Her first unofficial cheerleading tryout

Last week the local Hospice chapter held a benefit staring members of the three-time .. three-time … three-time! national champion Appalachian State Mountaineers. That included appearances by the cheerleading squad. So, of course, we were so there.

Gabby was decked out in your Yosef “dress.” Gavin had on his Appalachian State t-shirt. The wife carried her “consigned to go and be happy about it” face. (Just kidding, she loves stuff like this, I think).

The event was at the Broyhill Inn. Upon our arrival, I thought Gabby would be all about some cheerleaders. But no, she was in full “I’m shy” mode. Wouldn’t even look at them. Gavin, of course, couldn’t keep his eyes off them. (He really wanted to grab some hair).

After about 40 minutes of roaming around and being chased by a giant inflatable Indian chief (don’t ask), Gabby warmed up to some attention. She finally acquiesced to a photo with some of the cheerleaders.

A photography crew was taking the photos ($5 donation per print). I was waiting for Gabby’s group photo when the cheerleaders lined up at one end of the room, facing away from me. They were introduced by the emcee. The cheer coach held a boom box up to the mic and began playing “Hi Hi Yikas.” The short-skirted ones went straight into the fight song cheer.

They hadn’t got more than five kicks into the routine when an unexpected new member joined the group. You can guess who.

I was away from the action, but caught it all. As the cheerleaders danced and cheered, Gabby stood immediately in front of them and spun around dancing too. When the routine ended and the cheerleaders clapped, Gabby stopped and clapped with them. Gabby started to walk away when the emcee said, “It looks like the squad has added a new member!” One of the cheerleaders, Reva, shouted for Gabby to come back. She did, sprinting into her arms and people ooo’ed and ahhh’ed.

I was too late for any photos. But a kind woman busy clicking with her digital camera promised me some copies. These are hers.

I spoke to the cheer coach afterwards and got confirmation that, yes indeed, the annual Appalachian State cheerleading summer camps go ages 4 and up. Gabby has reservations in two years.

One side note to this story. During the fundraiser, about 20 or so football players were present signing autographs. The price was just a $2 donation to Hospice. Among the group was, of course, Armanti Edwards, along with Gary Tharrington and Josh Johnson (all of whom, by the way, have autographed photos hanging in Big G’s room).

I found out the next day that Hospice and the Broyhill had made room for only about 20-something players. They apparently didn’t think too many would show up. Boy, were they wrong. More than 30 players came by to spend a Thursday evening signing autographs for fans at a Hospice fundraider. The overflow were turned away.

Just another example of why I love this program so much.

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