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Cheerleaders - athletes or pom-pom wavers


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#1 TJC_fan

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 11:59 AM

At the top of the pyramid - 1st stop -- GONZAGA
By Mary Buckheit

I come from this school of thought: If you can ring a doorbell, you can be a cheerleader.

But then again, I'm a jock. You won't find my picture next to the 'best legs' category in the yearbook. But if you flip to the back, there I am, winner of the 'most likely to have scraped knees' superlative. I'm more Sue Bird than Jessica Simpson ... more Sporty Spice than Slinky Sandy. I'm an athlete, not a cheerleader.

Naturally, then, when talk in a recent meeting here at "The Worldwide Leader" turned to the Cheerleader Challenge, I was skeptical -- bang-my-head-on-the-desk skeptical. We're not Maxim; we're a sports site -- and cheerleading is certainly not a sport. I mean, God bless it, but c'mon: They're nothing more than busty bi-products of on-field competition.

Brimming with the arrogance all jocks conveniently store in the chip on their shoulder, I threw on my flip-flops, packed up my pool attire and headed west ... to cover cheerleading. Oh well, at least I'd come back with a tan.

I never dreamed that I'd also return with a suitcase full of appreciation for cheer squads everywhere.

"I don't really think of cheerleaders as athletes, but I think they do a good job. They're always practicing and getting to the arena two hours before our games. I don't know what they do for so long. Practice, I guess," said sophomore forward Monica Uhrig.

Yes, practice. And let me tell you something, these sessions are no cakewalk. Picture this. As the female partner stands stiff as a board, clenching every muscle in her body, her male partner stands behind her holding her hips. On the count of "two," the tandem squat simultaneously and in one swift motion, the girl miraculously ends up standing on the guy's shoulders.

This little ditty is the most basic you'll find in a cheerleader's bag of tricks; they do ten of these just to warm-up ... but it was the only stunt I had mastered by the last night of my field trip.

Landing on a set of sturdy shoulders is child's play, I'd have to step it up if I wanted to make the squad. They up the ante with a "chair," when the guy flicks the girl up and catches her butt on the palm of a hand now extended above his head. Do it right and she lands as if nothing just happened, looking as if she is relaxing on a comfy love seat. Got that? I didn't. But they kept going without me.

This sure looks pretty athletic to us.
Next up, the toss-to-hands. It's a cheerleader's equivalent to the layup, but a stunt that amazed me every time. The guy launches the girl up to his shoulder level and with his elbows bent, catches her heels in his hands. Then both can then straighten their arms up all the way above their heads if they want to show off.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down? These cheer bunnies are for real.

I guarantee the guys could squat, clean and military press you under the table. The ladies? Well, the ones I met were all sheets of muscle. Their triceps and abs are forces to be reckoned with and their willingness to stay fit of their own free will is unwavering. Freshman Jessica Hertz walked by as I sat in the lobby one afternoon. Asked what she was up to, Hertz replied, "We're gonna go run again." For those keeping score at home, this was their second trip of the day to the fitness center, and this jog was sandwiched between the day's two scheduled practices. Double sessions. Who knew?

Now, if it's starting to sound like I'm endorsing their candidacy for acceptance as athletes ... trust me, it isn't easy to type. I must be getting soft.

But gush, I must. These girls are dedicated to keeping their very visible bods in top shape. They are flexible and strong, with an incredible sense of balance. You can take the most athletic girl you know, dress her up in a little skirt and halter top and stick her out there, but there's just no way she is going to be able to do the stuff that cheerleaders can. Just as there's no way a cheerleader could stroll onto a field hockey, basketball or softball team and blend in with the starters.

So what is it that keeps us from taking cheerleaders as seriously as we should?

Call it semantics, but I say, first, get rid of that "squad" nonsense. Cheerleaders are disciplined, strong and coordinated. They function with the fluidity, respect and cohesion of a team. They have a coach who they depend on, leaders who they look up to and a goal that they work towards. They train hard and focus fast. They hone their craft to accomplish things that most of their peers can't -- not even the "Most Athletic" stud in your yearbook.

