Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cheerleading

John Marine | 2/05/2011 05:54:00 AM | | | | |
(UPDATED: January 26, 2012)

Cheerleaders provide the same energy and spirit that their represented teams have. These are the ones with unique chants and routines to root on their team. They are energetic girls and some fired-up guys. Being a Houston native, I'm mostly impartial to the Rockets Power Dancers and the Houston Aeros Aero Dynamics (one of my friends is/was an Aero Dynamic) as well as the beautiful Houston Texans' cheerleaders. Cheerleading can be very fun (not to say I've done any). So to discuss cheerleading from multiple views, this blog post is about cheerleading.





--- Before I Begin... ---

Here are a few messages before I get started with this blog post...

If You are a Cheerleader Yourself Reading This...

I say hello to you. Welcome to John's Blog Space! I hope my blog post will be to your liking. With the topics I post, I hope to express things professionally and respectfully. This is one of those blog posts.


If You Used to be a Cheerleader and You're Reading This...

I say hello to you as well! I hope that you also will my blog post to be interesting.


I obviously want to make this blog post both entertaining and fun because there have been friends of mine who used to be cheerleaders or are cheerleaders. Therefore, I hope that my material will be of enjoyment and education. Those are the standards I live by in making my blog. I never confidently release anything unless I feel it will be of some positive value.



--- Cheerleading in General ---

Nothing brings the crowd to life and the team energy than cheerleaders. There have been friends of mine past and present who are or have done cheerleading.


Cheerleading... Why Do It?

cheerleader
^ from: life123.com - If you are a cheerleader, why do YOU love cheerleading?

Some love their favorite teams and athletes. Some love their favorite teams and athletes and will lovingly put themselves into visibility, cheering on their favorite teams and athletes. So is the way of the cheerleader. Cheerleaders lovingly show their support by getting into the same playing field or arena as the players on the field or floor. Cheerleaders want to be the ones to lovingly cheer on their team while also psyching up the crowd. They provide the energy to get the crowd excited. I personally think those who do cheerleading not only cheer because they like it, but because they are very spirited people. They carry the kind of personality on the sidelines and during time outs and half time that makes them warm and vibrant. They try to keep the crowd entertained even if the represented team is being beaten badly in a game.

At least to me, that is what makes a cheerleader love what they do. You may wonder why I am using "they" rather than "she." Fact is- there are cheerleaders... then, there are male cheerleaders. Regardless, cheerleaders are all about getting the team and the crowd excited.


Cheerleading: Physical Aspects.

It takes a great deal of energy to perform kicks, fancy manuvers, and even to sustain this energy for the whole of a game. There is a great deal of practice that goes into getting these manuvers down pad while also remaining fit enough to execute these fancy manuvers for a game.


Cheerleading: Misconceptions About Cheerleaders.

According to an article I read on about.com, there are 10 different misconceptions people make about cheerleaders. Here they are according to the about.com article I read:

• Cheerleaders have to be thin or skinny.
• Cheerleaders can't be tall.
• You have to have small feet to be a cheerleader.
• Cheerleaders are not intelligent.
• Cheerleaders are not athletes. (Oh, really?)
• Cheerleaders are all blondes.
• Cheerleading is a popularity contest.
• Cheerleading is for girls, not guys.
• Cheerleaders are snobs.
• Cheerleading is not dangerous.

To read up on these misconceptions and to learn fact from fiction, I invite you to click on Myths About Cheerleading.


