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Getting Crafty for Spirit Week

Getting Crafty for Spirit Week - August 7, 2018

When Spirit Week comes around, who better to lead the trends than cheerleaders? If you’re looking for all-out style on a budget, have the DIY bug, or are simply looking for a way to get pumped for Spirit Week with your squad (Make Your Own Spirit Swag party, anyone?), here are some crafty spins on classic Spirit Week themes.

 

Patriotic Day: Ribbon Hair Elastics

Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $
Time: 10 minutes

If your theme of the day is Red, White, and Blue, incorporate patriotism the cheer way: with homemade ribbon elastics! For this project, you’ll need a hair elastic, scissors, and one or more spools of ribbon from your local craft store.

If you want to make a “fluffier” elastic, use ⅛- to ¼-inch ribbons in red, white, and blue, perhaps with a lacy or otherwise decorative style. Cut a 2-foot strip of each color ribbon, then tie the three of them around the elastic together (that is: one knot, not three ribbons tied individually). Bunch up each of the “tails” a few times to form the loops of the bow, so that you’ll have 6 loops (2 of each color) on either side of the knot. Hold all the loops in your hands and tie a bow. You’ll have a burst of loops and tails that will fluff out around your ponytail. If you want extra security, add a dot of hot glue to the initial knot before you tie your bow over it. Be sure to handle hot glue guns carefully, or with parent supervision, and allow the elastic to cool properly before wearing.

If you want to use ribbons that will hold their shape, or decorated ribbons (such as blue with white stars, or flag-patterned), ½- to 1½-inch ribbons have more structure and will show off the designs better than narrower ones. For the true “cheer bow” look, go for a 2-inch or larger ribbon. Cut a 2-foot strip of ribbon and knot it around the elastic at about the midpoint. Tie a bow on top of it. For added security, add a dot of hot glue to the initial knot before you tie your bow around it. For the “cheer bow” size, fluff up the ribbon and spritz it with a little hairspray to help it stand up. Let it dry before wearing.

 


Team Spirit Day: Spelling Shirts

Difficulty: Medium
Cost: $-$$
Time: 1 hour

Your Spirit Week may include a Team Day, where everyone wears clothing reflecting collegiate or professional sports’ teams, or School Spirit Day, where everyone wears clothing in your own school’s colors.  What better way to celebrate a team day than with your squad? Get everyone together and spell out your spirit!

Invite your squad to participate in a group spirit activity. Take a team trip to the craft store for tee shirts in your team’s color (preferably the darker color; for example, if your school colors are blue and white, get blue shirts) and decorations. How you decorate your shirts is up to you: fabric paint, rhinestones and hot glue, sewing on patches—the sky is the limit!

Everyone gets a letter, and you can spell out your team’s formal name and/or mascot. A bigger squad can spell out “Rancho Carne Toros,” while a medium-sized squad might only have enough members to spell out “Rancho Carne,” and a small squad may go for “Toros.” If you need a few extra letters to fit everyone, you can add “Go” before your mascot, or exclamation points after.





Pajama Day: An Old-Timey Night Cap

Difficulty: Medium-Difficult (requires sewing)
Cost: $$
Time: 1 hour

Pajama Day is all about the comfy tees and baggy pants, but it’s not always easy to integrate school spirit with your pjs. For a fun accessory that can incorporate school colors and/or mascots, make an old-timey nightcap—complete with pompom, of course.

Local craft stores often carry squares of pre-cut fabric, about ¼-yard. Pick out a solid-color square in your school’s color (or maybe a patterned fabric that includes your mascot, like lions or sharks), a pompom in another school color or a complimentary color (sparkles are always good!), and thread that matches both colors. You’ll also need a pair of scissors sharp enough to cut through fabric, a ruler, an iron, sewing pins, and tailor’s chalk. If you have a sewing machine, that’s great, but it’s a simple enough project to stitch by hand.

Start off by ironing out your fabric square, since it will have tons of folds in it when you first unwrap it from its packaging. You can measure the circumference of your head with a tape measure or just hold up the fabric to test it and make sure that the square will wrap all the way around. Once you’ve confirmed, fold the fabric in half, with the “inside” side of the fabric facing out, and iron it so that the fold is a nice, even crease.

