when the mocker becomes the mocked
Monday November 05th 2007, 11:08 pm
Filed under: youth specialties, personal, humor

so, there was this cheerleading competition going on all weekend at the st. louis convention center. and all of us at the national youth workers convention had to walk through their midst over and over again: swarms of tiny girls in little matching outfits, with horribly too much make-up and embodying pretty much the worst of america. i kept thinking my youth worker’s heart should be going out to them. instead, i was merely repulsed, and wanted to smack their mothers.

so we mocked.

tic and i — thanks to some convention volunteers who made the effort to “outfit” us and “do our hair” and such — felt compelled to mock, which resulted in this:

sorry. i hope i haven’t scarred you forever.

i should tell you, i almost knocked tic off the stage with that belly-bump.

35 Comments so far
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Comment by Dj 11.06.07 @ 12:23 am

I so miss youth ministry.

Comment by kyle 11.06.07 @ 12:27 am

Thanks for a great laugh!

Comment by sandy h 11.06.07 @ 12:31 am

That “mock skit” was the highlight of my convention…I was actually filling out my Evaluation sheet when you guys hit the stage and included the skit as a “must have back” momement in my eval…Just wanted to say thanks to you guys for all you do at NYWC to pour into the lives of student pastors like myself…My wife and I leave encouraged, challenged, renewed, and refreshed every year…Thank you. And one ?…Can you give us an update/total on the offering we took up for Global Youth Ministries today? Did we make the 8k?

Comment by nic 11.06.07 @ 1:01 am

Seriously Awesome.

Comment by doodah 11.06.07 @ 1:41 am

Is that what years of youth ministry does to a person?

Comment by Ryan 11.06.07 @ 1:46 am

when you bumped tic, i spit out the water i was drinking. i felt bad for the guy in front on me. he went flying, man!

Comment by Lewis Polziin 11.06.07 @ 2:01 am

I am so frightened.

Comment by Kirk Moore 11.06.07 @ 9:16 am

All weekend I struggled to get seats up close, we always seemed to be running late. We managed to get seats really close for that session. I will never be able to see Tic the same way again, you weren’t quite as frightening.

Comment by Tim Hower 11.06.07 @ 10:23 am

this definitely made my day. sad that i’ll be missing out this year :(

Comment by Kara 11.06.07 @ 10:57 am


Comment by Brandon 11.06.07 @ 11:00 am

See. Now I wish I could have been in St Louis not Atlanta…
Wow. That’s about all I can say.

Comment by Emily 11.06.07 @ 11:23 am

Wow… that’s just… wow. ROTFLOL

Comment by Evan 11.06.07 @ 12:26 pm

My wife and I laughed so hard when you two came out like that. Awesome!

Comment by Rusty 11.06.07 @ 12:45 pm

I am scarred now…

Comment by Paul Morgun 11.06.07 @ 1:27 pm

i think i just threw up a little in my mouth

Comment by dp 11.06.07 @ 1:30 pm

Did you guys do that for the cage fights, too? Who won??

Comment by Krista D. 11.06.07 @ 2:23 pm

AAH! Hilarious. I walked in just as you guys ran up on stage. Definitely a higlight of the week!

Comment by Isaac 11.06.07 @ 3:23 pm

I almost fell over I was laughing so hard during this skit! I also felt so sad when walking through the legions of young girls with their mid-riffs exposed and scary blue eye shadow! Thanks for a really great convention!

Comment by Hannah 11.06.07 @ 5:36 pm

“i kept thinking my youth worker’s heart should be going out to them. instead, i was merely repulsed, and wanted to smack their mothers.”

At least you’re honest…

I feel bad for those impressionable young girls. Granted, they’re in this place now where they were pushed into this whether they wanted to get into it because of what society’s shown them or by what their parents want or their friends tell them they should want. But now, not only are they in this place where they believe that their value is tied to their ability to attract an audience and entertain which is what cheerleading comes down to, ignore the over application of makeup (I used to dance and I always had way too much makeup on, but it was a necessity, on stage, you look like a ghost otherwise. I have footage to show that.) I just wonder if any cheerleaders heard about this or perhaps the look in everyone’s face who walked through their convention was enough. I remember growing up at the edge of an affluent neighborhood. I was in junior high and feeling insecure like many adolescents were, but then I went to church camp and was told by all the other “Christians” around me, that everyone who attended that school were stuck up snobs. I had the sense to ask if anyone knew any of those students and they said no. So they were quite judgmental. I didn’t become a Christian until many years later when I realized than Christianity is more than how other Christians behave but a relationship with Christ. I would’ve asked about having a relationship with Christ, but I didn’t want to ask because I thought they (the Christians) were too judgmental. Perhaps youth leaders could better serve the youth by trying to find out more about cheerleading instead of mocking it. And no, I was never a cheerleader.

Comment by Jean 11.06.07 @ 5:53 pm

Dude, awesome! Hope you do that in Atlanta. Tic was just scary. You should have had your midriff showing as well to match. :)

Comment by 11.06.07 @ 6:02 pm

I’ve heard there will be a cheerleading competition the same time of the YS convention in the same building. Wear red and black for good ol UGA though. ;)

Comment by Ryan 11.06.07 @ 6:13 pm

In atlanta that is

Comment by Ryan 11.06.07 @ 6:14 pm

Drained and overflowing from the provocative grind that is YS Convention, we left after the Mon. morning seminars for our 5 hr. drive home. settling on buying your talk post-conference, after 2 hrs. of Mayer, Harper and a bunch of indie stuff, we listened to campolo’s super seminar, hoping to squeezee just a bit more juice from the orange - wow, that orange had a lot of juice.

home tody and looking for one more fix, i checked out your blog and found that we missed one of the ‘highlights’ of the conference - and I’m glad we left early.

