Childrearing

Cheer Perfection: Reality Show On Competitive Cheerleading Exploits Kids In Whole New Way

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competitive cheerleadingIt’s a good thing I’ll be at yoga this evening; otherwise, I may have inadvertently tuned into Cheer Perfection, a reality show about the world of competitive cheerleading that launches tonight on TLC. What’s the big deal, you may wonder? We’re talking about kiddie cheerleading, my friends. And it’s from the producers of Toddlers & Tiaras, meaning the trash factor will be skyscraper high. Oh, and did we mention it stars Alisha Dunlap, who once appeared on Toddlers with daughter Cassadee? Dunlap co-owns Cheer Time Revolution in Sherwood, Arkansas, which is where the series takes place. Lord help us all!

I hate to judge a show before it airs but, um, I just can’t help myself. Can you blame me? Sure, it’s going to be majorly staged. And, yes, there’s definitely a positive side to the industry we won’t be seeing (sadly, “normal” parents enrolling their well-adjusted kids in any type of competition does not translate into high TV ratings). As TLC describes the the “cheer moms:”

Ann, the mother of Torrann, sees herself as the top of the gym’s pecking order. Passionate about winning, her perspective is, “I don’t spend all this money to lose.”Bonnie, new to the gym, is the mother of Alana. She is determined to make Alisha notice her daughter, which could lead to a rivalry with Ann.

Mandy, the mother of Olivia, puts her faith in Alisha to make her daughter a top cheerleader.

Shannon, the mother of Brooke, finds herself caught between her desire to win and her fear for her daughter’s injured back.

The preview alone makes me want to vomit. At one point, Dunlap tells her own daughter, 5-year-old Cambry, “If you fall again, I’m going to replace you.” (Never mind the fact that Cambry has just face planted into the ground in a way that would make any feeling human wince.)

And when these moms speak, you want them shut their mouths immediately. That’s because they say things like this:

“I wasn’t a cheerleader as a child and I don’t see anything wrong with living through your child.”

“Torin played softball this year. And everybody got a trophy. Well, that’s not fun to me. I want to know that my kid is number one.”

“I expect a lot from my daughter.  We spend a lot of money at cheer. And when she [fell during tryouts], I was very upset with her… I expect my daughter to do good.  And that was not going to cut it.”

Need I say more? Honestly, I feel sick for these children; their moms are really something else.

(Photo/Video: TLC)