During my lunch, or more appropriately, when I’m working out, I’ll torture myself by watching Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. It’s a TV show on CMT about the most famous cheerleading team and their journey to making the squad. More often than not, when a girl gets cut, through mascara tears she’ll exclaim, “Everything happens for a reason.”
And before I get to the point of this post, I have a small rant. I can’t believe these girls are being told they are fat when they are fit or even under weight. But my main issue is a girl feeling the need to quit her job to make the team. As Sarah pointed out recently, they don’t make enough money to live on, it’s just cheerleading y’all! Okay, rant over.
Whenever I hear “this happened for a reason” or “it’s all part of the plan” it makes me think of trying out for the cheerleading squad in middle school. As you are probably aware, trying out for 30 minutes in my Catholic school gymnasium with plastic bleachers is very comparable to competing on a national TV show where girls have danced and cheered for decades.
I put on my all white ASICS and tied my hair in a high ponytail. I remember the “veterans”, the older girls that were on the team last year that taught us the routine. They were teaching us the steps, and I felt pretty confident about it. That week I practiced over at my friends house and we jumped on the trampoline to practice our herkies. On Friday we filed into the gym and I applied vaseline to my teeth to help keep up my smile. I was in one of the first groups to go and was thrilled about it. I wanted to get it over with and get the hell out of there.
The night after tryouts the list of who made it would go up on the gymnasium door. This also happened to be the same night of a dance mixer we had with a nearby school. My girlfriends and I piled into my Dad’s minivan, our hair pinned back, our lips slick with gloss, and I was wearing some pink outfit that didn’t make much sense:
I’ve always had a thing for pink. #Nailedit
We arrive at the school and hustle over to the list of names.
I didn’t make it.
I remember reading the list and it became the only thing I could see. The tears streaming I could tell my Dad had a slight smile on his face. Luckily, most of my friends didn’t make it either. In fact, there was only one of the girls in my group that did.
Those of us that didn’t make it decided that we’d try out for the dance team. The dance team was always considered second best. But this year the uniforms were different and they were incorporating more hip hop.
I did make that team.
I went on to dance all throughout middle school, high school, college and even went back to my same middle school and was the coach of the same dance team I considered second best all those years ago. After I made the team, my Dad told me that he was happy I didn’t make it, that he just didn’t care much for cheerleading. I’m glad I didn’t either.
Looking back, I kind of feel like there must have been a reason I didn’t make that cheerleading squad. I wouldn’t have danced so many years, or been as close with the girls I still call my best friends now (4 of the girls in my wedding were on the dance team in middle school.)
But that’s just not the case. Things happen, because they happen. You can take those experiences and turn them into positive ones by seeing the good that came out of it. I don’t think God, or whoever you believe in, comes down and picks on you or is trying to teach you a lesson. I think life is a lesson. Things happen and you can either learn from them, or not. I want to try to learn from what happens so I choose to look at the positive.
But if you didn’t make the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading Team for a reason, maybe it’s that you’re supposed to dance. Or find a career. Or maybe just eat delicious food and not worry about how you look in the uniform. Who knows.
Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? Or do we make our own destiny?