Cheer Strife & Disappointment

Coaching is hard. Even when it's "just kids". Maybe especially when it's "just kids" - the intensity of training may not be as hard core, but you are molding & shaping young minds, attitudes, & habits for the rest of their lives. It's a big responsibility, and one both JB & I take very seriously. We do not commit to anything we cannot give 100% to, and we believe one of the most important lessons we can teach our kids is accountability.

Not everyone feels this way. Some families take the stance that it's better to join as many things as their kids want to get a taste of and think it's OK to split time & miss practices here & there to make it all fit. As much as that is a foreign concept to us, we have learned that it is very much the norm for some families.

This conflict of philosophies led to a pretty horrific last week and the very first time I have ever been involved in public FB drama. To say it was hurtful is a gross understatement; it's taken me a full week to muster the intestinal fortitude to talk about it here. Long story short: a football mom, who we REALLY thought was our friend, decided to publically slam JB on FB last Friday morning for having Wednesday night practices, *before* they could have the meeting Friday night that SHE scheduled to talk it out, (after blowing him off twice to discuss this the previous week.) I will *not* repost her disrespectful words here, but as another cheer mom who read it (who doesn't know her at all) said, "It was the most childish, hate-filled, personal attack I have ever seen!" To use the language she so publically did (she utilizes no privacy settings) and to claim that she was, at the same time, taking a stand for Christ made me (& everyone who talked to me about it) cringe. She played the "JB doesn't love Jesus" card: their youth group starts at 6:45, and practice doesn't end until 7. Are you kidding me? If nothing could be worked out, (not that she allowed that opportunity,) is it not more rational to leave practice 15 minutes early every week, instead of publically losing control to try to make a point that was never the actual issue? It breaks my heart...

She's had our schedule since *MAY* (her son also played 7-on-7 with us) and just brought this up, after we were two full weeks into practice & everyone else on the team already built their fall schedules around it. To have her create this much drama simply b/c she couldn't have been bothered to read the schedule & say something back in May? Or even June or July? Before the rest of the team all built their fall schedules around this? And to blow up at least two friendships publically over it? Before talking it out like she initially asked? I am still stunned... (For the record, there was an option for cheer practice to be on Wednesdays, too. I asked ALL the parents including her to tell me if anyone had conflicts, and SHE SAID NOTHING back then in July re: Wednesdays, either. *sigh*)

The true kicker is that JB WAS TOTALLY WILLING to work something out and maybe even change the Wednesday practices, if the rest of the team would be on board, (not just changing for one person out of 18,) but now? No one wants to work with someone who acts like a bully. And the saddest part of all this is that I WAS ON HER SIDE RE: WEDNESDAY PRACTICES!!!!! (That's always been a church night to me, even though our current church offers stuff randomly all week instead and doesn't have Wednesday night supper.) JB & I had been talking for several weeks about how & if it would be worth it to potentially change the day, (but so many players have conflicts on other days.) If she would have come to me as the friend I really thought she was and said, "Hey, can you help me talk to your husband about this? It's really important to us," I would have been her biggest champion. I was already on her side. She blew herself up with an embarrassingly hateful public personal attack, has lost several friendships so far over it, has made herself look crazy in the eyes of many of our mutual friends, and has cheated her son out of something he's not only good at but that he loves. All to have a grade-school hissy fit. I still can't shake how hurtful this has been.

We have poured everything we have into this football team and cheer squad - JB digging out of a huge hole created by the awful coach last year, and me completely from scratch. For someone we thought was a close friend to publically slam JB and question our faith by using such rude words, instead of talking it out (or at least trying to first) like a rational adult makes my head spin and my heart ache.

Needless to say, she pulled her son from the team. She hasn't had the decency to tell me she's also pulling her two girls from the cheer squad; but I know that she is, b/c the mom of the one friend they recruited to cheer with them finally emailed today (after just not showing up for a week) saying she was quitting, too, b/c of this mom. How sad. Her daughter was really precious. (They don't get a refund from the league either; I don't know that I'd give up having invested that much $$$ for someone else's embarrassing debacle.)

To say I've taken all of this pretty personally is painfully obvious. :-P I've just never been through a public attack on my family, esp. not at the hands of a friend, and ESP. not when we've been up to our eyeballs for months working to make this be something stellar.

BUT, as always, God is working it out for our good! [Romans 8:28] B/c her FB profile is public, all of my friends (even who don't know her) saw what she posted, and the way they leapt to our defense was one of the most faith-affirming experiences I've ever had! I was bowled over. The amazing words my friends shared helped heal the stab wounds this former friend had left in my heart. They all kept posting, texting, private messaging, and emailing that anyone who knows me wouldn't question my love for Jesus, that it's reflected in my daily life...and honestly? Hearing that people see that kind of witness in me was worth the initial heartache.

Also, I'm left now with 17 girls instead of 20...and 17 was supposed to be the league cut off this year. It's not only easier on me, but it also seems a little...meant to be? While I still feel sick over this - not only the public slam but the loss of someone who I truly believed was my friend, I *lovelovelove* the affirmations God has given us, and I love that my other 17 girls are passionate about our squad!

Our practice Tuesday night was shortened due to thunder (no rain) ...but over HALF of the squad stayed to hang out when they did *NOT* have to (I released everyone) & practiced our cheers under a safe portico! BURSTING WITH FALCONS CHEER PRIDE!

[Edited to add: the squad does not know about the altercation. The two other cheer moms who are also football moms (& my FB friends) do, but I didn't bring anyone else into this last week. I didn't want to poison our squad with negativity, and in case the ex-friend's girls *did* keep cheering, I didn't want anyone (but me) feeling that mom's presence as toxic. Protecting those girls is priority #1. Even Will & Annelise have no idea what went down.]


  1. Maybe this all happened for the best, because since it happened at the beginning of the season, now neither of you will have to deal with this negative person for the remainder of the season.

    I was also thinking about how social media has changed the world...imagine this situation 5-10 years ago, pre-FB. Maybe it was a blessing that it happened in such a public way, to show her true colors.

    As far as accusing another person of being "less Christian" than them, it goes without saying that no human being can *ever* make that judgement. The one making that judgement is God (or whatever you happen to call them), and anyone who knows anything about religion should understand that basic concept. I always question those who make comments like that, and claim it to be on the grounds of their superiority in religious virtue.

    Of course, the ones I feel most sorry for are her kids (not to mention their friends!). It's one thing when an adult does something stupid, but it's completely unacceptable when their poor behavior affects innocent children, let alone sets such a horrible example to them.

    From the patron saint of our church, this quote below comes to mind. I feel like this woman acted so selfishly, not out of love for her children and what was best for them, and never considered how her actions would impact them. You and John always kept the kids first and acted out of love and caring for them, not causing them undue stress or harm by dragging them into the drama.

    “Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.”
    ― St. Thérèse de Lisieux

  2. I really admire your desire to remain silent and trust God with the outcome. My girls and I have said numerous time how much we admire your positive, joyful outlook on life! It really is contagious. Reading some of your blog and FB posts has made me realize how important it is to focus on the positive things in life.

  3. Thank you both so much.

    Heather, I *am* glad it happened before the games begin, and I'm definitely glad it happened publically, b/c honestly - it would have hurt way more not to have the support of people who love us.

    Kellie, I can't tell you what it means to hear you say that. I am so thankful to have you & your family in my life!!!


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