la Ketch

my life story

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Sophmore and Junior Year II

(continued from previous post)

When I was doing this clinic, I was pretty much a loner. I mean people were all kinds of curious about who I was, the new girl, and if I was cheerleader material but I wasn't my typical gregarious self. I kind of kept my mouth shut and watched and danced of course. Oh did I dance. The pretty popular girls who didn't make the fall squad and who were back to reclaim the second half of their Senior Year, were pretty much playing by the rules. They had been bitch slapped by the new sheriff in town and they weren't about to slog through the rest of the MOST IMPORTANT YEAR OF THEIR LIVES without once wearing a pleated skirt so short you could almost see their ass crack to school on game days. That's a big part of it you know, getting to come to school on game days in that cheerleading uniform. The pride, the sheer stuck up pride a cheerleader exudes when they walk down the hall with that pleated polyester skirt bouncing up and down on their ass. Well it's just pure sex isn't it? Or should I say, pure joy? It's everything high school wants to be. Blech. I could never understand why so many people hate cheerleaders and now it's so obvious but at the time there was nothing more I wanted.

** side note**
I'm beginning to understand now why I have put off writing this for so long, why I couldn't quite get to it. It's so shallow that it makes my teeth hurt. Maybe it will help us understand that vast uncharted territory: the mind of the teenager. I think a lot of times we think of the teenager as a deep searching soul filled with angst and wanting answers from the universe. This story might help us remember that, nope. Sometimes the teenager is just about as deep as a kiddie pool. Back to the story.

One of the older girls, a pretty popular one, took me under her wing a bit. She was actually the only pretty popular girl who had made it on to the new team. I think she made it because she was both very good at cheerleading and also a rare breed of pretty popular girl; she was nice. She spent a lot of time with me teaching me the cheers and working on my technique. I needed a lot of help because as I mentioned before, I wasn't very good. I had dance experience but cheerleading is different. You have to be very rigid. You have to be sharp and your elbows need to be straight and you must must must look up and out at all times and smile so fucking hard your face hurts. Smile!!!!! JOY!!!! EXUDE CHEER!! These things are very had to do when you are concentrating on the fucking moves.

Two bits three bits six bits a dollar all for "The Claw" stand up and holler!

That was the cheer we had to learn. I remember the moves and I could do it for you right now.

The pretty popular nice girl worked with me and worked with me and then she started blowing all sorts of sunshine up my ass, telling me that I was great and telling me she really thought I had a shot at being the FIRST FRESHMAN EVER to make it on the squad. Of course I believed her. Also, at this time I was just starting to go out with this guy, a junior with a permed mullet and mint green low rider with an insane sound system who was on the wrestling team and chewed tobacco, by Claw standards, smokin hot. He was in my ear whispering the same thing, "Pretty popular nice girl is saying you're going to make it in. That you are going to be the FIRST FRESHMAN EVER to make it on the squad." Again, I believed.

I didn't make it on to the squad that try out. I was super nervous and I did my cheers ok but I just did not "pop" like some of the other girls. I wasn't ready. I was too young and I wasn't loud enough or smiley enough and couldn't do a back handspring. If you could do a back handspring you were golden. So I didn't make it and I was crushed. I cried. Soon after that mullet dude and I broke up.

The defeat only made me stronger. I practiced the cheer on my own. I went to all of the games. I studied their moves, the way they carried themselves. I could see what I needed to do. I was resolved. I would be a cheerleader. I just had to be. I wanted it more than anyone afterall.

For the next round of auditions, I had some friends. I was getting ready to go into my Sophmore year and this was for the Fall sport cheer quad. I was kind of cocky going into this clinic. I already knew a lot of the cheers. The new sheriff knew my name, a lot of the cheerleaders knew me from the last clinic. Also, I had improved and they all noticed this. I had been practicing. One of my friends in the clinic was very cute but didn't have the experience I had and she also lacked my enthusiasm. She didn't want it nearly as bad as I did. She was just kind of doing it for fun because she didn't know what else to do. This made it sting especially bad when SHE MADE THE SQUAD AND I DIDN'T.


What was god trying to do to me? What kind of test was this? I mean first my fucking dad dies, then my mom marries this total dickwad and moves me to butt fuck egypt away from all of my friends and the only home I've ever known and now, now I CAN NOT GET ON THE CHEERLEADING TEAM TO SAVE MY LIFE. Doesn't God know how BAD I WANT IT?

This second defeat was a real strong punch in the gut. It hurt pretty fucking bad but it did not stop me. No, no, no, no, no. I was like the Terminator. Shoot me in the face and I keep on coming at you. Nothing was going to come in between me and my destiny. I marched home to my mother and demanded that she sign me up for gymnastics so that I could learn how to do a back hand spring as soon as possible, which bless her heart, she did.

