You may not know anything about cheerleading, but your child is willing to learn! That means that you’ve signed on for good, too, which automatically makes you a pretty cool dad!


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Now, cheer might seem easy, but there are some definite obstacles involved in the sport–and even more so for dads! Here are six obstacles in cheerleading that are especially hard for cheer dads to overcome. The struggle is real…

1. Seeing cheerleading as a sport.

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Congratulations! You’ve made it to you 1st cheerleading practice! You had your parent conference with the coach(es), and have received your packet and a practice schedule. Suddenly, you realize just how committed you have become to cheerleading–team practices, independent classes, training, physical therapy etc. Who knew cheerleading was so involved? You see how hard your cheerleader has worked, and you cannot believe how someone could say cheerleading is not a sport! How could it be otherwise? These girls and boys work so hard, and train tirelessly for a competition to be the best at what they do. Like a true cheer dad, you now catch yourself constantly defending the sport.

2. One word: GLITTER. Second word: POOF.

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How does something so small get ALL OVER THE PLACE?!? You have glitter on your skin, in your hair, and you did not even touch the stuff! Plus, you just got out of the shower! Yes, it makes your cheerleader shine like a diamond, but goodness–this stuff gets EVERYWHERE! You’re a dad… makeup can be tricky and this is not in your wheelhouse. What's more, if you have a daughter in cheer, she needs help with her hair. You remember the saying ‘the bigger the hair, the closer to God’? Well, start praying to those cheer gods because cheer hair is big. You can do your best, but maybe have one of the cheer moms teach you how it’s done first. You’ll get it in time. Maybe…

3. Keeping up with every song on the radio... and every show on CW.

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You are the carpool master. You have heard every boy band and Taylor Swift song ever recorded. Yet, all those horribly tone-deaf girls singing in the back of your car actually make you smile as you drive them for hours to and from competitions. You have never known so much about some guy named Harry Styles and how cute he is, and you are aware that Ryan Reynolds’ birthday is on October 23. You also are up-to-date on shows like Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural. Ask you anything, you got the deets.

4. Traveling with the team.

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As you unlock the door to the hotel room, you hear the magic words, “Dad can we go to the pool?” “YES,” you say a bit too enthusiastically. As they walk out the door, you drop your bags and jump on the bed yelling, “FREEDOM!!!” You never once have taken anything from the mini bar, but today you may make the exception. After all, you deserve it after four hours of carpool karaoke, cheer team edition. Being a team chaperone is hard enough, but then add the exciting element of travel to it, and you have one hyperactive group of cheerleaders. You lay on the bed taking a moment to bask in the silence and you are at peace… for now…

5. Memorizing the cheer routine.

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You have been to all the practices, gone to all the games, and helped your little cheerleader in their off time at home; naturally, you know the entire cheer routine. You can probably do the routine in you sleep! It is competition day, and you are not only wearing the team’s colors, but as the music starts up, you cannot help but dance along–hitting every Lib and High V in stride! You cheer on your cheerleader and watch as they land that stunt or toss that they’re been working on for months. And, when they do, you smile and tear up a little. It’s okay, all the other cheer parents are doing the same.

6. Realizing your child is growing up.

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As a dad, this can be the hardest thing in the world. Your child is growing into a teenager and wants their independence. Through cheerleading, your little one has learned how to be strong and confident–everything you have ever wanted for your child! It is that time that you, as a parent, have to back off and let them do what they want to do. Let your cheerleader be his or her own person, and figure things out on their own. They may be growing up fast, but they still appreciate all the father time you provide, and will never forget you taking them to practice, and coming to every competition. They may not always show it right now, but later, your child will really appreciate the time you two spent together in support of their passion. See? Keep up the good work, cheer dad! You may do things a little differently than the cheer moms out there, but that is what makes you the best.

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Author’s Note:

This article is dedicated to my own dad. My sister and I played competitive sports throughout our entire lives, and our dad came to every game that he could. He was our soccer dad: he cheered us on, threw water at us from the sidelines, and you could always hear him say, “come on, ref” at every bad call. He was tough, but was the first one to run off the sidelines to carry us off the field when we got injured. He may have not known how to put up a ponytail, but he was always there to cheer us on. Love you, Dad.