I remember being the little kid at the studio watching the big girls dance. I couldn’t wait to get to dance to the “good” music and wear the cool costumes and be able to drive myself to the dance studio. (Actually, driving to the Sonic down the road after dance was what I was really looking forward to.)
Those girls were so pretty and cool and could really sass the teachers. They were the same girls who made up and did a slightly questionable dance at the Christmas recital. Yes, they were just awesome!
I’m sure they never thought about the little girls, other than that we were always in the way begging for their attention. Of course, I knew those girls because my sister was one of them. Whether she paid attention to me or not, I can’t remember. I do remember, though, having those girls hug me and speak to me and call me “Mal Mal”. It made my status go up with my friends whenever it would happen.
When I was on the Pom Squad at Mississippi State, little girls would stop us in the Junction for pictures. I even witnessed my sister autograph someone’s hat when she was on the team! It was really cute when a mom would come up to us and ask if her little boy could get a picture with us. We would all gather around his little red-cheeked self. I’m sure he didn’t know if he was going to survive it or not.
For kids’ camps, the little girls were so excited to get to spend time with the dancers and cheerleaders. So many would say, “I’m a cheerleader!” or “I’m going to dance at State!” We were busy and in a hurry. We had to teach them routines to perform and move them from place to place. Now when I look back, I hope I didn’t roll my eyes or brush them off. I hope I listened to them and made them feel special like the older girls would occasionally do for me.
I remember being that kid at the football games dressed in my cheer outfit. It was many years before I even noticed the football game. I just watched the dancers and cheerleaders and would come home and practice the moves I had seen. It’s not just the girls with the big dreams. The little boys in their maroon jerseys throwing footballs in the Junction are too cute. I’m sure they are dreaming about one day running out of the tunnel through the fireworks to the clanging of the cowbells, or the others who dream of running out amid cheers at the Hump.
From the sidelines, I would see the little girls in their tiny maroon cheer uniforms. They were so precious with their little pompoms on a stick, jumping around. They would imitate every move we made. Now, as I watch the games again from the stands, I love when they show one on the Jumbo Tron who is so lost in her own world that she has no idea thousands of people are watching. I know I am like that little cheerleader sometimes. I get caught up in my own world and don’t realize others are watching me, particularly the younger kids. I want to remember to be on my toes to give them something good to want to be.