Anyone who has ever gone through recruitment has at least heard the conversation “Oh my God! You were a cheerleader too?!” *Cue instant bonding* Well, my high school didn’t have cheerleaders. Or a football team. It was a “progressive” high school that focused on academics and getting the students into Ivys, less on traditional values. The idea was to encourage things like creativity and intelligence instead of glorifying sports and popularity. At the time, I loved it. Now I realize it was just a bunch of PC bullshit. Because in the end, I ended up at a state school regularly fucking frat guys who take intramurals way too seriously. As God intended.
But wayyyy back in the day (middle school), I was your typical cheerleader. I went to a small school in an even smaller rural town. You know, one of those cute, little town where literally everyone knows everyone and their mother’s phone number by heart. I had my friends, sports and horses, but still something felt like it was missing. That was about the time when my friends and I decided to start our own cheer squad, the only one in the middle school age group.
With me as their fearless leader, and a mom who pretended to be discrete with her flask, we started learning easy routines from the internet. I was what some would call a “perfectionist” but what most would call a “power-hungry tyrant” when it came to my captaincy. During lunch break and every day after our regular sports practices, we were practicing routines. There were hardly any complaints, so I assumed I was loved. One bitch, however, believed herself to be a better leader than I could ever be. This became abundantly clear after she loudly proclaimed to our team that I was too fat to be a flyer. She was a base by the way, just to put it in perspective. This marked the start a world’s worth of insecurities, an eating disorder, and my undying hatred of her. Fuck you, Lauren.
I became obsessed with proving myself as captain. Sure we primarily were focused on cheering for the boys’ basketball team, but I took it upon myself to be overly excited for literally anything that could involve school spirit. Which brings us to that fateful day.
I was a soccer girl through and through, which meant I was the cheerleader who wasn’t also on our volleyball team. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty jealous of the extra bonding the other girls had, especially with the bitch who called me fat. Again, fuck you, Lauren.
During one of their games, while I was cheering them on (alone) from the stands, I noticed our mascot lacking pretty hard. I took it upon myself to tell him to step up his fucking game because he better miss me if he actually thought I would let him bring down my pep. After a few choice and moderately offensive words for preteens, he ended up quitting. I was left stranded. Not only did I feel like I was losing my squad, I lost the mascot.
I didn’t have any other choice. I put the stupid mascot costume on over my uniform and ran back out into the stadium. During half time I jumped around, did the splits, a few high kicks and shook my ass. To be completely honest, I loved the undivided attention I got as mascot, even if no one could see my face. I could utilize the entire court and have all eyes on me. The dream right? Wrong.
I ran across the court, hyping the crowd, and promptly close-lined myself on the fucking volleyball net. There was a gasp from the crowd and a pain in my ankle. I was on the ground, trying unsuccessfully to hide my pain, and dealing with the embarrassment. To make matters worse, it was Lauren who rushed to my side. I’m sure she said something bitchy, because I distinctly remember this being the first time I actually said aloud “Fuck you, Lauren.”
I was certain to be outcasted for the first time in my life. But the good thing that comes with being the “funny girl” in school is that everyone is laughing with you, even if you’re the last to be in on the joke. For some ungodly reason, I was praised for taking on the mascot role in a pinch… and then for “making fun of it.” Because, like, that was totally what I was going for.
So even though I wasn’t laughed off my squad, I figured it was better to quit while I was ahead. I claimed I was spending the last of the year training a new younger captain. After all, we were in 8th grade by this point, and it’s not like I could have a third term while in high school. Plus, it was great to finally give up a little bit of the reigns and give someone else the chance to be in charge. As long as it wasn’t Lauren..