Now here are some of my own comments on these misconceptions...
• The reason why people would say that cheerleaders have to be thin or skinny is because I've known a few cheerleaders that were not thin or skinny.
• I don't think I've met a cheerleader who was tall. Doesn't mean, however, that every cheerleader is a petite or anything.
• I don't know about feet, so I will not respond to this.
• Cheerleaders are about as intelligent as just about any other fairly decent student. I'm sure that as much as there is a "no pass, no play" protocol for athletes, there is the same protocol for cheerleaders as well. Speaking of athletes...
• If you think cheerleaders are not athletes, you need to have your head examined. You think its natural for cheerleaders to pull off such stunts without fail? Think again!
• I can respond to this quickly- I've known a HANDFUL of brunette cheerleaders. You could even have hot pink hair or even be bald- not all cheerleaders are blondes.
• I was almost reminded of Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" when Taylor sings, "...she's Cheer Captain, and I'm on the bleachers..." Maybe I don't know what happens behind the scenes, but I sincerely doubt that cheerleaders are trying to compete against one another. The job is to root on the team and provide energy to the crowd; not compete among themselves to be the best cheerleader.
• I mentioned male cheerleaders earlier. We usually know female cheerleaders much more than male cheerleaders. It's like ballet- we know ballet for females performing graceful moves, but there are also males who practice ballet. But of course, most don't regard/care/acknowledge ballerinos (masculine equivalent of ballerinas).
• Cheerleaders whom I've gotten to know were generally sweet and respectful to me. I'm not saying all are, but I doubt there is a cheerleader that is terrible to get along with.
• Oh, cheerleading is VERY dangerous. Imagine being lifted up, trying to balance... and the girl falls hard after being up feet off the ground. The NCAA banned a certain cheerleading manuver after one cheerleader named Kristi Yamaoka for Southern Illinois fell hard after being stacked in a human pyramid formation in 2006. So while it is fun to do cheerleading, it can be as dangerous as any contact sport.


Cheerleading: Fundraising.

When I used to go to Milby High School here in Houston, there were some Milby Buffalo cheerleaders who would offer students things to help boost fundraiser monies. Things like candy and various pins were offered to other students. I never attended any Milby games because I just wasn't into sports back then (big contrast now, right?). Doing fundraisers as a cheerleader is a sweet part of doing cheerleading. Always great to give back to your community.


Cheerleading Guys.

Okay. Not all cheerleaders are girls. There are those guys not afraid to give some cheer. We are not as mindful of male cheerleaders because we're so fascinated and awed by female cheerleaders. There are guys out there who are as much an integral part of the cheer team as any girl on the cheer squad.

Just so you know... there are some times when I don't want to cover certain aspects of topics. But in trying to discuss things professionally, I HAVE to include such topics (such as male cheerleaders). These help add diversity to topics and show that I am looking at something from various standpoints. I know most of my audience (in this case) are mostly into and understanding of female cheerleaders.


So there is your look at cheerleading. Up next is a special commentary piece on cheerleading as a sport.



--- Is Cheerleading a Sport? ---

Because I know there will be people who will visit this blog post wondering about this issue, I have decided to answer this question myself. It is not a definitive answer, but it is rather my opinion. So allow me to answer this.

People are always wondering what qualifies as a sport. We always think of sports as something that involves serious contact, epic plays being made, legends playing the game with joy, and on the negative side... the risk of injury. Therefore, cheerleading IS a sport. It isn't like anyone can pull off these manuvers and routines. It takes physical preparation and lots of practice to acheive these athletic feats cheerleaders pull off. I can cartwheel, but I can't do any of the tumbles and such that cheerleaders can do. I can't even backflip. Like I mentioned in the previous section- cheerleaders have as much a risk of getting injured as much as any player on the field/floor playing a game. The risk you take performing sports or sporting activities is almost as great as a huge tackle in football or hitting the floor hard in basketball after a foul.

And since we're talking sports and what makes sports what they are, where are the legends of the game and things like that? Where are the epic plays? Well, I mentioned cheerleading as a sport, so I am obviously supposed to stand behind and explain my reasoning. There are no epic plays or any Hall of Fame cheerleaders. I never said cheerleading was a TRADITIONAL sport. I said it is as much of a sport as any other. The risk of injury and physical preparation are what makes cheerleading every bit as taxing for cheerleaders as it is for the players playing a game. So if you were to ask me if cheerleading is a sport, I will say yes. And in the next section, I will surely show that cheerleading is (or can be) a sport.



