Many years ago, I was living on a very remote island that was accessible most of the year only by helicopter. There was a very small school with something like 50 students K to 12. A couple parents organized a middle/high school cheer leading squad to compete at the district championships.
Unfortunately, things happened so the parents could not complete the training and I got to step in. Understand, I attended a high school that didn't have cheerleaders. It was only as a senior, I transferred to a school that had all the normal sports and cheerleaders.
I think I got the job because I was the only one with any dance background (I had it in college) and I could actually put together something that passed for a dance routine. I had no idea what cheers I could come up with (thank goodness for Youtube), what type of routines you needed for non-dancers (thank goodness for aerobics and basic dance instruction).
I found a nice peppy tune about a princess who had to rescue her prince, paired the moves down to basics such as side-together -side tap or step, step, turn. I threw in the V step and mamba steps from aerobics and a couple others I borrowed from other places. By the time the competition began, they had something beginning with a dance routine, transitioning into cheers and ending with a wobbly pyramid.
It turns out, I was not the only substitute coach. In fact, there were at least three others who ended up as coaches and who had no experience in the sport. One of the gals who was the sub for the sub for the sub for the original coach spent her high school years razzing the cheerleaders. She told me the original coach got a gig judging Miss America in Idaho, her sub got sick, the subs sub had to go to the hospital in labor and she was it.
My girls got some cheering instruction while waiting for the competition to begin. They learned things like the pyramids with standing people, rolling and coming up and all sorts of other things. They came back knowing more than when they left.
No they didn't place first but they weren't last. They ended up sort of in the middle which was terrific. They came back thrilled and so happy. I learned that I can fake it pretty well and actually choreograph a routine without knowing all the rules.
I have never repeated the experience but it memories of it will stay with me for the rest of my life.
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