So I had to trudge along that first semester of my Sophmore year as a civilian while my buddy bounced around in her adorable little uniform. I had to sit in the bleachers while she bounced around on the field. I had to get a ride from my mom while she rode the bus with the guys. I know, I know what you are thinking, how did I endure this torture? I took it in stride. I knew that next semester I would nail the motherfucker. I had to. If I didn't, well honestly, I never entertained that possibility. I would be a cheerleader for Winter sports period. End of story. Finis. I had the silver bullet in my back pocket, the back hand spring.
I took gymnastics for four months and I did learn how to do a back handspring but it was super hard. A back hand spring is one of those things that you really need to learn how to do when you are like 8 years old, before your mind begins to understand that it really shouldn't be possible to flip your entire body over onto your hands and then back over again to land on your feet. Every single time I did one I was terrified that I would land on my head and one time I did but that's a different story.

When I came back to the cheerleading clinic for Winter sports my sophmore year I was met with a mix of reactions. Every one knew me by then and I think that there was part of them that were impressed that I had the balls to give it another go but mostly they were just sad for me, that I wasn't accepting that I didn't have what it takes and they were sad for themselves that they were going to have to reject me one more time. It's no fun crushing a teenage girl's dreams. But I eased their fears on the first day. I had practiced my ass off. I was older, I was confident. I had the sharpness, the smile, smile, smile and KACHOW: backhandspring.

No one could believe that I had actually taken gymnastic classes and learned how to do one, now that was dedication, that was perseverance and maybe it was true, no one wanted it more than la Ketch.

By this time a few things had shifted since my first try out. First of all the squad was now a pretty good mix of pretty/popular and talented. You didn't have to be all three but you had to be at least two out of the three and no one straight out sucked. Second, the school vote had been thrown back in so that there was still a panel of judges but also the students voted and that counted toward 20% of your try out. Third, you had to sign an agreement, which was standard for the athletes and the student council but hadn't been standard for the cheerleaders before. The agreement was that you had to have a certain grade point average and that you couldn't drink or go to parties. No one really took it seriously because this is the Claw, everyone drinks and goes to parties. We all signed it without thinking twice. Yes I said we because I signed it too because I made the team. Hallelujah!!!! Sing it from the mountain tops, la Ketch finally made the fucking cheerleading team.

The way they let you know is that you show up at the school on a saturday, in one of the classrooms and they give you this big talk about how you are all awesome and how it was such a hard decision but there are only 10 spots and this year there were so many talented people and if you didn't make it this year, please try again next clinic because you might make it next time. Then they made a big deal about how la Ketch had kept at it and this was her third time at try outs and it's finally paid off, please come to the front of the room la Ketch, you've made the team. Every one was cheering and I was of course bawling from sheer relief and joy but mostly relief from holding on to this thing for a year and a half. Every one was really happy for me though. They wanted me to do well and I had risen to the occasion. I made it.

I so clearly remember laying in bed that night completely unable to sleep. I was so excited, completely elated. I was kicking my legs under my covers. I was giggling. I was so purely happy. It's just hilarious.
It's just hilarious to me now how happy I was! How could something like that make a person feel so happy? But it did. I think that I felt that I had finally turned things around for myself. I was taking control of my life again. All of these bad things had happened and I was swimming upstream. I had wanted something so badly and I couldn't get it so I worked and worked and I took control of the boat and I turned it around. Things were going to start happening to me. (to be continued)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sophmore and Junior Year

This post has been brewing for a while and I’m excited that I finally have the time to get it out of my head and onto the blog. It’s especially exciting because I’m filling in a gaping hole in the “Acid Queen Stories” by touching on this subject. I’m not sure if I will get around to an actual story to go in there but there is a lot missing around my sophomore and Junior year of High School that can easily be summed up with one word.


Many of you may move on from the entry now, realizing that it’s going to bore the hell out of you but for the one or two of you that might be in touch with your inner cheerleader, it is for you I write.

I love cheerleading. I love it. I’m tired of apologizing. I don’t care if you think it’s a non-sport, if it’s shallow, if it’s for ditzy slutty girls. I’m fine with that description. Cheerleading is awesome. Ok, first of all it combines dancing and gymnastics. Awesome. Second, cute uniforms. Totally awesome. Third, you get to ride in the bus with the boys to the sporting events. Hello. I rest my case.

