Adventures of a Reluctant Cheer Mom…Wendy Does Zumba…

Note: This is a continuation of a series I started last year during cheer competition season.  Read the first two installments here and here.

Last night, I was dragged  went to a Zumba fundraiser for Hope’s cheerleading team at her school.  Everyone I know who’s tried Zumba raves about it: “It’s so much fun!”  We were told to arrive early, because there’d be a line (there wasn’t).  We paid our five dollars, and got a small piece of paper to write our names on to win a free Zumba class.  Hope wasted no time telling me that she wasn’t going to stand beside me.  “I don’t know you,” she declared.  Apparently, my old blue T-shirt and navy yoga pants (slightly wrinkled) weren’t up to her standards (she should be thankful I didn’t opt for shorts – I haven’t shaved my legs in a few months)!  I did drag out my brand new white Dr. Scholl’s (“I’m gellin'”) sneakers for the occasion!  Nobody else had those!

 I used to work out three times a week…those days are long gone.  Let’s just say I’m no “Skinny Minnie”…the only exercise I get now is walking between the computer and the refrigerator, and chewing.  I love to dance, but I make it up as I go along, much to my children’s horror (I tried to learn the tango once…it was a disaster)!  Looking around the room, I was happy not to be the oldest one there (I was 37 when I had Hope)…some of the cheerleaders had brought their grandmas along.  There was even one cheer dad, whose belly hung far over the waist of his shorts…I really hoped he didn’t have a heart attack during the class!

 As the cheer moms and girls milled about, sizing up the competition waiting for the class to start, we were approached by one of the Zumba instructors…she was about my age and carried a clipboard.  Attached to the clipboard, there was a waiver releasing the Zumba people, the event organizers, the cheerleading team, the school, the school board, and God, from any liability should anyone incur an injury.  This should have raised warning bells for me, but I quickly signed the paper with both mine and Hope’s names (I even remembered to give the pen back!).

At this point, I noticed that both Zumba instructors had little streamers attached to their pants at various points…I wondered why, but kept my curiosity to myself.  The woman who had the clipboard also had something around her hips that I’d seen belly dancers wear:

She wore something like this (photo from Henry G Dance Accessories)...

Finally, it was time for the class.  The older instructor gave us a bit of a rundown about Zumba, and stressed that it takes three or four classes to get comfortable doing it (I beg to differ).  The younger instructor, a tall blonde about nineteen, told us to line up…adults on one side, and kids on the other.  I made sure there was lots of space around me.  Then the hell music started.  Remember the eighties, when aerobics were all the rage?  I used to imitate the aerobics instructors, and my kids would laugh themselves silly!  Picture aerobics, with dance music (salsa instead of disco)…that’s what we were trying to do doing.

Just when I’d just about have the routine figured out (usually halfway through the song), it would change!  I refrained from jumping, as I didn’t want to put an eye out damage my bad knees.  I was clapping at the wrong time, going left instead of right, and flailing my arms helplessly.  My hips refused to move the way the young nymph instructor’s did…if a priest had seen the way she was throwing her booty around, he would have performed an exorcism on the spot (when I was relating this to Jim, he regretted his decision to stay home)!  Those streamers on her pants were horizontal!  When she told us to “shimmy,” I didn’t even try! 

Three songs in, I was breathless, and in desperate need of oxygen water.  Filling my water bottle up beforehand would have been an excellent idea (I had about a quarter bottle left from work).  I waited until the end of the fourth song before hauling my butt across the floor getting my water from my purse (which I’d conveniently left in the far corner of the gym).  I downed it in one gulp!

Luckily, I wasn’t the only one having difficulty…several of the other moms were looking a little winded and bewildered (although the seventy-year-old behind me was whooping it up)!  I hoped that most of them were concentrating hard enough on watching the instructors that they wouldn’t notice how badly I was doing!  Hope, however, could see everything from across the room…if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be alive to write this!

The event was scheduled to end at 7:30, but the drill sergeants instructors kept on going.  At 7:40, I dragged Hope out the door…Anna had to be at her school for a dance in 20 minutes!  For once, I was thankful for extracurricular activities!  In the van, Hope told Jim and Anna about how badly I’d embarrassed her.  Kaylee called on my cellphone to confirm that I was still alive. 

I really hope we didn’t win the free class…I know some of you guys think Zumba is “fun”, but I’ll stick to walking and riding my bike!      





Filed under satire, self-discovery

58 responses to “Adventures of a Reluctant Cheer Mom…Wendy Does Zumba…

  1. Thanks for a good laugh! The whole concept of a Zumba fundraiser sounds totally sadistic. Why can’t they just sell brownies?

