Cheerleading – Day 55
Due to the virus I had gone down with mid Cha-Cha in Piloxing, I’d spent a few days in bed and even had to postpone my rugby and volleyball challenges. I was pleased to get back into things with what I had assumed would be a gentle class of cheerleading. Yes, a bit of pompom jiggling would be just the ticket I needed to ease myself back into things. Paul had helpfully offered to come and take photos for this challenge, but I found his motives questionable and declined.
I arrived at West Coast Cheerleading in Redruth and met with Rhea, the owner. After a brief chat, I was introduced to my classmates, who looked all made up and beautiful, while I was sporting a pale, post-illness complexion and lank hair. Damn it, I should have made more of an effort and put a bit of slap on.
We entered the gym and I was delighted that they had a sprung floor. I see these all the time, as my girls do gymnastics and I’ve always wanted to have a bounce. The class started and straight away my naive illusions began to shatter as we got on with a SAS style warm-up around an assault course. We had to climb over something, then under, then over. Roly-poly next and a walk over a beam, run over the inflatable mat, then a burpee, a sit-up, a burpee, a press-up and a burpee - five times!
I was heaving and blowing like a distressed elephant already. Next up was gymnastics, as I yearned for a sparkly pompom to appear. This is challenge number 55 and I feel I have become a little immune to indignities. I leave my dignity in the car on the way in and on the journey home I have a rummage about for it again. This mind-set has enabled me to cope with most situations which I’m presented with but I’m delighted to report that the bar has been raised again, as I attempted to tackle gymnastics.
Firstly, some roly-poly’s into straddle and tuck, which was OK. Then, we moved onto forward and backward handstands - yes, handstands! I haven’t attempted one of these since primary school. To say my attempts were rusty would be a massive understatement. My T-shirt kept flapping up to reveal my attractive wobbly bits. The Gods who control dignity rolled the dice again for further entertainment, as I attempted to bunny hop across the floor and then for more amusement, reverse bunny hop back, with my fat arse waggling around in the air and my T-Shirt eagerly trying to escape the humiliation of the situation. I did manage a few cartwheels, though, which is quite a feat to accomplish sober.
Next up, we practised a few stunts. The person who is flung about and caught by the rest of the squad is known as the flyer. The usual flyer wasn’t there this evening, so the girls looked for a replacement. As I have the physique of a small bungalow, this was not a position I was going to put myself up for. Instead, I acted as a “limb holder” as our flyer was launched in different positions into the air. I then stepped back to watch as they progressed to full swinging in the air, rolling about and catching. The girls described all the injuries that had been sustained when this has gone wrong – it turns out cheerleading is quite a dangerous sport after all.
Finally, and I think purely for my benefit, the glittery pompoms were brought out. We were taught a “simple” routine, which I tried my best to follow but I ended up looking like the Gary Barlow (circa 1994) of the group, as I tried forlornly to keep up. It was good fun, though, as we all tried to perfect our routine.
We finished up and my body really felt like it has been through its paces. It was as physically demanding as any fitness class I have taken. If I’m honest, I would have to admit that my body isn’t as flexible as required but it was a lot of fun and very enlightening to see that cheerleading is a mixture of dance, gymnastics, acrobatics and weightlifting; certainly something my daughters would absolutely adore. I will hand my pompoms over to them, I think, as I get back in the car for the journey home. Now, where did I put my dignity again?
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