Tag: mentors

Cheerleading, revisited


Sometimes I hear someone say they appreciate “their cheerleaders” in life. As in, the people encouraging and cheering them on with their lives, projects, etc. We picture pom-poms and half-time dances right? Lots of spirit-fingers, yelling, back-flips and smiles.

I don’t doubt we have cheerleaders in some sense, but I would submit that they aren’t from the basketball or football varsity squads. I’d say that in life, the best cheerleaders come from the less popular sport of Cross-Country running. 

Here’s how it works. There IS no cheer squad. The cheerleaders are only parents (mostly moms), close family and really really good friends. There are no stands. There are no pom poms. There is generally no music or dance routine. (I actually HAVE seen spirit-fingers at a race unfortunately) 

Cross-Country cheering only happens at strategic points along the race course. Because of the nature of the courses being spread out over 3.1 miles (high school boys/girls, college women) or 5 miles (college men) there’s no way to watch and cheer for the competitors for the entirety of the race. The cheerleaders must themselves also run to several specific points along the course and yell their lungs out. Or as is often the case, yell a bit, then give very specific encouragement and direction: “Hey you’re only 50 meters from catching Central’s #3 guy” or, “open up your stride” or, “get those arms moving, keep the head up” etc, etc. 

I could make life applications, but you get the idea. I think that’s a more realistic picture of how our life cheerleaders pick us up.