--- Cheerleading in Action ---

Here is where I will find you some videos to check out to showcase cheerleading. These are videos showing you what makes cheerleading so fun and well-liked. You don't have to see all of them- just see the ones that interest you most. These are videos featuring


Cheerleading Routines.

Here is a video of a cheerleading routine either before a game or just a cheerleading routine in general. The tumbling and high-energy routines are what makes cheerleading so much fun for so many people. In addition, just the feeling of knowing they are the center of attention in pulling off fun manuvers while in great spirits makes a video like this even more fun. Have a look at this video:

^ Excited much, girls? :)


Cheerleading Competition.

Girl power reigns supreme when you have a bunch of cheerleaders take center stage and showcase their incredible moves. The unity and synergy of their moves and styles make them fun to watch. Check out this video featuring Georgia's (as in the U.S. State of Georgia for my international readers) Columbus High School. They won the 2008 State Championship with this performance:


This next video is a collegiate competition. Here is where you will see both female and male cheerleaders. This one features the Coed Cheer Squad from Oklahoma State University in the 2010 NCA/NDA Cheer and Coed Championship. To my knowledge, they are the defending National Champions of this event, taking the title away from the University of Louisville. Watch the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Cowgirls go to work:



Cheerleading: Cheerdance.

To be honest, I don't think there is a such concept outside of the Philippines. Cheerdance is a special cheerleading competition that combines cheerleading with dancing. Here is a sample of Cheerdance from 2009 featuring the Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion:



Virtual Love of Cheerleading.

So you're a gamer and want to have a virtual way of cheerleading? Well, there are two games that may interest you. Have a look at these:


^ "We Cheer" (Wii)


^ "All-Star Cheer Squad" (Wii)

Fun enough for you girls? :D Cheerleading outfits themselves are up next.



--- Cheerleading Style ---

Cheerleaders come in many varieties. Let's have a look!

cheerleader shell and skirt
^ from: - The most common cheerleader look is that of a shell top and a skirt paired with athletic sneakers.

cheer squad
^ from: www.inquisitr.com - A cheer squad.

Houston Texans cheerleaders
^ from: houstonpress.com - Houston Texans cheerleaders. This is one of their many uniforms. They also wear an outfit consisting of a cropped top, hot pants, and go-go boots.

male cheerleaders
^ from: deadspin.com - A 2007 picture with male members of the Texas A&M Aggie Yell Leaders team. A friend of mine was an Aggie Yell girl.

The most common cheerleaders you see are mostly girls. However, you will see the occasional male cheerleaders. The most common cheerleading gear for females are either one-piece outfits or even a top and a skirt. A pair of athletic sneakers is also part of a basic cheerleader's outfit. Don't forget those pom poms, too. There are also megaphones that also account for the gear of a cheerleader. For some cheerleaders, bodysuits are also part of most cheerleaders' outfits.


The Tops.

cheerleader shell
^ from: omnicheer.com - A standard cheerleader shell.

cheerleader bodysuit
^ from: cheerleading.com - A bodysuit may be worn underneath a cheerleading uniform as part of the uniform. Depending on the shell, these can either be a one-piece bodysuit or a midriff-baring top worn under a cheerleading shell.

The tops worn by most cheerleaders are usually shells. Most pro sports cheerleaders usually wear cropped tops or some kind of sleeveless tops. Some cheer uniforms consist of a bodysuit or some other top worn underneath as part of the cheer uniform. These bodysuits are mostly turtlenecks worn underneath a cheerleader shell and/or skirt (especially if it is a bodysuit). In the case of a cropped cheerleader shell, a cropped midriff-baring bodysuit is worn.


The Bottoms.

cheerleader skirt
^ from: www.head2toecheer.com - A box pleat skirt is usually common for most cheerleaders, but A-line skirts are also common for cheerleader skirts. The skirts feature attached briefs or shorts underneath.

cheerleader hot pants
^ from: www.head2toecheer.com - Not all cheerleaders wear skirts as a uniform, however. Some wear either pants or hot pants. This (I am assuming) is a cheerleader for the NFL's Washington Redskins.