  2. Holly

    Glad I’m not alone Wendy! I tried it a few months ago and I felt ridiculous the entire time.

  3. I think I’ll stick to my freestyle, wild-woman type of dancing. But the wordsmith in me loves to say Zumba. Zum-BAH! Zooooooom-ba.


  4. Kaylee

    I still remain entirely disappointed that no video footage of said event exists.

    On that note, I’m about to follow in your footsteps and try out the Zumba game for the Wii. I prefer to embarass myself in the comfort of my own home.

  5. Oh, Wendy–
    sounds fun and terrible, all at the same time…
    I have been wanting to try a Zumba class…but maybe not???

    I am super uncoordinated…it scares me…
    kudos to you for swinging your hips to the salsa beat!

  6. A Zumba Fundraiser? A ZUMBA fundraiser?! Take my VISA card and my checkbook and all the cash I have in my wallet. Let me go home. And take a nap. I applaud you. You are my Zumba Hero.

  7. See, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I really don’t even know what Zumba is…Guess I don’t get out of the woods often enough..LOL

  8. The Hipster

    The Zumba classes at my gym are only offered on weekdays at 10 am or so. I take this as a sign that it’s not for me. Good for you for giving it a shot!

  9. Jess Witkins

    Well, this comment may boot me out as an honorary member of your succulent bookworms, but my best friend is a zumba instructor and I love her classes! lol. She is however very good at instructing all experience level classes and making it comfortable to move at your own pace. And she lets her groups do freestyle in some songs!

  10. Omigosh! This is hilarious! I haven’t tried Zumba yet, but I have very persistent friends who keep telling me that I will love it. Now I know that I will. Feel free to cross that out. Because I am pretty sure that I mean nobody wants to see that red hot mess. 😉

    Adding you to my blogroll immediately!

    • I’m sure you will love it, Rene…you’re of that young, hip (probably coordinated) crowd which embraces this stuff (you know…the people who vote for Princess Bride instead of Ghost…LOL!). Thanks for adding me to your blogroll! Wendy

  11. Hilarious, Wendy! And so affirming. I was a misfit at aerobics classes, and, per your experience, I would clearly be a “stand-out” in a Zumba class.

    I’m so happy, too, to learn that chewing counts for exercise. Between that and the raising-the-chocolate-to-the-mouth arm pumping, I hardly think I needed to start the walking I was going to start back in January.

    • “A standout”…what a PC way to put it, AA! Oh…I forgot about actually raising the food to the mouth…I wonder how heavy the bag of chips has to be to build up bicep strength? Glad to see you back! Happy packing! Wendy

      • For the muscle burn I don’t get from the chip bags, I make up for with the syrup bottle for my pancakes. Anytime you need tips on toning with food and its packaging, just let me know.

        Thanks for the good wishes, Wendy! Much appreciated.

  12. Wendy, I almost wish you HAD won the Zumba class, just to hear more about your adventures with Zumba dancing. I’m in stitches!
    I have a friend who has become a big Zumba nut and she is now an official instructor! I almost have to go out of my way to avoid her these days so as not to become one of her followers. It’s like a cult, if you ask me. And me? I prefer the old-fashioned exercise that, unlike aerobics, never goes out of style: Walking! 🙂

    • Thanks, Monica…glad my complete ineptness can provide some entertainment! It really is like a cult…it’s the “Let’s Get Physical” trend of the 80’s repeating itself with different music! The only benefit I can see from Zumba is that it’s supposed to burn 500 calories an hour (although I used to burn 300 calories in half an hour on the treadmill, and there wasn’t anybody laughing at me there!). If you are somewhat coordinated, it could be fun for you! Wendy

  13. thejaggedman

    Great post Wendy! This post is a well cut and polished gem (I snorted, which is hard to get me to do, more than once)! The only exercise I get is jumping to conclusions and throwing fits so I applaud you for going the extra mile in support of the family. As far as shimming goes belly dancers do that a little more subtlety than your instructor because they want to catch an eye not put one out.

    • Thanks, JM…glad my post was “snortworthy” (as my friend Murr’s blog certainly is!). I try not to throw too many fits, but I’m very good at jumping to conclusions (as long as I don’t jump too hard or too fast – bad knees, you know). Thanks for stopping by again…I’ll be over to visit your place! Wendy

  14. That’s the Zumba class I should sign up for. I don’t want one where I’m the only one in need of oxygen. Funny post, Wendy. Glad you made it through your lesson and now you can say you Zumba…♥ Diane

  15. Maybe you were the only one who was getting it right and those around you were wrong 🙂 I have thought it would be fun to take a class after all of Sunshine in London’s posts on Zumba.

