My dad is a massive sports fan. Like, for him, it’s the reason we’re put on this Earth. I don’t think he was ever impressed that his only son was skinny and effete, with no interest in boisterous games of football and rugby.He once forced me into signing up for the school football team, but I got pulverised. I mean, I was by far the worst on the team and everybody knew it.The drive home was so tense. He wouldn’t even speak to me, he was so angry at my ineptitude. I went to bed without us exchanging a word, and tried to sleep with the knowledge that I had so badly let my only parent down.It was about a week after that that he beckoned me into the living room to show me something. He had a video of a football game on the television, unsurprisingly. I was surprised, however, when he told me that it wasn’t the football he was showing me, but the cheerleaders!
He then produced the red and white uniform of our school’s cheerleading team, along with a long blonde wig. I thought he had lost it, and point blank refused. It was then that some of my own friends emerged recruited by him -to hold me down and force me into the tiny jersey, skirt and wig.I struggled, but it was no use. My dad had already enrolled me in the cheerleading team, and, being short on members, they were happy to have me. The girls taught me the cheers, how to my makeup, and, actually, how much fun cheering can be.I failed to impress him as a man, just like I failed at being one. But now it makes me so happy being able to cheer on the footballers that my dad loves so much. He finally respects me as an athlete.He’s been suggesting that I take steps to ‘commit’ to my girlhood.Apparently he really would rather have an athletically impressive daughter than a football failure son.