The Sport of Pom (PHOTOS)
It has been a while since I saw the Quince Orchard Poms bring out the “Junior Cougar Poms” to join them in a public halftime routine. It’s always an enjoyable halftime show. It brings back memories.
Last Friday, the end zone was full of Moms with cameras, preschoolers, grade school aged girls all in a line being watched over by guardian QO Pom instructors – it was crazy and I could not gather them all for a pre-show picture. It all seemed too déjà vu familiar. It was almost show time.
Doc, start up that DeLorean and punch in a date for the spring of 1991 and let’s go back to the future.
It’s a gym somewhere in the DMV and my six-year old daughter and I are sitting in a row of bleachers. I am pinch-hitting for my wife at this “baton twirling” competition for girls aged 5 to 18. I have a powered hair dryer in one hand and a brush in the other. My daughter is now screaming “daddy your doing it all wrong” as big crocodile tears begin to well up in her eyes.
Just as those tears wet the wooden bleacher four team moms come rushing up to my daughter’s aid. One grabs the brush from my hand and the others begin to primp and form her hair and do her makeup just right. My daughter smiles and I am dismissed to looking on at the event from the top row. She and her team twirlers did just fine at the meet. I learned that day this type of competition is a BIG thing for daughters and their moms.
Doc, punch up March 2004.
Thirteen years of practicing dance moves, marching in place, makeup, hairdo-overs, music programming, bump and grind moves, early morning practices, handstands, splits, disappointments, always smiling at the judges and then managing 20 teenage girls every move during four years of varsity Poms, it’s all about to pay off. My daughter and her two Quince Orchard co-captains rush out to grab the tall trophy.
Ok Doc, tap a Christmas Day dinner between 2005 to say 2015, anyone – it’s your pick.
We finish dinner and one of us in the family goes downstairs to locate the CD video of that 2004 Pom routine. We power up the CD/DVD player (remember those) and sit and watch the entire winning routine. Then it begins.
“Ah, Poms is not a sport” usually a prompt by my son or devilishly by me to get my daughter’s goat. We all take turns defending our positions, that how can a sport be based on judging, or to counter all the work and concentration similar to synchronized swimming, or how come there is no next level to the sport, etc. We laugh, we scream, we slow-mo the CD, we call friends to bolster our positions.
It usually ends like this, “so who can claim the title ‘state champion’ – can you? That’s right, I am a state champion, so says the state of Maryland, check out that banner hanging in the QO gym and the trophy in the case”. My son can only claim All-County in Baseball – he leaves the subject and then it’s onto something else like Maryland basketball or the Redskins. We all laugh and cry and remember those good times.
Now, I am not a Pom judge but don’t think for one moment that I don’t know what I am looking at when a Pom team takes the floor. I can tell when someone missed a step, or a group is out of sync, or turned the wrong way, or who does not smile, or can’t hold onto the Pom properly. The first question my wife has for me after I return home from photographing a basketball game is, “how were their Poms?” I have to provide a critique before I summarize the basketball game results.
Yeah, I got good at it.
Doc, let’s now go back to last Friday night half time at the QO Pom routine.
I am on the sidelines lying flat on my stomach at the 50-yard line. Moms are all grouped behind the benches watching only their daughter’s and occasionally the entire routine. Cheerleaders are yelling encouragement. Even some people with cameras are walking back and forth trying to cover the entire line of junior Poms that stretch 25 yards in either direction from the 50 and are 4 rows deep.
Damn, that’s a lot of Poms.
In less than 4 minutes I snapped off 250 photos. I was looking for those having fun; and those who may one day be champions. There were a lot of both out there.
Oh by the way, Quince Orchard defeated Churchill 49-0 in football. It was a blowout.
Doc, you can park that DeLorean now.