Pin all the way around the fabric, including along the crease, to keep the two sides of your fold together. The pins should run parallel to the edge of the fabric and be no more than ½-inch from the edge. Lay down your ruler to connect from about the middle of the open side parallel to the crease, up to the point of the crease. Draw a line along the ruler using the tailor’s chalk, then pin the fabric below the line.

Cut along the chalk line. You can remove the pins from the smaller scrap piece and set that extra fabric aside. We now have the fold, the bottom, and the outer angle (the flat side and the diagonal cut together). Shift the pins along the outer angle so that they are perpendicular to the edge of the fabric instead of parallel. Sew the outer angle shut with a ½-inch seam, either by sewing machine or by hand.

When you are finished, press the seam. First you will open the ½-inch seam and iron it flat against the fabric, and then you will close the seam and iron it closed to one side. This will help the seam to lay flat inside your hat. For additional security, you can sew a zigzag stitch along the raw edge of the seam. You now have a triangular piece that can open up into a cone shape.

The bottom opening needs a little neatening up before you can wear your hat. Keep the hat inside out, and fold the very bottom of the hat in, so that you have a 1-inch cuff of the “outside” fabric. Measure to make sure it is 1 inch and pin the cuff to the hat all the way around, then iron it so that you have a nice crease at the opening.

Unpin the cuff and fold it in half, tucking the raw edge into the ironed crease. Iron along this new top crease and pin perpendicularly all the way around. Sew this top seam to the hat. This will hide the raw edge of the fabric, which can fray and tear, and gives your cap a finished look.

Turn your cap inside-out. You should now have a finished hat, and all that’s left to add is the pompom. Pin it to the tip of the cap and hand-stitch it from the inside out. Put your needle through the fabric from inside the cap, stitch through the pompom, bring your needle back through the fabric and inside your cap, and stitch around. Once you feel your pompom is secure, knot your thread and cut off any excess.

If you feel like being extra fancy, you can add additional embellishments to the cap, but otherwise, you are ready for Pajama Day (and a long winter’s nap)!


And finally...

If these ideas all sound just a little too complex, we've got an alternative for our less crafty inclined readers: take a pre-made bow and make it your own! We recommend something like this football cheer bow, which has a heart shaped football pin in the middle, while still leaving a lot of room for creativity. 

 

I Heart Football Hair Bow

Perfect for all the puffy paint lovers out there, this football bow is a perfect team bonding activity before the season starts. Cover it in initials, your favorite player's number, or other glue-on buttons you can find at your local craft store. 


Any crafty plans for Spirit Week? Be sure to share your tips and tricks!

The (Semi-Fictional) Evolution of Pee-Wee Cheerleading

The (Semi-Fictional) Evolution of Pee-Wee Cheerleading - July 31, 2018

Alright, folks...this one goes way back.



318 B.C. 


It's the age of the gladiator. Named for the swords they wielded, gladiators fought against man and beast in front of a roaring crowd. The voices of the common folk echoed in the Colosseum, but less well known throughout history, another voice lifted spirits and energized the crowd: Cheerleaders. 




In the Roman Empire, cheerleaders were right there in the pits alongside the fighters. But... without weapons. They had to survive and dodge the fights through killer kicks and high-flying maneuvering...much like today.




These young cheerleaders often used their fighting spirit for an alternate sport. For those people who didn't want to see gory deaths of the gladiators, there was another option. Under the hundreds of floors of the Colosseum lay dark, cool catacombs. Here, children would gather and re-create the battles they saw on the stage above. Only without death, blood, or gore. It became something more honorable than gladiator battles, and drew its own crowds, which included adults. These fights were pure sportsmanship. No death or injury was allowed. Instead of fighting lions, the winners of these pint-sized gladiatorial battles adopted stray kittens. 



These battles, these inspiring endeavors were known in the Latin (pig Latin) as Op-pay Arner-way. (Sound...familiar?) Courageous, young hearts won, lost and lived. The Pee-Wee's fighting spirit was just beginning. It somehow morphed...quite a bit within the coming years. 



