The competition season has begun.
The Roo-girl and her compatriots are headed for their first comp on Sunday.
I'll be there, of course -- with my camera and my official team-mom t-shirt and my enthusiasm -- to watch the girls tumble, dance, cheer and GO for it.
The walkup to the start of the season has been an up-and-down affair. Girls who have quit. Girls who have been replaced for health reasons. Girls with skills. Girls without skills. There's no junior varsity team. There IS a junior varsity. They suck. They have amazing raw talent.
Eh. Whatever. I always want the same thing for my girl: a successful experience with something that makes her very happy.
But the drama of the summer and the fall has brought us to an interesting place.
As a little background, let me explain the facts of last year's team. Roo was one of three freshmen invited to compete. There was one junior ... and eight seniors.
Now, you and I can both do the math. When June rolled around, two-thirds of the team ... graduated and was gone.
So this year's team is mostly new. Fresh. Untested.
And very, very green.
Last year, Roo was the green one in a world of varsity advanced. The seniors NEEDED her to step it up -- and they let her know it in no uncertain terms. She had been the best one on her all-star team, and now then she was the worst.
So she learned. She learned new skills and matched the senior flyer step for step, twist for twist.
But at a cost, as she endured a barrage of criticism and torment from her teammates.
This year, she is the experienced one, with a green freshman flyer by her side.
But with a difference.
Tuesday night, the parents of this year's team were invited to watch the girls run through their routine before they take it into competition.
It was the first time they had done it in public, in front of people.
It was a little ragged, but they were pleased with themselves.
Roo groused a little on the way home that she can't do her best skills in the routine because the freshman flyer isn't there ... yet.
"It IS frustrating," she told me. "But I'm being really supportive. I don't want her to feel like I did last year."
Because there's more to cheer than how high you can fly.