This is the true story of two sisters. The older girl loved cheerleading. She played and competed on a touring troop for years. Her parents even drove the family long distances to stay overnight for competitions. The younger sister had a physical condition that had over the years, compromised her speech and often lead to people incorrectly concluding that she had mental retardation. The younger girl wanted to be just like her sister, and so she wanted to be in the same program for cheerleading as her older sibling.
After a few weeks of trying, the coach in charge of the younger troop of cheerleaders, came to the girl’s mother and explained that things just weren’t working out. "I don’t want to have your daughter on the team. I can’t be putting forth an inferior product.." Now the mother protested at this rather cold assessment of a girl not yet out of first grade. She pointed out that the older daughter had been a loyal participant for years and that they had put a lot of money and time into having her sister participate in cheerleading. The coach shook her head. The mother tried an emotional appeal; they just wanted to be in cheerleading and the younger one thought it was fun. The coach however, was unmoved. The younger daughter had to go.
Thus, it was with a heavy heart that the mother withdrew her younger daughter and told her, she would no longer be participating in cheerleading like her sister. Upon hearing that her sister had been ousted from the team, the older one, who was ten, promptly announced that she would resign from the team. "But you love cheerleading." Her mother reminded her. "So did my sister." She responded. The mother went over all the reasons why she didn’t have to quit and why she perhaps shouldn’t, but the sister refused to change her mind, and so the mother called the coach to give her daughter’s decision.
When she got the news, the coach called back and wanted to know why this very talented highly decorated member of her team was quitting. "You love cheerleading. I know you do." The coach insisted.
"Yes," the girl replied, "But I love my sister more."
Cheerleading is about keeping people’s spirits up, even when the team is down. It’s about heart and spirit and enthusiasm and encouragement. The older sister may not be a member of a team at the moment, but she has the heart of a cheerleader. Her sacrifice is both little and big. It reveals great love, great self sacrifice and great generosity of spirit in a little act. Her parents didn’t coach her to say these things, she said these things because she felt them, and because she was willing to allow love to color her answer to an otherwise thorny problem. She answered with the gentle wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
How many of us would give up something we love doing for the sake of another? If you want to see Christ’s love revealed, the great willingness to engage in self sacrifice illustrated by the older sister is something we should all seek to emulate. What would the world look like, if all our actions were motivated by "But I love my sister more." type thinking?
This was the act of a true sister, a true Christian, and a Real Cheer Leader.
Copyright 2009 Sherry Antonetti
About the Author
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic published author, freelance writer and part-time teacher. She lives with her husband and 10 children just outside of Washington, DC, where she's busy editing her upcoming book, A Doctor a Day, to be published by Sophia Institute Press. You can find her other writings linked up at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain! or on Amazon.