I always wanted to be a cheerleader growing up. I was never good at sports. I took a lot of dance classes and did theater and whenever I went to any kind of sporting event where there were cheerleaders, I studied them. That is what I want to do. I love watching cheerleading competitions on TV. They are so exciting. I could watch that all day.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about cheerleading. My car stereo doesn’t have an iPod hook up. It doesn’t have a cd player. It has a tape deck that is broken and it has a radio. So I listen mainly to 2 different stations going to and from work, which is a total of about 40 min a day. I listen to NPR and I listen to Kiss FM. My favorite is Ryan Seacrest in the morning on Kiss. I like to know what the kids are listening to these days, ok? Most of it makes my ears bleed but there are usually one or two really great pop songs in rotation. My favorite right now would be SUCH A GREAT CHEERLEADING ROUTINE SONG. It’s “Raise your glass” by Pink. Omg. I would do anything to be a high school girl doing a dance routine with back flips and basket tosses in a short skirt bad ass costume in front of an entire high school class sitting in bleachers at a pep assembly. It would be so hot. **sigh** I seriously get butterflies in my stomach imagining it when I turn this song up very loud in my car while I’m driving. I can imagine it happening and I think, “maybe I should coach cheerleading?” It would be a bold career move that would pay almost nothing. And yet….

Honestly, I wasn’t really that great of a cheerleader. I’ve never been super coordinated and I learned back handsprings late in life and was always afraid of doing them…

When I got to the Claw High School, one of the first things I asked was, “Do you have cheerleading for Freshman?” The answer was yes, Freshman could try out for cheerleading but there was only one cheerleading squad and no Freshman had ever made it. At the high school I would have gone to if I had stayed in California, which was 3x the size of the Claw High School, they had a Varsity squad, a JV squad and a Freshman Squad. The Freshman squad was known as the “Dog Squad” but you had to cheer on the Dog Squad for one year if you even wanted to try out for JV or Varsity so all of my friends were doing the last semester of 8th grade. I didn’t do the try outs because I knew we were moving and so did every one else and it would have been silly. All of my friends were practicing the routines and going to the workshops and I just watched and I was SO JEALOUS. GAWD I JUST WANTED TO BE A CHEERLEADER WAS THAT SO WRONG??????

So when I found out that there was only one squad, even though they told me Freshman never made it, I was kind of into that idea. I felt like, well when I do get on the team, it will be the good team right away. I won’t have to slum it in a dog squad. I knew that I would make the team. I had to make the team because I WANTED IT MORE THAN ANYTHING. It was just like many of the contestants on American Idol. It cracks me up so much when the contestants say things like that, especially during like Hollywood Week or whatever and they get cut and they are being interviewed right after and they are like, “I can’t get cut. I want this SO BAD. NO ONE WANTS THIS MORE THAN ME.” And it’s like, “well perhaps but it’s not a contest for who wants it the most. It’s a contest for who can sing the best.” So…… I wasn’t the best cheerleader. Yet.

I wasn’t able to try out for the Fall cheerleading team which cheered for Football. I was too late for that but I was able to try out for Winter, which was cheering for basketball. They did a sort of cheerleading clinic after school where you could go and learn the routines, the cheer you would have to do at tryouts and practice and of course, get to know the current cheerleaders. I found out pretty quickly, after hearing chatter mostly from the stands at the first day of school assembly where the cheer leaders performed that there had been a recent Coup in the cheerleading echelon at the Claw High School. Apparently there was a new sheriff in town, the cheerleading coach, and she didn’t like how things were being run. She didn’t like that the cheerleading tryouts were basically a popularity contest. She didn’t like that the cheerleaders were only the pretty girls who maybe weren’t the best dancers or gymnasts. She didn’t like that they partied a lot and had a reputation for being sluts. Basically she was no fun.

She came in and changed the entire process. Apparently up until her arrival the entire try out was a one shot deal in front of the entire school and there was a VOTE. That’s how you got onto the squad. Isn’t that hilarious? I mean it was truly 100% a popularity contest. So the Claw. So crazy. So she took the vote out of it completely and brought in a table of judges who were from out of town, supposedly impartial and had some dance and or gymnastic experience. The auditions were open and anyone could come watch, which a lot of people did. It was an event. So what happened is that all of the pretty popular girls got axed and some younger, less pretty but better gymnasts got in and the entire school was up in arms about it. It was pretty sad really because they got booed a lot, even though they were really good.

So when I tried out this had all just happened and the pretty popular girls were pissed and they were back. They were doing the clinic and they were there to roll up their sleeves and learn to dance better and back flip better and bring the DECENCY and the POPULARITY back to the Claw High School Cheerleading Squad. I was a little lost in the shuffle but it was interesting to watch.

To be continued…