, last but not least, Cheerfest 2010, held Sunday at the OnCenter. Fall is like that - too many events crammed into a few short weeks - and sometimes it can be overwhelming.

So it was with a sense of weathering the storm that I entered the packed stands at Syracuse's War Memorial, joining the queue of cheer family and friends. My husband and I took our seats, prepared for a long afternoon of spirit-filled performances by girls in brightly colored uniforms who are perfectly matched, from their sleekly-coifed hair topped by large bows to the tips of their bright white cheer sneakers.

My daughter Cassidy, at 8, is actually a cheer veteran in her fourth year with Fayetteville-Manlius Pop Warner. It is, however, the first year that she is old enough to be part of a competing team. The thought of Cassidy and her teammates up there, in front of a large crowd as they faced off against the other teams in their division, had me on pins and needles. I (and the other parents, I'm sure) wanted so badly for them to do well. The girls and their amazing coaches and junior advisors had been working tirelessly since late summer for this moment - their time to shine.

It turned out that Cassidy's team would be first to perform - a good thing on the one hand, because they could get it over with and relax while they watch the other teams compete, but bad on the other, because there is always the fear that the judges might be conservative with their scoring at the start.

The announcer introduced the team and the girls took their positions on the floor. As they waited for the start; you could feel the tension in the air. Their cheer and dance routines were nearly flawless, and they were so excited when they got back to their seats. Now, we only had to wait until the end - four hours later - to see how we did.

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