Sunday, October 9, 2011

Horror at the Hometown Parade

We looked forward all day to participating in the hometown parade. Helping coach the youngest of the cheerleaders has been big fun and as we approach the end of our season with only one game left now, the parade was going to be one of the bittersweet final activities of our season.

We had candy, we had our signs, we had lots of tiny girls ready to ride in the parade. Homecoming queens of various sizes were perched atop cool cars, various high school classes had worked hard all week creating floats and the band could be heard throughout the small town. Excited football players and excited fans with adrenaline pumping, had heart rates elevated.

I was curious as to our transportation method since I saw no trucks with trailers saying "C-Team Cheerleaders". I finally asked our Head Coach when she pointed to a firetruck....ABSOLUTE PANIC set in.

Um, I get queasy doing a cartwheel so there's no way I'm climbing onto a very tall vehicle that moves and turns over has no seat belts or safety rails with about 20 squirmy children. My blood pressure (already too high from cold meds) soars to probably near stroke levels when I have no shame in telling her she's insane.

Thinking quick on my feet, I see a way out. There's a couple of girls nearly in tears as she told them they were to ride atop this massive red engine. I immediately told them, "Oh honey, you don't have to ride, Mrs. Blakely will walk with you behind the firetruck." They smiled and I was their hero.

As the girls started going up, one after the other, I saw one scared child who I thought I could count on, go up and find a spot on the firetruck, then another and another. What's wrong with these kids? I thought they were smart, I thought I could count on them. And just like that, I was left alone. Obviously I wasn't gonna walk by myself, there were some crazy 7th graders behind us and I was more scared of them than the height of the truck so after some baby talk coaxing from a fireman, I climbed. It took me four large steps to get up there. Once I up, I couldn't move. I screamed the little girls in a demonic voice, "Quit movin' DON'T MOVE!!"

One scared child had her hand clinched around my collar bone, and that was fine. I was using her for stability as much as she was using me. The sirens roared and we were mobile. My feet were pressed against the side of the truck and nothing moved other than my lungs and my heart. My eyes darted quickly behind dark shades and I'm sure fear was stamped across my face.

As we made our way through the parade, I loosened up enough to wave at a few random people. The girls were throwing candy but I continued to shout, "Sit down, don't move!!" as I never lost complete fear. The parade was over in about 30 seconds since our town is so small but then I faced to worst part of the ride...climbing the massive hill to get back to our starting point. We were moving straight up a hill and our bodies were shifting back. The Head Coach assured me I wasn't gonna drop to my bloody death and we were all safely returned.

That's me next to the yellow arrow holding on for dear life

The girls were fantastic and once I realized it was over and I was OFF the thing, I decided it was actually pretty safe. Our top speed was about 2 mph and I'm kinda glad I manned up and just did it. Whew, two days later, my blood pressure has finally lowered a bit and thank the Lord I didn't know about the whole firetruck thing before I arrived...I likely would have been too sick to attend!!!

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