Deep laughter rose above the voices of the other cheerleaders seated around me in the back of the old pick up truck. My heart stuck in my throat as I watched the senior varsity football players shove the small freshman player back and forth between them. When I dreamed of being a cheerleader, I never visioned this. I always looked up to the older girls who got to ride in the parade with the football players on the night before our big rival game. Little did I know what happened in the middle of the truck, hidden from the view of those on the outside. But not hidden from my cheer-leading coach who acts like she doesn't see the weaker players being shoved, kicked, and punched.
My stomach rolls with nausea while the football coaches talk among one another as the younger players who practice just as hard as the starters are their target of entertainment and cruelty.
By the time the parade is over, one of the younger players is dazed. His pupils the size of dimes. I would later find out that his mom took him to the emergency room with a concussion. Nothing will ever come of it though. It's just his mom and him. She doesn't have a lot of money or hold position in our town. He's not a spectacular player, just a boy who loves football and works hard. They are nobodies in a small town. I turned in my uniform the next day, ashamed to wear it. I'll never cheer for this team or town again.