A park pavilion covered the closest dry haven for the leggy teens who intermittently showed for practice. I pulled our car close to let my daughter get out and watched as she joined them. Most of the girls carried water bottles and fluffed red, white and black pom poms from their duffel bags. They clustered in groups, chatting, until the pretty mom with a short, blond bob started talking; then, all eyes turned to her.
My heart went out to her as I left my youngest in her charge, humbled by the way she was almost always on time for these cheerleading practices that went on two or three times a week for half the summer. She was ready and waiting to listen to the girls’ ideas, to help them come up with their cheers and the moves to go with them, to help them synchronize, to tell them when to be louder, and always thoughtful about her squad.
I was indebted to her for her devotion in advising these girls. Her own daughter among them, she was able to support her daughter’s various activities, teach high school history for a district 20 miles away, and commute later to the seventh or eighth grade games for the girls.
I might have felt left out, even offended, when she passed me over and asked to speak to Kathie each time she called. Instead, I understood and accepted her philosophy that rather than discuss plans with the moms, she wanted to talk directly to the girls, if possible, to let them develop their own sense of responsibility.
One afternoon before school started, the Motry home was open to the girls’ noise, clutter, and many whims as they created posters to kick off the new season. I arrived at pickup time, stepping over paper, paints, markers, scissors, stencils, and, hardest to clean up of all – glitter.
Knowing that I can’t even keep my kitchen table cleared of papers from day to day, I asked about helping her clean up. She explained that it would sweep up in no time, that she was having a family party there that weekend, and that she would be cleaning anyway. (It could take me weeks to be ready for a family party.)
Such are the marvels of this woman who can apparently do it all. I went home to mourn my inadequacies as I celebrated the special devotion of my daughter’s cheerleading coach. I toast her for giving so much of herself all year.
Give her a “B”; give her an “E”; give her an “S”; give her a “T”, what d’ya got? The BEST coach we could ever ask for.
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