Recently, a few of my students and I engaged in a discussion of the film, But I’m A Cheerleader. While the film had little to do with actually being a cheerleader, it did get me thinking about who the cheerleaders are in my life, who I am a cheerleader for, and the role of cheerleaders in our lives.
It got me thinking back to high school, which for some of us is longer ago than others, and one thing I remembered is that when they were on the field they were always smiling. It did not matter whether the home team was winning or losing, they just kept smiling. It seemed as if on the days when our home school team was doing the worst, they came in smiling and cheering louder and more enthusiastically than ever. We may have thought the situation was hopeless, but their enthusiasm and cheering made you continue to hope for and cheer for the players on the field.
Nowadays when you watch cheerleaders, especially those who are competing against other team, they pull out all the tricks. They do all kinds of gymnastics, make human pyramids and perform things which seem challenging if not impossible. It reminds me of how some of the cheerleaders in my life are when they are trying to deliver a message for me or draw my attention to a sign. I truly think they would stand on their heads if they had to, to get my attention. It also reminds me of how the Divine will send signs and symbols in so many ways to get my attention and keep me en theos.
I remember when my wife was going through chemotherapy. I was bound and determined to make this as positive an experience as possible. So our first visit, I packed pomp oms and looked up some old cheers. When we got there, I went into the bathroom changed into my cheerleading uniform (well my age appropriate version of one), pulled out my pomp oms and began cheering, “We’re team Zoe and no one could be prouder. If you can’t hear us yell it, we’ll yell a little louder.” Or Give me a W. Give me an I. Give me an N. Whose going to win? Team Zoe. The other clients at the lab would ask my friend Paul and I to cheer for them that day. They needed to know that there was a team cheering for them and that they were not alone. Like the crowds, when we would say Give me, the people would respond. You felt as if you were part of the team. For some, there were days that being cheered for made a difference.
Sometimes in our lives to stay enthusiastic, we need other cheering for us. We need to hear the voice of the Infinite telling us we can do this. On other days, we are the ones who are the cheerleaders for others. At all times, however, there is the one we call on by so many names who is always cheering for us, encouraging us, and reminding us we can make it through even when the odds seem insurmountable.
We all know what it is like to have a cheerleader in our lives. So maybe now is the time to think about who we are a cheerleader for? Do we have our pomp oms ready to shake and cheer? Can we help them give what they need to win? Goooooooooooooooo TEAM!