Parents, it is competition season! Competition season is like Christmas: your kid is counting down the days with excitement, and all you are thinking is, “How did this happen? Already? Wasn’t it just competitions season two months ago?” Panic mode usually sets in because no matter how organized you are, competition season creeps up on you. Every. Single. Time. But, don’t worry–we understand how you feel. Here is how it feels to be a parent at a cheer competition.

1. We are late.

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Being ‘on time’ does not exist for parents. You are either early (by accident), or you are late–no in-between. If you are anything like me, you are speeding through a crazy amount of traffic, slowing down to a stop just as a clown car full of cheerleaders spill out at the front of the school, the gym, the hotel, etc. like some kind of crazy cheerleader jewelry heist. The competition might be two doors down, across town, or across state lines; it doesn’t matter, you’re going to be running behind. If you happen to be one of those parents who has their stuff together, please give the rest of us a little break. We envy you, and we are trying.

2. There’s a lot of waiting around.

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Usually, your cheerleader’s team has a call time, and while they are backstage practicing and after they perform, there is a lot of waiting around. You can sit and enjoy the competition watching all the other teams perform. Or, possibly you enjoy some overpriced snacks at the venue, since scarfing down some nachos might help the nerves. At cheerleading competitions, there are brief moments of hurry-up-and-get-to-the-front-to-watch-your-cheerleader, and then a lot of sitting around doing nothing.

3. Sometimes, we are scared and nervous.

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Cheerleading stunts are insane, and cheerleading is a dangerous sport. No matter if your child is a flyer, base, spotter, or doing stunts in front, every position has its potential risks. Every stunt can have your stomach in knots, and there is always a possibility that your child might not nail their stunt, or worse, get seriously injured. There is a lot of pressure at these competitions, and if your cheerleader misses hitting a spot, or does not land their stunt, it can be heartbreaking. As a parent, we want to protect our children, and it can be hard when they fail. That’s why it’s imperative to remain supportive and encouraging.

4. Sometimes, we look crazy.

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You know your child’s routine like it’s the back of your hand, and you cannot help but hit some of the moves as you watch. Don’t worry: you are not alone. Parents are crazy about their kids, and rightly so–your kid is awesome! Let your crazy flag fly for the two and a half minutes your child is performing. Plus, when you cheerleader hits all those spots and nails every stunt, it is okay for you to get loud and cheer them on!

5. Sometimes, they win

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Winning isn’t everything, but it sure is awesome when you do! There is excitement in the air, and usually the team will go out and celebrate. For you child, it may feel like all their blood, sweat, and tears have paid off. For you, it may feel like all the carpooling, dramatic teenage drama, and stress was worth it! It is okay to feel excited and joyous over a win, but try not to focus too much on the actual win, but the fact that the team worked hard. And, working hard sometimes leads to success.

6. Sometimes, they lose.

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It is a reality check, but sometimes your cheerleader’s team does not win… or even place. This can be hard for you as a parent, because we are helpless to do anything. Your cheerleader will be upset, and you will hurt, too. You can do your best to encourage your cheerleader to see the bright side of losing, and to enjoy the amazing experience of just being there. It is difficult as a parent to see our children upset, but letting your child experience these emotions is healthy. They are allowed to be sad or upset, and learning how to deal with failure is a great life skill that a lot of people do not know how to handle.

There are a lot of feelings that go on at competitions, and it may feel like an emotional rollercoaster! As a cheer parent, you may have not known what you were getting yourself into–especially, if this is your first competition! The only word that comes to mind when thinking about what it feels like to be a parent at a cheer competition is #cheerlilfe… it explains it all.

How do you feel at cheer competitions? Share your experiences with us in the comments!