Fast forward to...



1898 

The very first recorded cheer happened this year.


Legendary? Sure. But, the position of “yell leader” had a ways to go until it again rose to honor of its lost gladiatorial days. For some stupid reason, women still wouldn't be allowed to cheer for another 25 years.



Then...suddenly, Pee Wee Cheerleading emerges.


1938

We're a year after the very first Disney movie, Snow White, and also a couple years after cheerleading became a real, staple thing. Similarly, Pee Wee Cheer is exclusively between the ages of 5-16: the exact age of every fairy tale hero and heroine! Coincidense? We think not.


Once you hit 17, your chances of being transported to a magical world drop like Alice through the Looking Glass.



1968


The 70s are coming, and things are looking up for cheerleaders! We traded paper pom-poms for plastic and could now cheer, rain or shine. Women have usurped the men and are now solidly leading cheers. 

Pee Wee Cheer was hitting its stride as well. 


The youth group opened its own private school named Pigzits, located in London...Ohio. The teachers at Pigzits Pee Wees were able to assess children’s' natural abilities and selected only the best of the best to come and learn the magic of cheering at their castle-like school. 



1988


The 80s! 


Neon colors, giant hair, shocking makeup; the 80s was a decade of out-of-this-world outrageousness! Everything was over the top. 


This is decade in which cheerleading hit its stride. It was over the top...of your head. People were head over heels. Literally! And with the outpouring of 80s dance movies (Footloose, Grease, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun), Pee Wee Cheer started veering away from just sideline cheers and began focusing on rhythm, technique, and stunts. The first National Cheerleading Competition was held this year, and became just as popular as Pee Wee Football. 



2018


Today, 'Pee Wee Cheer' is a household name. People from all over America tune in to the “kiddie” Super Bowl, and hundreds of thousands of children try their absolute hardest and make it into the program. 

Due to kids' physical prowess, this year is the first ever year they will also be taught ninja skills alongside cheer. 


When you think about it. the skills of a ninja are actually very closely related to cheer. Flying is useful for getting to the tops of buildings. Bases and spotters are vital to not only get the flyers in the air, but also require strength, balance, and firm footing: all essential skills for a ninja. The Scorpion can be used to escape almost any kind of shackle. The Liberty Cradle can be used to kick enemies in the face before falling to safety. 



Cheerleading is kind of the Forrest Gump of the world, when you really think about it...it's connected to pretty much every major event.


Cheerleading: Is the Commitment Right for You?

Cheerleading: Is the Commitment Right for You? - July 26, 2018

Commitment: The State or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc…


Synonyms include: dedication, devotion, allegiance, loyalty.



When you break it down, cheerleading looks a bit intimidating. Sure, it’s a sport. But like everything else in life, commitment is one quality that means so much. When it’s your passion, you don’t hesitate. You don’t think twice about jumping right in head first. When it’s your kids--well they typically are your passion and you would move mountains to see them happy.


Listen to me carefully: ALL sports require commitment. Not just on your athlete’s part, but yours as well. However, your part is different than theirs. It usually requires your time driving them to and from practices, games or competitions. It also typically requires you committing to putting your hand in your wallet and pulling out money.


Before you go any further, ask yourself if this is the right commitment for you and your family. Coaches and board members have this odd reputation of finding joy from the tears of a sad cheerleader. None of us want to see an athlete upset because they are being forced to finish out the season. It won’t only cause you all unnecessary stress--it stresses us out too. An unhappy cheerleader is a cheerleader that will not put in 100%. That hurts the team. On the other end, we hate having a cheerleader quit at a crucial point in the season. Again...unnecessary stress for entirely too many people.


Find out as many details as you possibly can. Hopefully your organization outlined all that they could for you before you signed on for the team. That outline is based on common questions asked from past years. There are just some things they won’t be able to answer. Respect their honesty. No question is a stupid question...unless it was answered 18 times and you keep pushing for a result that you like better.


In case not everything is outlined, here’s some vital questions you need to ask and then consider if this is the right fit:


Cost. 
How much is the season in total? What is included with the total cost? Are there payment options? Fundraiser options? 

  • There is usually one parent or coach in charge of ordering in bulk, or those who collect fundraiser dollars. If you have a genuine reason to think the money isn’t going towards what they claim, simply ask for a breakdown. I can tell you though, in most situations those fees are going to the right places.


Schedule.
  •  When are practices? What is the times and locations? Are there any additional classes they are expected to do like tumbling? Do they have a competition schedule? If not, ask for an estimate as to how many competitions? Approximately when will the first one be? How many require overnight stays? Is there a way to offset travel costs? 

Traveling
  • What are the rules for overnight stays? Do the cheerleaders have a curfew, will there be practices that they are required to go to? What is the anticipated mandatory length of stay? 

Expectations.
  •  Are you allowed to ask the coaches questions? Who is on the board and what position are they? (just so you are aware of the correct person to go to for future needs) How does the team communicate? Do they use an app, strictly email, phone, text?

  • Be mindful of your expectations as well. If you think cheerleading is just a fun babysitting service--you are wrong. They will be pushed, the coach will raise their voices at times, and they will be disciplined. No, your athlete won’t be hit or screamed at. Don’t mistake a raised voice for yelling. There is a purpose to the practices and I promise you, the end result will leave you beyond proud and questioning yourself for being mad that April was forced to do pushups for not listening.



Bullying

  • The bullying policies: Is there disciplinary action if your athlete is bullying another. Are there actions if YOU, the parent, are bullying another?

These are all very important things to find out. Most organizations hold the cheerleaders, coaches, board members and parents to the same standard. Bullying isn’t typically tolerated on any level. 

There is a lot of thought to committing, the future is unseen though. Sometimes there are obstacles that an organization or a team can encounter that has to be worked around. Stick it out, help where you can and try not to grab your pitchforks and enlist members to join your cause when something slightly inconveniences you. 24 hour cool down periods should be mandatory. Calm down, think before you speak or act and try to look at the situations from every single angle possible. I can promise you, if it’s something your athlete desperately wants, you won’t regret it. The hiccups, the times you were aggravated--they won’t matter. You’ll inherit a family and get to watch your pride and joy blossom into something you could have never imagined. 


The (Semi-Fictional) Backstory of the Megaphone

The (Semi-Fictional) Backstory of the Megaphone - July 23, 2018

The megaphone is one of the most recognizable icons of cheerleading. It is literally used to lead cheers!



But, how did the megaphone come to be? 


In its strictest definition, we've had the megaphone with us all along. Invented in caveman-times, and still fairly popular today, the first conical, portable voice amplification device ever discovered is just cupping your hands around your mouth and yelling. 




The megaphone we know today was invented and named by Thomas Edison, although at first he called it a telephonoscope. It wasn't until newspapers made fun of him that he changed it to the slightly less silly name we're stuck with now. 


Considering olden-day megaphones were called “speaking trumpets,” really any name was an improvement.


While today, Thomas Edison is considered a genius who invented half of everything, back in his time people loved to hate on him. The guy perfected the megaphone to help the hearing impaired and the press portrayed it as a way to creep on your neighbors. 


Even the light bulb had its critics. “Women look uglier in electric light!” 



A lot of Thomas Edison's inventions were directed toward helping the hearing impaired. Probably unrelated, Edison was himself hearing impaired. He actually had a chance to fix his hearing through surgery, but he turned it down. People annoyed him, and he didn't want to hear them any better than he already had to, he famously said (a little too loudly). 


Despite the haters, Edison became a revered historical figure, and the megaphone became an emblem of zing and pep. When was the last time you heard something uninteresting said from a megaphone? Exactly. Never. That is because, like his other 1,092 patented inventions, Thomas Edison's spirit haunts the megaphone to this day. 


The ghost of Edison demands that nothing boring shall pass through a megaphone. It's either fanning the flames of passion or saving people from a literal fire; there is no in between. Next Halloween, give this a try: convince your squad to try to say something boring with a megaphone. Watch as no one can get even halfway through an alphabetized list of laundry folding techniques before Thomas Edison's ghost makes his presence known... 




It is also due to his ghost's hard work that all electric megaphones use direct current and not alternating current, as one final act of spite towards his arch rival, Nicola Tesla. The telephone had better sales than the mega-better megaphone, and is not immune to the curse of Edison. If you use a megaphone through a telephone receiver, you will annoy the person on the other end. Why? The only reason could be the ghost of Thomas Edison. 



But...how did the megaphone come to be associated with cheerleading? 



It all started with Dominick Bell, also known as Quiet Dom. He was the cheer captain of his high school squad in 1890. He had more zing and pep than a hyperactive Labrador retriever has when its owner gets home...but he couldn't talk above a whisper. 


To get his team's attention, he incorporated back flips and front flips, before such feats were used as a part of cheerleading. His team was constantly impressed with his physical abilities, but when it came to chants and cheers, no one could hear him at all! Everyone knows cheerleaders need to be be loud and proud. He tried everything he could to increase his volume level – whistles, bells, and cymbals. These all gave him an extra boost of sonic energy, but didn't help in any situation that called for legible words. 



One day Dom was out in the streets with his aunt and heard a great booming thunder strike of a voice advertising a new type of hair cream. 


He was shocked to learn that a young girl of no older than 7 years old was shouting from the street corner, using some type of voice projecting cone. Intrigued by the strange conical device, he inquired to the girl and learned of where she might acquire this conical wonder. Two months later he received her shipment of one “mega-phone” from the local haberdashery. Thus, Dominick Bell became the first cheerleader to incorporate the voice magnifying piece of equipment into his routine. 


A few decades later, the famous gangster would use the same nickname, “Quiet Dom,” as a homage to the cheerleader that brought the megaphone into cheerleading.


What if Quiet Dom had never been so quiet? Maybe there would have never been the cheerleading megaphone...


[Source: Giphy]

Traveling Fails

Traveling Fails - July 20, 2018

We can all agree that even if you are headed for paradise, traveling is stressful. The planning is stressful, packing is THE WORST, and trying to navigate an airport is downright exhausting. Once you arrive you think the worst of it is over, but as many of us know when traveling anything and everything can happen especially when you are traveling with an entire cheer team! You really do live and learn when it comes to traveling with a cheer squad. When it comes to travel fails, I have made more than a few. 





Below are rookie traveling mistakes when traveling with your team: 



IT’S GONE!


Never! I repeat: NEVER EVER put your uniform in your check in luggage. Uniforms need to be in your carryon at all times. Even if it cost money, PAY IT! Luggage gets lost all the time. When you are away at competition you do not have days for the airport to try and recover your luggage that never made it on the plane or worse, got put on the wrong plane.


 If your uniform is in that lost luggage you will not be able to compete with your squad. There is nothing worse than traveling for a competition and then to not be able to compete because you luggage is lost. Don’t do it! 



Missed it by THAT much!


Arrive early, like, really early to the airport. Flying is not an easy process. At times the process can take hours: checking in, going through security, and getting to your gate. So arrive early, arrange carpools because there is always at least one person on the team who parent is always running late. Today they cannot be late, if they can't get their kid there on time, someone else has got to do it! Arrange a carpool if you're worried about a certain squad member being late. Missing your flight because it took longer than expected to check in, happens. 


Whatever you have to do to get your team there early? Do it.  




OH NO!


Congratulations! You have made it to your destination, which is no easy feat.


Now for the easy part. You pile everyone into the rental car and get your team safely to the hotel. You drive up and your team starts booing you because the van is the color of your rival team! NOOOOO!!!!  


This sounds like nothing, but your team will NEVER let you forget this one, believe me! This may not seem like a big deal, but keep your car color in mind when renting a van for competition.



Hotel Hooplah


Everyone has a uniform, check!  


Made it on the flight, check! 


Made it to the hotel, Check!  


Realizing you booked the wrong hotel after driving 30 minutes outside of town to the hotel that was surprisingly inexpensive, check… 


Check those addresses people! With hotel chains that all have the same name, you might think you are booking the hotel right down the street from the venue, but you accidentally clicked on the wrong link and booked the hotel 30 minutes out of the way. Sure, this isn't the worst thing that can happen, but after competing all day and getting stick in event traffic leaving the venue, having to drive 30+ minutes back to the hotel with a group full of cheerleaders is not ideal. 



