Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bittersweet Endings

Bruiser and The Goob
Football and cheer have come to an end. In more ways than one. Teenzilla is all done cheering for the Rec. League, and hopefully The Boy will want to play again next year. Teenzilla tried out and made her school competitive cheer team, but alas- she does not love the sport as much as I want her to, so she quit the team.

This first week after the season ends is always the hardest for me. Practice every night and games every Saturday is a grueling schedule, but it has been such a huge part of my life for the last 4 years that it is hard to come to grips that it is all over- done coaching, done cheering- and next year if The Boy plays, I will get to be just a regular mom, cheering on the kids from the stands. I am already considering how to get the coveted title of "Team Mom", which would mean I would still be in all the action, but there is a whole year, and a lot of mom's that I am sure will be eyeing the position..

Words cannot describe what an amazing season it was. Getting an autistic kid to play pretty much any sport is  a feat, getting mine to play football is a small miracle. He went to practice every day without complaint, never missed a game ( even though he stood on the sidelines for most of them!) got a few seconds of glory and had the opportunity to be coached by a staff of amazing guys who taught him so much.  He earned the Ironman Award- an award given to the hearty few who do make every game and practice, and that to me is more important than how many plays he got per game. He was there- learning to be part of a team, making friends and learning how to play full contact football.  He gave himself the nickname "Bruiser", another minor miracle, as he has always insisted on using his name, NEVER a nickname.  I am so very, very proud of his accomplishments, and hope that he means it when he says "I can't wait to play next year".

Now it's time to take a break before moving on to something else.  There is a program we are looking at for him called Mad Skillz, a program designed to improve on understanding, knowledge and skills of the game. He said he was interested- we shall see. I really do hope he wants to do it- and I really hope he plays again next year.
So nervous
Holding my breath

The cheerleading thing is what I am mourning.  I didn't realize just how vicariously I was living through my daughter until now. I wanted her to love the sport as much as I did, or at the very least like it enough to do one year of competitive cheering for her school. Not meant to be. She was upset that she even made the team  in the first place, and then, as we ended our youth league season, there was no break and competitive started immediately. Having taken a VERY heartbreaking loss at her final competition I truly thought she would want to keep going.  The schedule was just as busy, 2 hour practices including gymnastics 5 days a week, Saturday practices and competitions twice a week. Getting her to practice was going to be rather difficult, between my work schedule and The Boy's schedule there was going to be a lot of shuffling and running around. So for that, I am grateful I guess. But my dreams of watching her compete at different schools, learning different skills and being that crazy cheer mom in the stands are not to be. Coming to the realization that this was more for me than for her was a very harsh wake up. As much as she hates it- she always gave 100%, and was a GREAT cheerleader. Now it's time for her to be just as great at something else.

Teenzilla is an amazing kid- she is smart, talented and will excel at anything she does. She loves the arts. Music, theater- they are her passion. Now I will follow her lead- look for activities that she truly enjoys- and I will be a crazy theater mom, or whatever.  Her being happy and having fun will be my goals, and I will support her 100%.

So as I fold up all the football and cheer gear, the uniforms, the poms, the med kit and our trophy from last year, I am a little weepy. Silly I know, but once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader.