“Let’s! Get! Fired up!” (clap, clap, clapclapclap) One hundred little voices ring out from the center of our high school’s courtyard. The time has come – Girl #2 has joined cheerleading.
This isn’t our first time at the kid sports rodeo. Each of the Kiddos has played soccer at one time or another, The Boy started t-ball, Girl #2 does gymnastics and Girl #1 swims. So we have been to quite a few practices and games over the past few years.
Practices provide a unique opportunity for parent-watching. It’s almost like bird-watching, with each sport having a specific species of uber-involved parent. For now I’m going to focus on the male varieties of the species.
Soccer has the Beckham Dads. These individuals can be found at every practice and game in rip-away warm-up pants and an Under Armor shirt, ready to be called into the game should the need arise. As the games we see are generally played by 7 year olds, you can imagine that the need has never arisen for a parent to step in to sub for a fallen first grader. But there the Beckham Dad waits, prepared to bend it at a moment’s notice.
The Beckham Dad also has the charming attribute of directing his child’s every move. “Joe! This way! No, attack! ATTAAAAAAACK!! Now back! Back! BACK!!!! Get the ball, Joe, get the ball! Defense! DEFEEEEENSE!!!” For two hours. At top volume. Please Joe, just get the ball and score. For all of us.
Closely related to the Beckham Dad is the Varsity Blues Dad. This individual played back in the day and hasn’t quite left those glory days behind. Parent-kid game? Yes. Parent swim relay? Sign. Him. Up. He’ll show up in Speedos and tell everyone within earshot how he used to swim a 52 second 100-meter free. Everyone smiles, nods and indulges him, secretly shaking their head at the aging, balding, waistline-expanding guy who insists on trying to recapture his youth.
Most recently, we spotted the elusive Bring It On Dad. I had previously only seen this species on T.V. and was unsure whether we’d ever find a Bring It On Dad in his natural habitat. Usually this particular species can be found on the kiddie beauty pageant circuit, shaking his groove thang and doing the Outfit-of-Choice routine right along with his daughter.
As I mentioned, Girl #2 has started cheerleading. Practices began last week with the basics – learn the cheers, learn the moves. I was watching the girls when all of a sudden I saw a dad step in line and start stretching. Could it be a Bring It On Dad? Sure enough, when the leader yelled (with SPIRIT) “READY???!?!??!” the suspected Bring It On Dad popped his hands on his hips right along with the girls. Right L? Check. Left diagonal? Indeed. High V? The highest!
Sighting confirmed, I only have three words - GO! FIGHT! WIN!!!
Please feel free to report your sightings of these and other species at kid sporting events around the country.