Traveling is stressful when planning a trip for yourself, let alone planning a trip for an entire cheer squad.  Good luck, you are going to need it. Just remember: always keep your uniforms in your carry on, don’t be late to the airport, try and rent a car that matches your team colors, and check the address twice when booking a hotel room. 


It is not a guarantee you will win at competition, but by avoiding these points, you will win at traveling!   


[Source: Giphy]

The Haunted History of the Cheerleading Spirit Stick

The Haunted History of the Cheerleading Spirit Stick - July 16, 2018

Once upon a time, in a small town surrounded by acres and acres of woods, there was a curse.


Though the town was small in size, the people who lived there were larger than life. The local school had just enough players to form a full football team, and twice as many cheerleaders. Not a single citizen of the town ever missed a game, or any other opportunity to come together as a community. Other teams who traveled there to play football marveled at the excitement the cheerleaders generated. The town became famous for its enthusiasm and good sportsmanship. Though the small football team had never once won a game, the spirit of their fans was greater than any other. It was said that their chants could be heard for miles, even through the densest clusters of trees in the woods.

 


It was not only visitors to the small town who could hear the cheers.



Down a twisting, turning dirt road, far deeper into the woods than the small town, there was an old cemetery, one of the oldest in the country, overgrown and all but forgotten. The small town’s voices were so loud, their clapping so resounding, their stomping feet so echoing, that the spirits of the cemetery woke from their sleep.



Who is making all that noise? one spirit grumbled.


How do we stop it? another complained.


“Go, team, go!” the cheers continued, shaking the trees from their branches.


It’s terrible! a third spirit cried. The others shouted their agreement.


Everyone calm down, an old spirit said. I’ll fly ahead and find out who is responsible for the noise. You stay here.


The old spirit made its way through the woods, and as it came closer to the town, the volume of the cheering increased. How was a spirit supposed to rest with all of this racket?!


At last, the spirit emerged from the woods and into the town, where a football game was in progress. The visiting team had scored 40 points, and the home team hadn’t made a single touchdown, but fans filled the stands. On the sidelines, the cheerleaders of the home team led the spectators in their supportive shouts. Ribbons knotted into bows sparkled in their hair, and no one’s smiles were bigger—though there were plenty of happy faces in the crowd.


My goodness, the spirit said. It is not noise, but a celebration! 


The spirit raced back to the cemetery, where their neighbors had gathered.


Come and see, the spirit said.


And so, the spirits flew to the game and wondered at the action and excitement of a sport invented long after the cemetery, and at the vibrant colors and beaming smiles in the audience. In the center of it all were the cheerleaders. The spirits had never seen such…well, spirit.


Look! one spirit said. I’ve seen them do those moves before, and repeat this chant. It’s a routine. We can learn them, too!


Delighted that they could once more be part of the small town’s community, the spirits flew to the cheerleaders and joined in the chants. It was certainly a surprise for the cheerleaders when the spirits joined them, but anyone who wanted to cheer was welcome in their small town. Their voices only grew louder.



For the visiting team, the appearance of spirits was a less pleasant surprise.



“The town is cursed!” one player cried, dropping the ball in his panic. 



“They have ghosts on their side!” another said, pointing.


Actually, the old spirit said, we are spirits.



The polite correction terrified them even more. Players from the other team ran screaming from the field, and as their fans saw what had frightened them from their game, they also fled. Soon the other side of the field was a ghost town, if you will.



“They’ve forfeited the game!” the home team realized. “That means we’ve won!”


“We couldn’t have done it without you,” the cheerleaders told the spirits. 


We are happy we could help, they replied.


The spirits agreed that, having cheered themselves, the crowd’s excited chanting couldn’t possibly disturb their rest. In fact, they would sleep better amidst such happy and lively sounds.


It is only a shame that we could not stay with you longer, the old spirit said to the cheerleaders. Now that we know the noise was only your cheers, we are ready to return to our rest.


“I have an idea!” one cheerleader said. She ran over to where the visiting team had crashed through the wooden fence around the football field in their quick escape. She returned with one of the stakes from the fence. “Everyone, give me your ribbons.”


