Cheerleaders are athletes. If you have ever been to a cheerleading practice, done a cheerleading jump, memorized all the words to a dance routine or a cheer, you will agree with me. Many of you have not. Many of you say cheerleaders are floozies.
Where does that come from? How does memorizing words, being an athlete and supporting a common goal of your community translate to a floozy? The definition of floozy is a woman who has many casual sexual encounters and relationships. So, how do you get from a girl or boy who does all this stuff for their community while enduring the athletic performance in public get you to a floozy?
Have you been burned by a cheerleader before? Did a cheerleader steal your boyfriend and therefore ever since she was, in your words, “a floozy?” Does that mean all cheerleaders are floozies? That is just like saying all lawyers are criminals and crooks — and money hungry dirt bags — -just because you’ve been burned by one lawyer, does that make all of them crooks? And….which is worse, being a woman who knows what she wants and has sex because it’s pleasurable OR stealing some poor unsuspecting client’s money? I would tend to go with the crook is worse than the floozy, but, that’s just me.
I have been a cheerleader my whole life. I also played softball, dodgeball, flag football and endurance bike riding. I can tell you the conditioning I had to endure during cheerleading was more physically and mentally challenging than any other sport I played. Why? Here’s why:
Cheerleaders have extreme leg and core strength. Hoisting your body in the air to do a jump, make that jump look pretty and then land without breaking your neck is difficult. And…we make it look so damn good. How many other sports do you know of where the athlete can jump in the air, land, look pretty, not sweat and it’s OK? Have you ever seen Odell Beckham Jr. catch a ball in the endzone with 1 hand? It’s pretty — right? But, is he smiling? Is he hiding his sweat? Is he wearing full face make up and every hair is in tact? NO. Somehow we make it OK for other athletes — including women (Serena, Mia, etc) to perform their best trick and sweating and showing the grit to get there is OK. Yet, with cheerleading — the athleticism is intense, but we demand they smile and look good while they do it?
The memorization of cheer words, dance moves and routines is extensive. For an average competition, a cheerleader is memorizing 7 cheers and 2- 3 minute dance routines. You have to recite these over and over and over again and while you’re doing it, you have to not be out of breath, look good, jump up and down and not screw up because it will screw up the rest of the team. The intense intelligence that goes into remembering all the words can be on par with a football player learning a playbook, or a soccer player knowing all the rules or back to that crook lawyer — who has to memorize an opening or closing argument. Most competitive cheerleaders are not dumb. They may smile and look good while they are doing what they are doing, but they are not dumb. Being positive, happy, and smiling does not mean someone is dumb people! What the hell is wrong with you? I thank goodness I had that training young because it helps me remember everything now. Much to my husband’s demise and to my co-workers delight — my brain is like an iron trap — I remember every price I’ve ever quoted, date/day of the week/word to every cheer I’ve ever done, and dance routine I’ve ever moved. Knowing dance routines in your 40’s is STILL a fun party trick — especially when Rhythm Nation 1814 pops into a pool side playlist.
Teamwork: Cheerleaders are reliant on each other. Everything you do involves the team. You'r moves before and after the person in front and behind you depend on each other. There is no margin for error. That is just non stunt cheerleading. Throw in stunts and then the margin for error means putting someone’s life in your hands. If you are 1 inch out of position, you risk dropping someone, on their head and risking a life threatening back or neck injury. Knowing where your position in the formation needs to be, at all times is critical and learning the spacing of your teammates is vital to work together as a team — or in some cases — it is life or death. I appreciate the attention to detail being a cheerleader gave me. That detail helped me plan my mom’s 70th birthday party, it helps me read contracts line by line, it helps me not miss a beat when buying a house, reviewing a contractor’s work during a home renovation. The devil is truly in the details and knowing the margin for error/spacing/perfection was so important with each dance/cheer performance has helped me be a higher performer in all avenues of my adult life.
The final thought I want to share about being a cheerleader is that, it’s positive. Being positive is one thing in this world that truly separates the good from the best. People with a good positive attitude get things done, activate good work and make people around them better. I am grateful that I had to learn to look for a reason to cheer, and root people on. I stopped wearing a uniform and doing herkies when I left high school. However, I haven’t stopped being a cheerleader. When a family member has a bad day, I cheer them on — tomorrow will be better. When my husband is making a big presentation, I literally send him a G-O-O-D-L-U-C-K Good luck is what we say “clap clap” ALL THE WAY, email. He loves it. When my clients are in a jam, I remind them, “you got this, we’re almost there.” When my gal pals just can’t wife or mother anymore, I root for them telling them, “all your hard work will pay off. This is just temporary. It will get better.”
I will continue to be a cheerleader in spirit for the rest of my life, and be proud of it. I don’t think being a floozy or being cheerleader have anything to do with one another. I do think being a good person, asking for what you want and supporting your team, community or family is very valuable and I will cheer those people on
FOREVER. VIVA LA CHEERLEADERS!