I went to a race today not to win, but to cheer. Cheering is a very important job and I didn’t want to be late, so I woke up before the alarm to run around the house screaming. That way, Mom would wake up in time for us to make an inspiring sign.
“How do I be encouraging without pressuring her… just in case she’s the kind of person who barfs?” I asked. I know all about barfing before the finish line because that’s what Mom used to do when she was excited and messed up her pacing.
“How about just ‘Go‘?” Mom said.
“Yeah! That’s good! Use two of them!” I told her. “And how will she know that it’s special for her?”
“How about we use her name?” Mom suggested.
“Cathy! Her name’s Cathy,” I directed, looking over Mom’s shoulder to make sure she got it right.
“You should also let her know that you’re proud to be her Friend,” Mom recommended.
The best way to show you’re proud of someone is to brag about them to strangers, so I said, “Write that she’s the one that’s winning. So people will know how special she is and be jealous that I know her.” Mom wrote all that, and then she drew a support unicorn* next to the words. Then we took our sign and got in the car.
When we got out of the car, Mom stood still to ask The Witch about something. While we were standing there, a woman in running clothes came out of the house-door next to us. “Go ,Cathy, go!” I barked as I ran up to her with such force that Mom almost dropped The Witch on the sidewalk.
“Oscar, leave her alone,” Mom said. “We don’t know her.”
“It’s okay. Hi, buddy!” Not-Cathy said as she scratched my butt for inspiration before her Saturday morning run.
Then we walked a little ways down to the water, where runners had just finished starting the race. Mom walked toward a woman in a traffic vest whose witch was a talkie-walkie. “Go, Cathy, Go!” I wagged, pulling Mom so hard that the leash almost ripped out of her paw as I climbed the sidewalk like Spiderdog.
“That’s not Cathy!” Mom told me. Then she asked Also-Not-Cathy, “Will the runners pass by here before the finish?”
Also-Not-Cathy said they would, so Mom and I chose our spot to cheer. Finally, Mom put on my unicorn hat, which was our signal for Cathy to recognize me, and we waited for the runners to come back.
“You’re looking the wrong way, Bub,” Mom told me.
“But the finish is over there!” I pointed out. “That’s where the action happens.”
“But Cathy is coming from behind you. We’ve got to watch for her.”
“You watch for her, I’m going to watch everyone win the race.”
We watched lots of people win, and each one was exciting, but especially the people who said how cute I was. Then I heard a far away voice say, “IS THAT OSCAR?!”
This was my moment to shine! I shook my unicorn hat off in the grass and rocketed up-race, dragging Mom behind me.
“Which one is she?! Which one is she?!” Mom asked.
“Are you Cathy?” I asked the first man I met. “Are you Cathy?!” I barked the lady behind him. Then I saw a man and a lady waving at me, and Mom dropped the leash for me to say hi in style! “Which one of you is Cathy?” I asked the man-friend. Then the lady-friend said my name and handed me a unicorn toy. “Cathy!!!!” I barked. Then I said “nyoink” as I grabbed the unicorn and shook my head to break his neck. “I love it!” I screeched, and then I dumped it in the grass for Mom to carry.
“Did you say thank you?“ Mom asked, like I’d done something wrong.
“Strangers are excited to see me and give me gifts all the time,” I pointed out. “Isn’t that just what people do?”
“I think that’s one of those things that only happens to you, Oscar…” Mom said.
“Well then maybe you should be nicer to strangers, Mom!” I said.
I didn’t want to slow down Team Cathy’s race, so I about-faced showed Cathy and Mr. Cathy the way to the finish line. When they were about to win, Mom and I stepped aside and watched them finish and collect their medals. It’s always real fun to win a race, but did you know that even more runners cheer for you when you’re a cheerleader than when you’re a runner? Without Cathy and Mr. Cathy, I never would have spent my morning having dozens of runners flirt with me, nor would I have won a unicorn. It was the funnest morning ever!
Oscar the Cheerleader
*If you aren’t a member of the running group, you may not know how hot unicorns are right now. The unicorns refer to the post below, which refers to someone else’s post about unicorns which was taken down by group administrators:
I don’t know how it started, but I’ve been seeing all of my Friends posting pictures about unicorns. “Mom, unicorns are really on trend right now. Can I talk about unicorns too?”
“Oscar, I don’t want you to get involved in people being ugly on the internet. We don’t know what the fight was about that started the unicorn war, and I’d rather not get involved.”
“Mom, you’ve got it all wrong. The unicorn is a symbol that people love and support each other in real life. The internet is just the tool they use to reach out to each other. I’m all about love and support. It’s totally on brand.”
“Oh. I thought it was the symbol for the Boston Marathon.”
“Shows what you know…”