I learned so much from those zippy Zags. On the flight home, I dissected my change-of-cheer heart while I desperately tried to shake that dare, "Go! Gonzaga! G-O-N-Z-A-G-A!" chant out of my head.

It reminds me of a catchy softball shout from back in my pixie league days.

"We don't wear no miniskirt.
We wear our jersey shirt.
And we don't sip no lemonade.
We drink that Gatorade.
And we don't dance with Barbie dolls.
We play with bats and balls."

It didn't strike me until then -- but we athletes sure seem a lot like cheerleaders.
................................................................................
.........................................
Could YOU make the cut??
Here are the bare minimum tryout requirements of the Gonzaga Cheer Squad. Think you could hack it?
For the Fellas:


2-mile run
20 bar dips
24" vertical
Bench 100% body weight 10x
Proper spotting technique. Stunting ability including partner flicks, chairs and toss-to-hands.
For the Ladies:


2-mile run
10 bar dips
19" vertical
Bench 75% body weight 10x
The day of the tryout, girls will be taught a moderate degree of difficultly dance routine which they will have one hour to learn and then perform in front of the judges in small groups.


And it didn't strike me until now, but those cheerleaders sure seem a lot like athletes

#2 Razorcut

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 12:45 PM

TOUCHE'
It ain't about the size of the dog in the fight, it is about the size of the fight in the dog!
------------------------------------
"A leader brings vision, faith and courage to a coordinated effort.
Vision to see what needs to be done. Faith to believe it can be done.
Courage to persevere until it is done." -- Lauren Sanney

#3 BiGrEd20

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 11:27 PM

Cheerleaders are very athletic...you have to do a lot of hard work to be good at cheerleading and it takes a lot of time to make sure you do everything right...

#4 bigdaddydandruff

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 12:02 AM

QUOTE
Originally posted by BiGrEd20
Cheerleaders are very athletic...you have to do a lot of hard work to be good at cheerleading and it takes a lot of time to make sure you do everything right...


Like u would know anything about that...wacko.gif

but im jk...wink.gif

#5 coachb

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 04:00 AM

a 19in vertical for a girl is pretty good

#6 BigRed20isBeautiful

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 08:25 PM

QUOTE
Originally posted by bigdaddydandruff
QUOTE
Originally posted by BiGrEd20
Cheerleaders are very athletic...you have to do a lot of hard work to be good at cheerleading and it takes a lot of time to make sure you do everything right...


Like u would know anything about that...wacko.gif

but im jk...wink.gif


u should keep ur mouth shut bigdaddy....

BiGrEd20 is an excellent cheerleader and is the most beautiful girl i have ever seen...ALC, i love ya and goodluck in your cheerleading....

#7 clayt9

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 08:49 PM

i can see tumbling beeing hard and perhaps competetions but simply showing up and saying phrases at a sporting event doesnt require much skill but talking

#8 idaho

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 10:36 PM

a lot of people dont see the part of cheerleading beyond cheering at football games,so they just assume thats all they do but they're wrong, they work really hard and compete against other skilled squads at competitions and it probably takes a great amount of skill and athleticism

#9 BiGrEd20

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 06:07 PM

Thank you...

#10 BigRed20isBeautiful

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 11:23 PM

QUOTE
Originally posted by BiGrEd20
Thank you...


Anytime and Always...

#11 BiGrEd20

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 11:44 PM

I was saying thank you to idaho

#12 BigRed20isBeautiful

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 11:46 PM

QUOTE
Originally posted by BiGrEd20
I was saying thank you to idaho




:whistle::whistle::whistle:....yeah I knew that...all along...