Cheerleaders wear short skirts with attached bloomers or shorts. Essentially, these are skorts. Some cheerleaders (especially in pro sports) usually wear either skorts or hot pants. I am not sure if cheerleader skirts are really proper skirts with briefs worn underneath, or if they are cheerleading skorts (meaning proper skirts with attached shorts or briefs). I ask this because in preparing this blog post, I've read about briefs for cheerleaders. Just want to get some real clarification on this deal, so please help if you're a loyal reader!


The Feet.

cheerleading shoes
^ from: cheerleadingamerica.wordpress.com, by way of s7ondemand1.scene7.com - Most cheerleaders wear athletic shoes specifically made for cheerleading along with a pair of socks to wear with these shoes.


No Chuck Taylors, no furry shoes, and DEFINITELY no sandals of any kind- these are real athletic sneakers for cheerleaders. Some cheerleaders wear go-go boots as part of their outfit rather than sneakers. You usually see these among cheerleaders for pro sports teams, though. Also part of a cheerleader's footwear is a good pair of socks. The socks can be very short or rather tall, usually no higher than the knees.


The Pom Poms.

cheerleader pom poms
^ from: getpoms.com - Shake, shake, shake! Pom poms are a girl's best friend when cheerleading.
Those things that make a lot of noise and look cute when rubbed together by cheerleaders are pom poms. It's always cute seeing a cheerleader rustle around those pom poms while smiling at the camera. So cute.


The Megaphone.

cheerleader megaphone
^ from: www.pepcopoms.com - Want to get a message across? Say it with a megaphone!
While you may not have a microphone or a fancy headset, you can still shout out to the crowd with a megaphone. Go ahead- grab a megaphone and cheer loud and clear!


The Bow

cheerleading bow
^ from: - Some cheerleaders wrap their hair up and wrapped in a hair bow.

Some cheerleaders wear bows to wrap up in their hair. It makes a cute touch to wrapped-up hair and only adds to the cheerleader's loveliness.


Face Paint

cheerleader face paint
^ from: www.readthehook.com - Face paint on a cheerleader. Here, the University of Virginia logo is painted on the cheeks of a UVA cheerleader.

In my opinion, nothing makes a cheerleader look cuter than when face paint is applied. A cute face paint of the team logo or something on the cheeks only adds to the cheerleader's cute looks. It's a cute way to show team spirit.


I tried to find good male cheerleading pictures, but I couldn't find any good ones to feature here. Maybe in a future edit I'll feature some.


These are the cheerleader outfits you are mostly used to seeing.





You have reached the Jump Break of this blog post. It is provided for performance purposes. I want to thank you for reading this post so far. However, there is much more that I have to discuss on cheerleading, including:

• criticisms of cheerleading (some material in this section may not be suitable for all audiences)
• online stores offering cheerleading uniforms and accessories
• resources for cheerleaders and more information on cheerleading
• a special salute to all of you cheerleaders!

If you are not reading the full blog post, click on "Read More" to see more of this blog post on cheerleading. If you do not wish to read the full post, I'd like to thank you by offering you some Amazon.com material related to cheerleading. Click on any item that interests you in case you want to shop for all things cheerleading:




Thank you for reading the post so far! Remember: click "Read More" to read the rest of this blog post (if you are not reading the full post).






--- Cheerleading Criticisms ---

WARNING: Most material in this section may not be suitable for all audiences to read. You may skip down to the next section if you wish.

As much as cheerleading can be fun, there are those always looking to add their two cents about cheerleading, usually with degrading comments. There are some who really think of cheerleading as having one too many sexual undertones.


Romanticizing/Sexualizing the Cheerleader in Media.

There are those in pop culture and media who romanticize and sexualize the cheerleader (especially female cheerleading). In the eyes of the fetishist, the cheerleader is romanticized as a mini skirt-wearing young lady performing splits and high kicks... which lead to gratuitous upskirt images that appease to perverts.

