Monday, January 11, 2010

Emily the Cheerleader

During my long winter break (I’ve been out of school since December 8th) I’ve been able to do some really fun stuff. I went up to Washington DC for New Year’s Eve and rolled in the New Year in style. Our church basketball team started its season with an impressive win against my parent’s home ward. But the most interesting and probably the most fun I’ve had while on break was going to my littlest sister’s high school to see her fulfill one of her dreams of being a bona fide cheerleader!

Emily is a very special individual. She is mentally handicapped, but in spite of her challenges she has managed to teach me more than I could ever hope to teach her. She inspires me, and I couldn’t be prouder to be able to be her brother. She can always make me laugh. Recently she has become infatuated with playing practical jokes on her friends and family. Krystal is her favorite target. She always manages to scare her no matter how many times Emily plays the same trick.

Emily’s special education class was able to form a small basketball team with some of the students playing and others cheering from the sidelines. Emily is really a natural when it comes to basketball! Any shot from 12 feet away from the basket and in is almost always guaranteed to go in. The ward girl’s basketball team has enjoyed having her play with them. When they first started to play other local wards the opposing team would just stand around and let Emily have a free shot at the basket. However, now those open-shots are a rarity as Emily has established herself as a “not-so-secret weapon” and teams guard her just like anyone else because she’ll make every shot if you let her. I thought for sure that Emily would want to play basketball on her school team, but girls will be girls. The second Emily found out that she could be a cheerleader instead of a ball player, she made up her mind that pom poms and a cute skirt were more her style than sweatbands and basketball shoes.

I have to say that I was excited and at the same time a little nervous going to see Emily, the cheerleader, perform. I know that Emily is so very special, but I wasn’t sure how the rest of the students present in the gym would act. I suppose that I feared that the worst in people would come out, and that I’d have to hear the students casually tossing around terrible derogatory names. In all honesty, if I didn’t have the chance to be around Emily all the time, I’d probably slip up too and do the same. However, I was pleasantly surprised and ultimately grateful that the students were compassionate and supportive of their often forgotten classmates. They cheered and clapped when appropriate. There were laughs and snickers, but I felt that the laughter was more of the laughing with than the laughing at sort.

Unfortunately Emily’s school lost the game, but I couldn’t have been more proud of her. She was so great and I couldn’t believe the amount of courage, confidence, and swagger that she had out there on the court. Really what more can I say but that I am so proud to be her brother!


Melanie said...

Awesome! She looks like she is having so much fun. She dances and cheers a lot more than varsity cheerleaders. They should recruit her to teach them a few things.

Heather said...

Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)