Friday, August 12, 2011

Some Things DO Change

A Quote about Cheerleading:

In any other sport, if you miss the catch all you lose is the ball. 
~Author Unknown


At the end of this month, my graduating class will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a reunion at our high school's opening football game. The last time I stood on that football field in my team's colors was when I was a cheerleader. I LOVED cheering at football games, and I did it for two years. We had 8 girls on the squad, and we used to do some pretty cool stunts and built some really good pyramids, especially for the small number of girls we had. Regardless of what boys might think, even back then it took a lot of athleticism and skill to do what we did. I still battle old injuries in my knees, ankles and back and have scars on my legs from all the stress my body took during those two years. (Here's a page from my senior yearbook. Click on the image to get a closer view.)


But our feats of physical brilliance didn't even come close to what today's cheerleaders attempt and (usually) accomplish. It has become risky in many cases, and scary to watch. For example, during the first few days of my daughter's competition cheer squad practice there was one concussion, one cut over an eye resulting in 8 stitches, a few pulled muscles and too many bruises to count. My own child was dropped out of a stunt and knocked her head on the floor, and in a separate incident, strained her knee. A year or so ago I had to take her to an orthopedic surgeon to have her wrist drained with a needle because she had developed a cyst from overworking the joint.
Today's cheerleading is serious business.

At my daughter's school there are 14 cheerleaders on each squad, and there are squads representing each grade. Freshman and sophomores cheer for the freshman and JV teams, and the varsity cheer team is comprised of  juniors and seniors. There is also an elite team comprised of all grades that competes at the state and national level. The current cheerleaders try-out for this group, and there are usually about 30 spaces available.

I've been trying to embed this video, but for some reason I can't get it to open on my computer. If you'd like to see my daughter's group in action, go to this link: http://www.varsity.com/competition-search.aspx?keywords=ruston and click on the non-tumbling video. This was last year's national competition squad performing in Dallas.

The Ruston High Cheerleaders won the national competition in the Game Time division over schools from all over the country last year, and placed third in the Non-Tumbling division. Not bad for a small town high school! This year's squad started practicing two weeks ago, three weeks before the first day of school, to begin preparing for upcoming school activities and January's national competition. Like I said... serious business.

I'm proud of my daughter's commitment to her sport. She's good at it, she has a positive attitude and she works hard. I guess you could say I'm her biggest cheerleader.

Go Cats!

Any man can hold a girl's hand, but only the elite can hold her feet. 
~Author Unknown

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