All of the cheerleaders removed their sparkling hair bows. One by one, the cheerleader tied them around the wooden stake. Before the spirits’ eyes, the broken piece of the fence transformed into a dazzling scepter. 

“This will be our Spirit Stick,” the cheerleader said. She planted it firmly in the ground on the sidelines, right beside where the cheerleaders stood. “We’ll have it with us always to remind us of our new friends and our very first victory, and how a little extra spirit can go a long way.”

Touched by the tribute, the spirits wished the small town well and returned to their cemetery for pleasant rest and sweet dreams of sparkling ribbons, smiling faces, and small town victory.


And there you have it, the spirit stick.


What Happened to Males in Cheerleading?

What Happened to Males in Cheerleading? - July 12, 2018

Believe it or not, cheerleading began as a male dominated sport. In fact, women were not allowed to participate until around the 1920s.



So…what happened?


Cheerleading originated with men chanting in the crowd at football games, which eventually led to organized chants on the track to pump up the crowd. The first organized cheer was led by Johnny Campbell, a University of Minnesota medical student. He gathered a group to rally the crowd with the chant “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-U-Mah! Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Minn-e-so-tah!” The founders of cheerleading were male. 


After more and more joined in and squads were forming, many men were dropping from squads when they were drafted into WWII. Women stepped up to the plate (or megaphone, rather) when the males went off to war.


Of course, when they returned, the men wanted their spots on the squad back. They worked to kick off the female cheerleaders, some even claiming that the activity was too masculine and full of violent language. They were unsuccessful—the women had taken to cheerleading.


Eventually, around the 1940s, females were pouring into cheerleading. They began dominating around the 1960s, where it went from strong manly chants and megaphones to pom-poms and skirts. Because of the overwhelming amount of female dominance, cheerleading was now seen as a feminine activity. Men no longer wanted to be involved, and this feminine stigma seemed to stick with cheerleading ever-after. What would have happened if men and women had decided to join forces that early on? Cheerleading would have evolved so much differently. Would there be less athletes going towards Football if cheerleading had continued to be male-dominated? 


Who knows, maybe we would be watching the annual Super Bowl cheerleading competition. 


Even today, when cheerleading involves so much more than waving pom-poms and high-pitched cheers, sadly it is still seen that way by many. Minds continue to be changed every day about modern day cheerleading and the amount of athletic ability and practice time poured into it, but the stigma of female dominance and frills is still affecting the sport and the recruit of male cheerleaders. It’s as if the tumble track and coordinated lifts are completely overshadowed by that slight glimmer of a pom-pom. The horror!


Interestingly enough, in a society that is currently adapting to acceptance in so many different areas, cheerleading seems to be left in the dust. Males are still reluctant to sign up, and in turn are shying away from a sport that could so well bring out a large amount of athletic talent. Strong lifts and tumbles are so unique and rarely found in any other kind of men’s sports. It is obvious that the frilly outfits of the ‘60s are still very much prominent in the minds of men and women alike. How ironic—what once was the battle of the sexes is now a struggle to combine them. Bring the men back!


The presence of males on squads can do so much to improve routines and teams as a whole, but because of society and existing stigmas, the potential of males on cheer teams, especially on high school squads, remains untapped.



Will cheerleading ever have another intense transformation? Let us know your thoughts!



[Source: Giphy]

History of the Fried Chicken Cheer

History of the Fried Chicken Cheer - July 10, 2018

Once upon a time, in a hometown full of wafting scents and hungry bellies…

 

The Fried Chicken Cheer was created. Almost completely by accident.

