Correspondence

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Letter From Florida

The day after Christmas this family took off for the National Cheerleaders Association's High School Cheerleaders National Championship in Orlando, Florida. The National Cheerleaders Association's High School Cheerleaders National Championship is not the kind of event a parent—this parent, anyway—ever anticipates attending. It is the kind of event a parent discovers herself at because of the interests or accomplishments of her child.

I spent three days at this competition in order to see my daughter and her friends, nine girls I like, do a routine lasting exactly two minutes and eight seconds, a routine on which they had worked every day for four months while still maintaining civil relationships with one another—a feat I considered easily as impressive as making it to the National Cheerleaders Association's High School Cheerleaders National Championship in the first place.

These girls went to Florida as competitive novices, the first squad in their school's history to be so chosen. A hint that they might not completely reflect the nature of the event came at the Orlando airport when I saw countless flocks of girls (and a few boys) in coordinated outfits, carrying countless matching, custom-made garment bags, which held countless cheerleading uniforms, shoes, pom-poms, and hair ribbons. Shepherding these girls were countless parents and advisers, most of them attired in their kids'...

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