These 55-Year-Old (Plus) Women Have Their Own Cheerleading Group – Proving Age Is Just Another Number
These athletes perform in 40-50 events per year.
They say as you age, it’s important to find things you love to do. Well, it’s safe to say the 30 members of the Sun City Poms have found their calling, and they’re inspiring a whole bunch of people along the way.
Something to Cheer About
In Arizona’s Sun City retirement community, women aged 58-90 make up the inspiring cheer troupe, Sun City Poms. This isn’t just a hobby group, either. According to People, the performing and marching squad participates in three-hour practices three days a week, along with 40 to 50 events a year.
To join the group, you need to be at least 55 years old and live in the retirement community. You don’t need a cheer or performing background, but you do need to complete a three-month class, learn two routines, and prove you have what it takes before becoming an official member.
“It’s kind of like an audition,” 81-year-old president Peggy Parsons tells the publication. She adds that the older you are, the more cheers you tend to get from the crowd when performing. “Ginger, our 90-year-old, always gets the loudest,” she adds.
A Newfound Family
According to Parsons, this group is super close — as you’d expect considering how much time they spend together practicing and at events like parades, conventions, and memory care facilities.
“We requested that our teacher teach a routine called ‘We Are Family’ because we like each other so much,” Parsons adds. “They’re like sisters.”
Last month, the group had a big “Celebrate the Poms” show, in which a crowd of 700 people cheered the group on. It also included a special performance from “The Flops,” the group of husbands, friends, and Pom fans who hang out with this group.
Mary Zirbel has been with the Poms for 23 years now, after seeing them in a parade. She says it’s great exercise, not to mention a place where she can put her baton skills to use. In speaking with People, she highlights the Fiesta Bowl, one of the group’s biggest events of the year.
“It takes a lot of wind out of you,” she explains, noting she probably walks about three miles during her performance. “I don’t have a routine, I just do what I want to do when I twirl. And if the mood is right, I can do it, throw it up and catch it like you wouldn’t believe. Then again, there’s days that you are just off.”
The grandmother says she has days where she feels like maybe she’s getting too old for the troupe, but deep down, she — and the crowd — still love it. So she plans on sticking with it while she still can. She adds that her motto is to, “Just help people out and have fun [because] life is too short.”
As for Parsons, she hopes to live until at least 90 so that her squad can celebrate with her. “We aspire to inspire before we expire,” she explains. Besides, being a part of the group has given her a new purpose: embracing her age.
“It makes me not mind because I think these are the best years of my life,” she adds.
Age Is but a Number
Realizing you can no longer do some of the things you used to do as you age can be hard. But this story is so inspiring because it highlights a group of women who found a way to do something they love together, and they formed a new family along the way.
Aging can be a beautiful thing when we learn to embrace it and value it. Life is short, and tomorrow isn’t promised. But by making the most of the moments we do have and finding things that bring us joy at any age, we’re leading by example and inspiring the next generation.
You don’t need to join a cheerleading squad to find your thing. Take up a hobby you’ve never had time for. Coach a sport you used to love playing when you were younger. Or join a group of like-minded people who love to tackle new adventures and activities as much as you do.
After all, if the Sun City Poms have taught us anything, it’s that it’s never too late to start loving your life.