So a strange thing happened Friday. I traveled several hundred miles to sit in an uncomfortable plastic seat, surrounded by several hundred pushy parents in front of blaring loud speakers. And I did it to watch high school competitive dance for nearly nine hours… NINE HOURS. But that wasn’t the strange part, my oldest daughter was preforming with her high school dance team at our state competition. The strange part was that at some point as I sat there trying to wrap my mind around the fact that this was going to be the next several hours of my life, I began to enjoy it.
I watched my youngest daughter sit next to her big sis and hold a mirror to help her get ready… like they were sitting next to each other and there was no yelling, no eye-poking, no fighting. Just our daughters sitting there, seemingly enjoying each other’s presence.
Then there was the dancing. Seeing these teams not just compete against one another but also cheering for their opponents, that was pretty awesome. Plus the routines were good. Admittedly, being able to point out whether or not somebody has tripped is about the extent of my judging expertise, however, I do know some good dancing when I see it.
Now, it wasn’t all rainbow piss and unicorn poop. There was that a-hole adult who stole my youngest daughter’s seat and then refused to give it up… even after I called her out on it. That was a real jerk move. The kind of jerk move that makes that weird vein on the side of my head stick out. The kind of move that makes an otherwise sensible, mild mannered, balding man almost lose his shit because… why… WHY would you be a jerk to my kid? Seriously, do you really want to unleash that crazy? Oh, and let’s just take a moment to be thankful that it did not happen in front of my wife. Sure, she may put up a nice front, tell ME to calm down and not make a scene in situations like this. But if you want to see a special kind of crazy… like punching an express ticket downtown to crazy-town crazy, then go ahead and cross mama bear.
But that aside (because I am clearly over it, except the opposite) it was actually a really great day. My daughter’s team did great, they were runners up in their division for the high kick category… less than a tenth of a point from the state championship! But more importantly than the results was watching my daughter perform. There is a different kind of pride that I experienced watching her performance. I mean there is, of course, the obligatory feelings that come along with being a parent. That deeper love and caring for someone other than yourself that you hear people talk about but never quite experience until you actually have children. But this was different than those feels. This was watching my child follow her dream. Hers. Dance is certainly not anything that I ever pushed her towards. If she was following my dream she’d be training for her pro wrestling debut in a city near you. Ugh, thankfully she is not doing that, I’m full of terrible ideas. But dance is hers… and she is great at it. There is something really, really amazing about watching your child chase their dream and excel at it. All of those early summer mornings forgoing sleep to train. The long days of practice, then school, then more practice. A lot was sacrificed, but then to be able to watch all of it come together and to see the satisfaction and joy that all of the hard work has brought. That… THAT is the best!
Holy shit, did I just become a dance dad?