Wednesday, April 18, 2007

this is not a democracy, it's a cheerocracy. I'm sorry, but I'm overruling you.

Caveat, many will not share my views on this subject, but I wholeheartedly agree with the following article. We did not have cheerleaders at Texas A&M University (Whoop!) and I didn't feel cheated in the least. In high school I thought cheerleading was the epitome of all things silly about high school.

Don't get me wrong, teenage boys (and grown men) appreciate looking at scantily clad young ladies jumping around for their gawking pleasure, but even as a non-Christian I really thought the whole thing demaening and degrading to women. I particularly think that when I'm trying to watch the beloved Cowboys and after commercial we spend an uncomfortable amount of time focused in on a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader wearing a push-up bra and not much covering it.

Now, at Texas A&M (Whoop!) we had yell leaders, who lead us in the yells, which was good ... and functional. We were there not merely as spectators, but also as the 12th Man, trying to rattle the evildoers with our volume.

Cheerleaders are a distraction to the game, although they do help lead us in the "Plano, Plano ... East, East" chants at the PESH games. But, they are there as a diversion, so that if we are watching them we are not actually watching the game. They are not the halftime entertainment, for there are marching bands and dancing girls/drill teams.

Let's face it, they are the product of, and excuse for, popularity competitions.

Of course, if nothing else, the dissolution of cheerleading will eliminate the possibility of the phenomenon known as "the male cheerleader." There, I said it. We were all thinking it, now it's out.

I said all that to say this, my endorsement of this article implies no animosity toward the girls who are involved in cheerleading, nor does it mean I do not appreciate the vast amounts of energy and cost that go into the sport. It also does not mean I can't see the impressive nature of the organized cheer competitions, etc.

If you comment in dissent, please try not to ... be agressive, B-E agressive.

But, I would agree that ...

Cheerleading one sport worth ditching

10:49 AM CDT on Monday, April 16, 2007

by Scott Parks,

Can you imagine a high school without cheerleaders?

I can.

Cheerleading seems to produce a social toxin that poisons the brain of anyone it touches – the girls, their parents, teachers, administrators and the public.

Karen Ayres, an education writer for this newspaper, uncovered the latest example of cheerleader nonsense at Allen High School in Collin County.

Two cheerleader moms, D.J. Pool and Pam Burns, got crosswise with each other. Ms. Pool's daughter got kicked off the squad for being in the presence of alcohol. MySpace pictures of other cheerleaders who also appeared to be in the presence of alcohol got sent to school officials.

Three other girls, including Ms. Burns' daughter, got kicked off the squad, and the cheerleader booster club erupted into warring factions of parents. None of the girls actually admitted to drinking.

Lacey Rainey, the cheerleading coach, had watched similar controversies develop at nearby McKinney North High School and at Carroll Senior High School in Southlake.

In her story in Saturday's newspaper, Ms. Ayres reported that Coach Rainey threatened to disband the booster club and cancel the squad's end-of-year banquet if any parents took their grievances to the media, which is exactly what happened.

I shudder to think how many hours of time Allen ISD administrators and staff will waste on this foolishness.

Russell Crowe, actor and co-owner of an Australian rugby team, recently got rid of his prancing cheerleaders. They made women spectators uncomfortable and made fathers less likely to bring their young sons to games.

So, a male and female drum corps has replaced cheerleaders on the rugby sidelines. Now, Mr. Crowe is no longer an angry hooligan. Free of cheerleading, he's a happy guy again.

At this very moment, somewhere in Texas, probably in Allen, is a high school principal yearning to be free. And an athletic director enduring another speech about how cheerleading really is a sport and deserves respect.

I'm sorry. What sport requires the athlete to wear a smile pasted on her face? And exactly whom are the cheerleaders competing against at a football game? Is this an activity worth risking serious injury?

Look, most high school cheerleaders and their parents are terrific people. But let's face it. Time after time, these cheerleading programs run aground on the shoals of superficiality and pettiness.

School administrators maintain a double standard when defining what is disruptive to the learning environment. They ban students with unusual hairstyles, T-shirts with beer logos or marijuana leaves, bare midriffs and baggy pants.

Those things may be offensive to adults, but they aren't disruptive. Cheerleading is disruptive. Really, what would be lost if high schools dumped it as an extracurricular activity?

Young women who value physical activity and competition can pursue a variety of high school sports – basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, golf, swimming, diving, tennis, and track and field.

Many people, especially Texans, will view the idea of high school without cheerleaders as a radical suggestion. I can hear them now.

Football players and their parents are no angels. Why don't we ban football? It doesn't have anything to do with academics, either.

Let me retort.

Football is the host organism that nurtures a school community. How many people would go see a marching band if its performance wasn't sandwiched into a football game? A clean, winning football program creates a positive image that encourages people to find out other good things about a school.

Football also generates revenue from ticket sales and concessions.

For those too faint of heart to consider getting rid of cheerleaders, how about a few reforms that might remove them from the pedestal of popularity?

•Use a panel of judges to select cheerleaders in closed tryouts. Don't allow the students to vote on them after tryouts at mass assemblies.

•Eliminate them from the sidelines at football games. The marching band remains the critical spirit machine at games.

•Get rid of the cheerleader booster club. If that won't fly, roll the cheerleader parents into the band booster club. They might be less likely to misbehave while lost in a sea of band parents.

•Call them something else. The word "cheerleader" has taken on too much baggage. Call them "Yell Leaders" or "Spirit Flyers."

And now it's time for another cheerleader booster club meeting. Somebody call security.


At 18 April, 2007 17:02, Anonymous Stephanie said...

*deep breath*

Being an aforementioned high school cheerleader, I feel compelled to reply.

We were a nationally ranked squad AND we actually cheered for our team. We worked our butts off all week to prepare for the game by creating our OWN run-through banners (two per week- one for pre-game, the other for after half-time), making sure our designated player and/or coach got their goodies, etc. We led cheers. We led a massive crowd of 10,000 or more fans in a unison push for victory.

Our competitions were a combo of try-outs before the student body and a panel of judges in a private room. We were required to be creative enough to come up with our own routine, and talented/athletic enough to complete an incredibly intense routine that was assigned to us for tryouts.

Why would the cheerleader parents be at all interested in the band parents (unless, of course, they're mine, and had a responsibility to both)? I'm confused as to that point.

I'm annoyed at the article. The dude has no idea what he's talking about, clearly.

At 19 April, 2007 08:34, Blogger Rev. said...

With respect to Stephanie (and I do know that cheerleaders work hard, that it is physically demanding, etc.), if we take a vote on the issue I'll be voting against having the scantily clad cheerleaders on the sidelines. If I owned the Cowboys... no cheerleaders. I like what Russell Crowe did w/ his rugby squad. But, since this isn't a democracy but a cheerocracy, I'll probably be overruled.

At 19 April, 2007 08:56, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no problem with cheerleaders. It's their sleezy outfits and vulgar dancing that bothers me.

(ducking and covering)


At 20 April, 2007 13:35, Blogger Jim said...

When I went to an NFL game last year, I thought "Lord help me keep my daughter from ever becoming an NFL cheerleader."

The high school variety is a less problematic idea.


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