I’ve been wowed by my granddaughters

I have to admit, this “girl thing” is a whole new experience for me.

Raising two boys was a challenge, indeed, but Diane and I survived the experience and, I believe, came out the other side rather well. Both sons are making their own mark on this world, and I couldn’t be prouder of each of them.

Both have two daughters in their families, and, since two plus two still equals four, even with the new math concepts, I have been blessed with four granddaughters. And let’s just say that, while the experience is one I wouldn’t trade for the world, I have learned it still is possible for a man of 64 to learn new tricks when it comes to them.

For instance, one of them graced me during my recent visit with Wonder Woman apparel. She loves all the junior female superhero stars, thus, she has asked me to assist her in her pursuit of strong, female role models.

My latest quest is to find a female Green Lantern Jessica Cruz doll.

Yes, you just read that correctly … a doll.

By now, I am pretty used to it.

However, I did encounter a first even for me this past weekend.

I sat in a gymnasium in New Baltimore, Ohio, watching a regional majorette/baton competition. I texted my son, who was watching the second tournament basketball game of my oldest granddaughter (I watched her first game at 7:45 a.m.), “I never have seen so many batons.”

Juliet, like all my granddaughters, is carving out her own identity and, in Ohio, that now includes baton twirling. Built like a string bean, she always has excelled at things like dance and gymnastics. Since last year, she has been coached by a high school senior who is being sought after by college band programs across the country as if she were a five-star sports recruit.

And, apparently, both teacher and student are doing rather well together.

Watching Juliet’s routine and marching was pretty darn impressive, even if I am obviously biased. Since beginning this pursuit, Juliet has taken two first places in virtual competitions, the most recent one’s results being learned while Diane and I visited her this past week.

Last Saturday’s competition was her first “live” competitive venture, and she was naturally nervous about it. Butterflies flew in her stomach and some angst was shared the night before. A funny thing happened at the event, though: the more she watched others and, later, spent 15 minutes warming up with her coach, all jitters seemed to disappear.

What I watched during her routine was a confident 6-year-old ready to take on the world. Twirling back and forth between right and left hands, passing the baton between her legs, around her shoulder and down her arms and then the finish — a cartwheel that grabbed the judge’s attention. During her march, her back was straight, her steps pronounced, and her turns crisp.

In the end, she walked away with a first- and second-place finish.

I was happy for her. Majorette competition is taken very seriously in Ohio, as all the high school bands routinely travel with sports teams to away sporting events. The high school girls last Saturday were throwing batons up to the rafters, twirling at unbelievable speeds, and choreographing routines that looked like they just came off Broadway.

I admit I was wowed. I was impressed. Saturday night, I probably counted batons in my head as I fell to sleep, there were that many.

No, it wasn’t the pounding of a football up and down the field or the “swoosh” of a basketball hitting nothing but net, but I have to admit that I enjoyed my first majorette competition.

Somehow, I have this feeling that it won’t be my last.


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