I was talkin to my dog...yeah thats it, my dog

#13 krazeeSOFTBALLplaya

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:25 AM

Cheerleading is hard work...seriously trying to make sure however many girls may be on a squad know each and every cheer that may be called during the football game, being prepared for the peprallies... having all the signs painted....and the many hard working hours that go into trying to be a great ChEeRlEaDeR! All the lifting while working with stunts... how could they not be athletes...you know the flyers way -around- 100+ or sometimes smaller...just depending... but stunt after stunt trying to perfect them...thats a lot of lifting haha! So, GO CHEERLEADERS! Y'all are GREAT and keep on doing what yall are doing!

#14 krazeeSOFTBALLplaya

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:26 AM

P.S. I was a cheerleader...but im graduating...so I dont refer to myself as one anymore...haha..

#15 TDH

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 07:07 PM

New to forums so I don't mean to offend.........

I used to think that Cheerleading was just something that was done..... actually, I never thought about it a lot at all.
One day while channel flipping, I saw a documentary about a Dallas competitive team and what all they had to do to compete. Totally changed my view on cheerleaders.
A few years later, my son came in and told me he was going to try out.ugh.gif We talked and he explained why he wanted to do it........ Being a big redneck kind of guy, this was a little hard to swallow at first. BUT, I remembered the documentary I had seen and I believe in allowing my kids to make their own decisions, so...............
He's been a cheerleader since 7th grade, he will be a Senior next year. I've paid for his camps, private lessons, etc and have watched him do things that I couldn't even imagine doing. He is a little upset since his stunt partner is graduating this year and he will have to find another. IF you are a cheerleader (or associated with them) you will understand how important a good stunt partner is at a HS level. He can already do the 3 stunts required for most colleges already and is going to attend "stunt" classes this summer to improve upon what he knows.
I've watched a school go from openly berating him and calling him "gay" or "fancyboy" to accepting him as just another kid. There have even been a few instances where fellow students interjected themselves in issues where other school's students ran their heads.......
He has earned my respect, if for no other reason than the fact that he pays no attention to the namecallers at opposing schools. (It's not easy being a male cheerleader in E Tx) He also has had an open dialogue w/2 top ranked colleges in Tx regarding scholarship opps. (whew, glad of that)
AND for the ever doubting............
He has a 32" vertical
runs the 40 in 4.2
Benches well over his body #
Set all eyes to him last year when he squatted 350 (not the greatest but impressive when you factor in the fact that he is 6' 4")
Plays Varsity basketball for the last 2 yrs
Plays Varsity baseball
Was the only Freshman in the top 10 athletes in his school
Has never been lower than 5 in the top 10 since his Freshman year
Maintains at least a B average, including his Honors classes

#16 whousefb44

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 09:36 PM

QUOTE
Originally posted by clayt9
i can see tumbling beeing hard and perhaps competetions but simply showing up and saying phrases at a sporting event doesnt require much skill but talking


Clayton i watched you cheer the other night, and you are quite possibly the best male cheerleader i have ever seen. That is Clayton Alexander:thumbsup:

#17 charliemurphy28

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 10:56 AM

When it comes to training and competing in the competions that they do between football seasons, i would have to say that they are athletes, but they don't have to be in that great of shape though.

#18 wJaOyHnNe

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 01:45 AM

IF YOU WANNA SEE SOMETHING THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND GO CHECK OUT SOME OF MY BUDDIES AT WWW.WHATISPROX.COM . oNE OF THE GUYS NAMES OLD SCHOOL/GARRIN/BIG G IS A COACH AT KILGORE COLLEGE. GO CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS, I THINK YOU'LL BE IMPRESSED.

#19 deisel

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:13 PM

here lately (in my town anyway) they have become a mixture. parents getting mad cause their daughter didnt make the team but some overweight girl did........so they just let everybody who tried out join athletes, pompo wavers, and just girls that dont have an ounce of athletic ability but have a loud mouth mom.

#20 deisel

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:15 PM

this was not speculation or rumor, it was in the texarkana gazette several months ago.


In football you play the best player for the position, why should cheerleading be different?




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