The Fat Ninja Strikes Again

For ten weeks early this year, I coached a cheerleading squad for Upward!Basketball (which is a Christian league, and yes thats different than "regular" leagues) One night a week it was me locked in a small room with eight EIGHT squealy kindergarteners. And on Saturdays it was me loose in the gym trying to herd eight EIGHT squealy kindergarteners.

Fortunately, a few years ago I was an assistant coach to the BEST coach in the entire world. Stacy is brilliant. She's all about fun with boundries. She's absolutely sparklely, literally. If you can put glitter glue on it, she's there! But the thing I learned from her that changed my life was ... to just let things be. (Thats even more important than ordering extra hairbows and pom-poms). Really? Will it kill me if they're not all totally in sync? Seriously, will I actually die if they don't wear the matching socks? She reminded me, and everyone else, that there is no point if the girls feel bad about themselves or the situation. Just smile and relax and things will work out (or not), and the sun will still rise tomorrow. *happy sigh* I just love Stacy.

And I REALLY tried to make the whole experience as stress-free as possible. Late? No stress. Forgot pom-poms, hairbows, waterbottles, snacks, etc? No stress (I had extras). Broke your ankle? No stress. In fact, our tag-line became "WE don't have stress." I didn't realize how successful I was in getting that message across until a few weeks into the season.

Officially, I started with four girls, but then others drifted into my group for assorted reasons. Once a "new" mother flipped out because they dashed in late to practice. One of the other mothers sort of waved her off and said "We don't have stress here" and the other parents kind of laughed and nodded. The late-mother looked like someone had thrown cold water in her face! She couldn't have been more shocked if she tried! Then it sank in that they weren't kidding and she spent the rest of the season rather ... gigglely. Apparently, we weren't the militant over-the-top squads like some of the others. (But at the end of the season, we knew twice as many cheers and had twice the stamina of any other squad.) And another little girl who transferred from another squad, was overheard announcing to her dad as they left their first night "THIS group is fun!" I felt pretty good about it. So I bought face-paint. (FYI, Elmers acrylic paint pens are not officially face-paint, but they are absolutely the best thing EVER for doing face-paint. They dry super-fast, they have a fine-ish point for detail work, they fit in your pocket so you can do the late-comers as they take the court!)

It sounds like it was a ton of fun, which it was. It sounds like I was happy and relaxed, which I was. EXCEPT for the incident with the shirt ...

See, the coaches had to wear an official shirt. It was a cute v-neck t-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves. GREAT for active movement, and realistically I had to lead each cheer. The issue that made me nuts? The color. It was BLACK! Where to start? Its just not festive and cheer-ful. And about the only thing that matches it is gray sweat-pants because the team color was Brilliant Green. Try finding Brilliant Green sweatpants. Hah!

And then the fateful day came: I forgot to wash my grey sweatpants. And it was the first game of the Saturday morning, so I had to just get dressed and dash across town. This lead to the moment when I realized I had no choice but to wear the only other pair of sweatpants available: BLACK sweatpants.

So, there it was, the crack of dawn practically (7:00 am on a Saturday) and I had to dash around putting on clothes and putting on make-up and putting my hair-up and talking to myself and THAT lead to talking at my husband. Who entered this situation while sound asleep. I think he came sort of awake in the middle of a ranting tirade about ... something ... with me demanding rather emphatically to know what he thought about the outfit. "Well? What does this outfit remind you of?"

I could see him blinking a lot, struggling to find words. Somewhat sleepily confused, and probably not at his sharpest, he innocently asked "Kung-Fu Panda?"

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