Here’s why . .

I was in a continual conversation with many compatriots all weekend about the paradox that was the convention center this weekend. Aside from the makeup/midriff/mom presentation, I saw young girls in the halls crushed by defeat; moms looking like they dreamed to find again some elusive youth . . something that had slipped through their fingers years ago; and a movement based on perfection - of performance and presentation.

I also encountered these two things:
No. 1, an image in the hall, one afternoon, of a young mother and her 3 children, one in a stroller and the obviously part of the cheerleading event. If there was any way you could imagine a healthy approach to it - this mother seemed to have somehow grasped it. But this mother also seemed strangely out of place and alone, a bit unsure of all that she had gotten her family into.

No. 2 - I had stopped at a table near the convention headquarters to chat with some nun friends also attending YS. Our conversation quickly referenced the cheerleaders and the state of our society and families
and then God stepped in,
bringing 3 young cheerleaders over to us . .
“um . . are you a num?” no typo
“Yes,” sr. answered. “what is your name?”
Kaily and Allyssia, began their questioning as they twirled little umbrella toothpicks.
“do you live in a church?”
“do you have your own room?”
“do you have other outfits?”
“what colors are they?”
“do any nums where pink?”

I intuitively knew that not only was this an estrogen conversation, but that I was witnessing a moment of tangible presence with the Spirit - one of those “well if your gonna just sit there and talk about them, I will bring them so you can talk with them.”

Kailey had been cheering since age 3 - she is now 12 - her mom got her into it. They stood there talking with a “num” for almost 10 minutes, pausing between each question, listening, exploring, discovering and then questioning again. Sr. Consellata was amazing and her grace was palpable. I can’t help but think these young girls left provoked with something planted deep.

only at a YS convention.

now, to thread this all . . although incredibly funny, I know now that my decision to leave early, was . . inspired?? Had I stayed, I undoubtedly would have laughed, possibly even barfed in my mouth, because that is some funny youth ministry video. But given the context, I also would have left soured by my laughter and the idea that 5 days of seeking this Jesus I so desire to imitate, had left me still laughing at the lost.

good, funny, Youth Ministry stuff, Marko - wrong context

Comment by Kris 11.06.07 @ 8:03 pm

I so do not miss youth ministry….

Comment by Mykel 11.06.07 @ 8:22 pm

And I thought that I was nuts……….
Mark you got guts! God loves crazy folks, and you’re one of them.
God bless you and your friends and family.

Comment by Dave 11.06.07 @ 9:57 pm

wow, kris - that was a long, gorgeous story, beautifully told, that pulled me in the whole way just to find out in the last two words that it was a criticism!

Comment by marko 11.06.07 @ 10:04 pm

Have we learned nothing from Bring It On?

Cheerleaders are people too.

Comment by Dave Paisley 11.07.07 @ 12:12 am

My last NYWC (as a convention goer - not a volunteer) was at St. Louis in 2003… I remember that cheerleading thing then.

I just watched this video (without sound even!) and laughed my butt off! I SO MISS NYWC!

Thanks Marko!

Comment by Jeff 11.07.07 @ 12:21 am

Thank you Kris!

Comment by Jean 11.07.07 @ 3:32 pm

Hey nic — we raised about $7K, I think, and YS raised it to the full 8K so he could get the full matching amount.

Comment by marko 11.07.07 @ 9:38 pm

Wow, I’m so sad our group had to go home early and miss this!

Comment by Amandria 11.07.07 @ 11:31 pm

I have to say, the outpouring of people who don’t see what was wrong with this display of mockery confirms so much for me. And it makes me realize why it’s so hard for teenagers these days. There are enough self-esteem issues brought up due to peers; they don’t need adults who they should be respecting teaching them that it’s okay to make fun of people especially in front of those people. Granted they may have been in another area, but they were still in the building and that didn’t stop any of them from knowing what was going on. Besides, who’s to say some of them didn’t stop by to see what was going on. Now what are they going to think, I know God loves me but His people, Christians, are making fun of me.

Comment by Jean 11.07.07 @ 11:45 pm

My eyes! My eyes!

Comment by 11.08.07 @ 4:56 pm

Hmm…. I’m sure most people thought your mockery of objectified young girls and their families was absolutely hillarious. I’m kind of mortified by it. I have to admit that most of the time I was at the conference I was inwardly making fun of some of the cheerleading moms, the kids, and the society we live in that makes things like that acceptable. And then I realized …. me being judgmental does absolutely nothing to bring Christ to these families. I’m sure some of those mothers and their children are believers. I’m sure many of them also scorn the mocking of Christians who - from their perspective - are merely hypocrites who like to look down their noses at “poor sinners.”

As youth workers we should be analyzing everything we do. Did the mocking of cheerleaders do ANYTHING positive other than a few laughs? No. It only promoted the dehumanization and marginalization of people God loves. We should be building up people’s dignity. Not tearing it down.

Comment by Courtney 11.09.07 @ 3:20 pm

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