This week, I met a lady from a small town near here. We were in a cheerleading shop (I help out there) and she started talking about her daughters competing in dance and cheer and that they had just come from a national competition. She said they got cheated out of their win, which made me inwardly roll my eyes and think that I had a “cheerleading mom” on my hands. I’ve worked with skating moms, soccer moms, acting moms and all kinds of moms who are living through their children, but that’s another story.

This mom’s daughter was competing in an 11 and under group at a competition in Kansas City. The group that beat them had some girls that she said looked older than 11, but the coach didn’t want to put up the $200 it would cost them to challenge them. Later that evening, the coach was in a restaurant, seated next to some of the girls on the winning team. They started talking and the coach asked one of the girls how old she was. The girl, not realizing she was talking to a coach, said she was 17, but her coach said to say she was 11. There were other 17 years olds on the team, too. Needless to say, the other team has gone back and challenged the win. The winning team is now bragging on their website that they are national champions, which further aggravates the other team, especially the parents who spent a lot of time and money to get the girls to that competition.

I can’t tell you how appalling this is to me as a grandmother, mother, person. What kind of parents let their kids work with a coach who teaches the kids to cheat? What kind of coach wants to win so badly that she teaches kids to lie? What 17 year old would feel comfortable competing against 11 year olds? I know I would have known that was wrong when I was 17. I was in college when I was 17 and 11 year olds were in grade school, for heaven’s sake. The women of my generation fought so hard for girls to be able to compete in sports for this? Not that it doesn’t happen in all kids’ sports, I’m sure.

My family is very competitive, but we try to play fair and teach our children right from wrong. I don’t want to sermonize here because the story speaks for itself, but come on, parents! Teach your children to do the right thing. How else are we going to make this a better world for the next generations?

This photo I found to illustrate this is perfect. Note the name of the team – Madness. My state of mind over this…

Annual Maryland Cheerleading and Dance Championship