Media or pop culture usually portray the cheerleader as a girl between the ages of a typical high schooler or a college age girl who is very beautiful and charming (and usually slim and slender). The cheerleader is really someone who cheers on the team he/she represents with encouraging moves and chants. But as we all know, there are those who try to find any kind of sexual or appealing undertones to try to market something in a way that perverts can appreciate. Cheerleading is no different. You do cheerleading just because you love doing it and because you have fun doing it. You DON'T join the cheerleading ranks just to be some knuclehead's sex icon.


Questionable Cheer Routines and Chants.

In addition, there are some (especially hardcore feminists) who object to certain aspects of cheerleading to where they feel like cheerleading is more a sexual thrill than actually cheering on a team and energizing a crowd. To prove the point, an eleven-year old girl in Nebraska was kicked off the cheer squad she represented because she refused to do any butt-shaking moves. She even went to the level of saying that there shouldn't be any butt-shaking moves being part of a cheer routine. IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED IN THIS PARAGRAPH: You can read the article posted online concerning by clicking this FOX News article: Nebraska Girl, 11, Kicked Off Cheerleading Team for Not Shaking 'Booty'.

Before this, though, there was a six-year old girl named Kennedy Tesche whose mother (named Jennifer) was uneasy about a certain chant the cheer squad came up with. Part of the chant included "booty" in it. Because Kennedy's mother questioned and criticized the chant, her daughter Kennedy was ousted from the cheer team. IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED IN THIS PARAGRAPH: You can read the article posted online concerning by clicking this Huffington Post article: Six-Year-Old Kicked Off Cheerleading Squad After Mom Questions 'Booty' Cheer (VIDEO).

The only other thing to express this section was that there was a bill set to ban certain racy cheerleading chants and routines (I think here in Texas). That bill, however, was defeated.


"Bring it On" Influence.

The "Bring it On" series is all about competition among different cheer squads. This makes a pop culture twist on cheerleading. The following video is provided to offer a preview of what the "Bring it On" movies offered in its twist on cheerleading and cheer competition (WARNING: Rated PG-13):



This is just a little Hollywood insight on cheerleading.


My Final Thoughts on Cheerleading Criticisms.

I tend to find cheerleading fun and energetic. Performing dance routines can be fun to add to the appeal of cheerleading. Of course, you have those who prefer looking at something like cheerleading as something degrading humanity or youth.






Most of the informational part of this blog post has now concluded. You're using the Internet, so I might as well use the Internet to offer you some other sites to visit in case you enjoyed this blog post.

I may consider adding a John's Shop Space link if I do a blog post on cheerleading for John's Shop Space. Expect this paragraph to change if I do post a JSS (John's Shop Space) link to this topic. Remember- my alternative blog features relevant items based on blog posts you read here on John's Blog Space. This is to take the load off of trying to prepare blog posts while also offering Amazon items if interested. So check back here if I do post a secondary blog post.

{a link/image will/may be provided here in a future edit}

You can, however, check out Amazon for all things cheerleading. Have a look:






--- Online Resources, Shops, and Sites ---

Most of the informational part of this blog post has now concluded. You're using the Internet, so I might as well offer you some other sites to visit in case you enjoyed this blog post. NOTE: Most of these resources are for female cheerleaders.


Resources: Basic Retailers.


Resources: Uniform and Accessory Shopping

CheerZone.

CheerZone is all about getting you girls all dressed up to take part in cheerleading. You can check out their catalog to shop for various items for cheerleaders. Get your gear from this company. You can get social with CheerZone by visiting their home page to visit their Wordpress blog, their Twitter feed, their Facebook fan page, and their YouTube channel.

Cheerleading Online.

From uniforms to various warm-up outfits, Campus TeamWear site features many uniforms and accessories for cheerleaders. Various items are featured for cheerleaders

Cheerleading.com.

