It’s getting hot in here after yesterday. Let’s cool it down and focus on something sweet and innocent today, shall we?
He became my biggest cheerleader. Literally.
Cheerleading was a big part of my life. It gave me a lot of confidence and made me much more comfortable performing in front of a crowd. I paid (well, my parents did) for private lessons from a Raven’s cheerleader and tumbling classes at a local studio in addition regular practices. Our school had started a competitive traveling squad at the beginning of our senior year. One night I was talking to Eddie about it on the phone.
“How’s the new squad going?”
“Pretty good, although it would be nice if we had just one guy. We’ve been trying a few stunts and the girls just aren’t strong enough yet. When Ken (one of the coaches) does them with us, they go fine. With one guy we could do harder stuff and we would still be able to compete against all-girl squads and we would definitely win. “
“ I’ll do it.”
“What? That’s really not what I meant but that would be pretty awesome. You could travel with us and we’d get to spend a lot more time together. (To be honest, a few of the girls had asked me to talk to him about it, but I didn’t intend to push it on him.) However, you do realize that you will be the laughing stock of the whole school? Everyone is going to make fun of you and the underclassmen will think you’re gay. “
“Let them talk. We both know I’m not gay. Besides, I’d be the only guy in a hotel with hundreds of cheerleaders and it’s like you’re giving me permission to touch other girls’ butts in front of the entire school. Who’s gay now?“
I giggled, “It’s called a chair sit.”
“Whatever. Plus, I’d be a shoo-in for Senior Athlete of the Year, especially if they let me play golf in the spring too. Nobody else would even have the option to do five varsity sports in one year.” (He did volleyball, basketball, baseball, golf, and cheerleading that year.)
“Ok. Come to practice tomorrow and you can talk to Ken. Your dad is not going to love this.”
He came to practice and we tried a basket toss with him. Poor Beth flew so high that she almost hit her head on the rafters of the gym ceiling.
We did win our championship that year.
More importantly, it proved that he was willing to do anything for me. He got teased pretty mercilessly and his parents were not thrilled about their son becoming a cheerleader, but he was a good sport about it.
We ended that conversation like every other, with a poem that had evolved out of a previous phone call when he accidentally said something that rhymed. The prose left a little to be desired, but it meant a lot to us. We said it to each other every single night before we hung up the phone.
“Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite. Have sweet dreams and hold me tight. I love you and good night. “
(He said it to me again just the other night when he called me from Africa. We also hang a painted sign in our master bedroom that says, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” for this very reason.)