    One of my favorite pasttimes is embarassing my children at every opportunity. They are such easy targets. Keep up the good work. It will make them stronger in the end. Blessings, Jeanne

    • That’s exactly it, Jeanne…I was doing the Zen form of Zumba: “the calm, controlled, let’s not throw out any essential body parts” version of it (also the “let’s do the exact opposite of what the instructor’s telling us to do” version)…

      Don’t take my word for it, though…give it a shot! You’re probably more coordinated than I am…you drive a plane for heavens sake! I live to embarrass my children… Hugs, Wendy

  16. Ah, Wendy, you’ve made my day! From your description, I wouldn’t have fit into that Zumba class at all — thank goodness, I had a son, not a daughter. He’d have never dragged me to something like that — sports competitions, maybe, but no Zumba. Glad you made it out alive, but I’ll bet you felt it the next day!

    • Thanks, Debbie…I’m glad to have been the guinea pig for you! Definitely stick to watching basketball games…just don’t forget to pack a seat cushion! I actually didn’t feel too bad yesterday, although I remembered my abs which I lost a few years ago… Thanks for reading! Wendy

  17. Oh Wendy, this is so funny! At least you can cross Zumba off your list now and officially never do it again. Ever. And it gave you something else hilarious to write about!
    I love it, as you know, and can’t wait to go to my class every week.
    Sunshine xx

  18. jacquelincangro

    A for effort Wendy! Cross that one off your list. For-Ever.

    I resemble your remarks. The only dance move I’m officially approved to do is the electric slide.

  19. “My hips refused to move the way the young nymph instructor’s did…if a priest had seen the way she was throwing her booty around, he would have performed an exorcism on the spot.” That’s good stuff, Wendy.

    A bunch of ladies I work with do Zumba. It’s a big deal around here.

    I thought Zumbas were those hands-free vacuums.

  20. I feel your pain, Wendy. I’m sorry for your pain. But good God, this was funny, hysterical, and worth the pain and suffering to have written something so off the chart funny. You are always funny, but this one was especially so. Sorry, Wendy, but more Zumba is in order. I feel Zumba series in your future!

  21. You captured it perfectly! I’ve been to Zumba (never again) and it’s just like you described (minus the glaring Hope across the room — you get extra points for surviving that!).

    After the first class I went up to the instructor just to thank her (a habit) and as we chatted I mentioned I had two kids. Her eyes widened and she said, “Wow. You look great. For someone — who’s had two kids.”


    I give you a lot of credit for trying this crazy class! White Dr. Scholls and all. “Nobody else had those.” Hysterical.

  22. Katybeth

    Well you are way ahead of me…I had no idea what Zumba was and I thought I had either chaired or attended every fund raiser on earth–I don’t got rhythm so this is one trend I am going to pass on.
    I think you should get the good sport award! The prize–you don’t have Zumba ever again.

  23. Thanks for the sympathy, Katybeth! I do have rhythm, just not the same rhythm that Zumba seems to require! I will happily never Zumba again!


  24. Beyond a certain age (8-year-old), no good comes from dancing in public.

  25. Oh poor you! I would have died or simply stormed out. I am EXTREMELY uncoordinated. I cannot do any line dance or square dance or one of those dances where people dance in a group (before Flash Mobs) Two left feet I tell people who try to convince me that it would be easy. NO. It will never be easy.

  26. Wendy, this is hilarious! I Zumba but, thankfully, there aren’t mirrors in that room of the gym. I can pretend I look like the instructors even though I’m sure nothing is farther from the truth.


  27. Hysterical! And thanks, btw, you saved me a mortifying trip. I could never have lasted…perhaps it will soon go the way of the macarana…?

  28. You are a great Mom! We need more like you in this crazy mixed-up world.

  29. I would consider going to a zumba class just for the blog/video content possibilities. I’d even wear a half shirt. It’d be like Charro on the Love Boat.

  30. Hey Wendy!! Thanks for the Laughs! I need them after the terrible ‘loosies’ I’m recovering from. All that exercise (just the thought of it actually), is still making me nauseous 😛 For me, the Zumba is in the category of fabulous to watch and best left alone when it comes to trying it out! What’s wrong with just good old dancing I ask you?

    Oh…and why did the nymph even need to do the Zumba???

    Hugs, H.

    • Oh dear, Harsha…I’ll have to catch up with your blog to find out what “loosies” is…doesn’t sound good! I agree that for me at least, Zumba is better watched than done… Hugs, Wendy

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