I do a lot of cheering these days. Soccer games, jog-a-thons, workouts, backyard playing, etc. I’m that gal hooting and hollering, at times a little loudly. I do it because it’s natural – it just kind of wells up in me and to hold back would be to disengage. And I do it because it matters. It makes a difference for me and those around me.
You know the feeling. The moment when you realize that somebody else cares about what you’re doing. Your efforts are noticed. You are not alone. Someone believes in you. It’s good stuff. Game changing stuff.
One of my workout buddies is a 25 year old smart, hilarious, go-getter whose jog pace is my turbo speed. We work out together a few times a week. A few Saturday’s ago we were doing a group circuit workout and hitting a tire with sledgehammers, like you do. The goal was to hit the tire with the sledgehammer as many times as possible in 45 seconds. My young workout buddy was on one side of the tire and I on the other. We were alternating hits – her then I, her then I. And it was tough. We were going hard. At the 20 second mark or so, she said, just loud enough for me to hear, “That’s it. Keep going. You didn’t get to be a 35 year old MILF by just sitting around.” (For the record, I’m still 34.) It made me laugh. Really hard. And it made me push.
Her cheer was a reminder – We’re in this together. I care. I notice. I believe in you.
And for me that matters. It makes swinging a heavy sledgehammer on a Saturday worth it. Because it no longer is about the workout, but instead doing something hard alongside someone else. (And being honored with a MILF title. OMG, kidding.)
When I was younger, I was in a traveling theater group. We performed musicals at theaters around the Greater LA area mostly and even made it to Hawaii once. The first practice of the season, the director would have us stand in a circle and take turns singing a few lines of a song. Ugh. It was the worst part of the whole season. I hated tryouts. So nerve wracking. I’d rather cram myself into a small closet, and I’m terribly claustrophobic. I was in Jr. High and had done a handful of shows with the group when we started Music Man. There we we all stood – about 50 kids elementary to high school aged in a huge circle taking turns singing a bit from The Wells Fargo Wagon. My turn came. I took a few deep breaths, stepped towards the middle of the circle and belted out: Oh oh, the Wells Fargo wagon is a comin’. Oh oh, the Wells Fargo wagon is a comin’. Oh oh, the Wells Fargo wagon is a comin’ down the track oh please let it be for me!
And do you know what happened? That douche bag of a director straight up mocked me. He put his two hands together in front of him like a choir boy and in a high pitched shrill sang the lines back to me. Then he added, “This is Music Man, not the Opera.” And he moved on to the next person in the circle.
Well folks, that was the end of that. I never went back. Because ain’t nobody got time for that shit. Not even tweens.