Almost everything a cheerleader wants or needs can be found at cheerleading.com. Everything from uniforms to accessories are available here. Even gifts and other fun things can be found here. Items are offered for girls up to teen girls and adults.

Team Cheer.

Team Cheer has both uniforms and accessories for cheerleaders. In addition, they have a campaign called "Cheer for a Cure," devoted to raising money for breast cancer. These are special cheerleading outfits and accessories in pink and with the familiar pink ribbons so synonmous with breast cancer awareness. It's a great way to show some cheer while also cheering for a good cause.

CheerDeals.com.

There are a number of different things you can look up and shop for cheerleading at CheerDeals.com.


Head 2 Toe Cheer.

A variety of cheerleader uniform items are offered from Head 2 Toe Cheer. You can shop for yourself or your team. There are even fundraising opportunities to help your cheer squad do some fundraising.


Robbins Sports (Cheerleading link).

Their slogan is "Get your gear," and that's exactly what Robbins Sports has when you visit. All the clothing, accessories, and equipment you need can be found here from a variety of retailers.


Cheer Outfitters.

Everything cheer is offered here for both females and males. They have their own catalog of items for you to check out, which also includes various other cheer gifts. Items can even be customized to your liking.



Chassé.

Chassé is all about dressing you up beautifully for your cheerleading routines. Check out their many cheer uniforms and accessories to help you and your cheer squad get all dressed up nicely.


Zoe Cheer.

All the cheer basics can be found with Zoe Cheer. Dress you and your team up for the game or for cheering routines by visiting this link.


Omni Cheer.

Omni Cheer lives by their slogan of "Setting the Standard!" They have a catalog featuring all kinds of cheer wear and accessories for cheerleading youth and adults. They even offer some men's cheer garments.


Soffe (Cheer and Dance link).

From Soffe, they offer loads of atheltic fashions for kids and grown-ups.
(Alternate link: Cheer and Dance fashions for kids (Girls) from Soffe can be found here: Cheer and Dance - Girls

(More links may be added in future edits.)



Resources: Other Aspects of Cheerleading.

Cheerleading on lovetoknow.com - all you need to know about cheerleading
Cheerleading on Life123
Varsity Cheerleading Resources on varsity.com
Inside Cheerleading Magazine (USA only)
Cheerleading.net


Resources: Social Media.

• Do you like/love cheerleading? "Like" the Cheerleading! Facebook fan page! You may also "Like" this Facebook Fan Page on Cheerleading if so!

• One Facebook Fan Page asks, "If cheerleading isn't a sport, then why do they go to Disney?" "Like" this page if you love cheerleading and regard it as a sport.


(More links may be added in future edits.)



--- Special Thanks to All of You! ---

I've done as much as I could to talk about cheerleading in this blog post. I hope you have enjoyed this blog post as much as I've enjoyed trying to put this all together. I looked at cheerleading from a number of angles including from a discomforting standpoint (the criticisms). If you want to take part in cheerleading, then by all means, go for it! Never be afraid to show team spirit and have fun doing it!

And again, if you're part of a cheer squad or are a former cheerleader, I hope you enjoyed my content. Feel free to say hello if you enjoyed my work! I appreciate any and all questions and comments. When can I have my own cheerleaders cheering on the success of my blog and YouTube channel? ;-)





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2 comments:

John B. Marine said...

HI John! Great Blog! I love cheerleading.. I'm a cheerleader myself way back in college.. it's really fun and very good to our body, coz it is also a good exercise.. plus, the cute uniforms!

http://legazpifabmoda.blogspot.com

John B. Marine said...

Nice blog, John. I like your segment on male cheerleaders. I'm one myself! Unlike most male cheerleaders, I perform all the same cheers as the girls...AND wear the same uniform too! I'm the only boy on the squad, so it's very easy for me to put on my skirt, put my hair back in a pony tail, and blend in with the girls.
Cheerleading is fun and also hard work. I especially enjoy the competitions.

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