 

It all began in a small home in Kentucky. The year is 1948, in a neighborhood small enough to hear a mouse running around in the house next door. A woman, who we will call Mrs. Watson, has just won the town’s annual contest for the tastiest fried chicken in town. The town chanted and cheered for her famous fried chicken, which she had generously cooked enough of for everybody. This was her fifth and final year being the champion of the annual competition—she was about to be a mother, practically about to pop. But she was a legend. Flash forward to:

 

1962

 

A young boy, who we will call Thomas, had been going to the town’s top high school at the time, with a solid group of friends, starring on the football team and succeeding in his academics. As happens to many kids, his friends suddenly started to turn against him—he was no longer invited to any Friday night outings, he was snickered at during football practice and exiled at lunch. Thomas tried all he could to make amends and get along with his old friends, but he had little success. After his mother (Mrs. Watson, I’m sure you gathered) heard of his troubles, she decided it would be best if he transferred schools—he was only a freshman, after all. There would be plenty of opportunities to make new friends on another campus.

 

Of course, this did not come without backlash from his peers. Being that it was a small town, the boys still did their best at ridiculing him for backing out of their school. Thomas did a great job at ignoring it, and the boys weren’t satisfied with their efforts. More drastic measures had to be taken.

 

One evening several months later, Mrs. Watson was cooking up a batch of her famous fried chicken. The growing boys could smell it from miles away. They saw this as a perfect opportunity to not only take another stab at their old friend Thomas, but a way to get a healthy portion of the best fried chicken in town, something they used to enjoy weekly. They didn’t realize how much they would miss that chicken when Thomas was no longer in their friend circle.

 

So, the boys made a ruckus outside of the Watson’s home. They made it seem as though there was a big fight going on that was turning violent, something that needed to be broken up. So far with everything going according to plan, the family all gathered outside to get a better look. During this time, the remaining boys came inside the back door to grab the tray of delicious, steaming chicken. By this point, the family was able to make out who exactly was in their yard in this fake fight, and Thomas ran inside just in time to catch the culprits.

 

The chicken was not saved. When the boys ran off, the trays flew out of their hands had been dumped out all over the grass.


 

However, the boys were caught in the act, and Mrs. Watson had been hit where it hurt. Nobody steals her chicken.

 

“You want fried chicken?! I’ll show you fried chicken!”

 

Mrs. Watson began pegging the boys with the now inedible fried chicken, taking them out one by one. The family joined in, chanting “we want fried chicken!” Needless to say, the group never messed with her son again. They did however, endure a lifetime without the famous fried chicken dish.

 

This story circulated between every family in the town within the week. Eventually, the story had reached almost everyone in the United States. Ever since the incident, the chant was adopted into the football games between these two rivalry schools. If at any point the other team felt threatened, the words “WE WANT FRIED CHICKEN!” could be heard from any place in the stadium. The bands joined in. The cheerleaders joined in. If you knew, you knew. If you didn’t…you went with it.

 

We relate…fried chicken can make you do crazy things.




[Source: Giphy]

Summertime Team Bonding Ideas

Summertime Team Bonding Ideas - July 6, 2018

Hoorah! It’s finally summer! Between the summer practices, family vacations, and fun time with your friends, it’s going by so fast.


Before the summer passes you by, don’t forget to do something just as important as practice—bonding with your team! Even though practicing and spending time together is enough to make anybody friends, don’t forget the importance of fun activities together. It’s something that will strengthen your bond and help you to learn much more about each other than you had known before!

 

Here are some fun team bonding ideas for your squad:

 

1.    Water Balloon Fight

In case you haven’t been outside…well, we wouldn’t blame you. It’s hot, but you’ve gotta beat the heat and get outside anyway! Why not go traditional and have a water balloon fight or squirt gun war with your squad? Have your coach break you up by alternating between one and two to randomly select your team, and viola! You’ve got your army. This can even be an after practice activity to cool down after conditioning.

 

2.    Themed Team Party

Sure, your squad will throw a 4th of July party or a summer pool party, (still awesome) but why not change it up a bit? Find a dress-up theme for your summer team get-together. Find a theme that will encourage your teammates to team up with one another in preparation for the party. Think along the lines of superheroes or T.V. show characters.  If your teammate asks to be a part of your group, say YES! The idea is to get to know teammates that you may have not talked much to yet. Especially those incoming freshmen—even if you already have your five Ninja Turtles, who’s to say you can’t have a sixth? Donatello could have been a twin, after all.

 

3.    Scavenger Hunt

Summertime means school’s out, right? Which means there are that many more people hanging out at home, out at the mall, etc. This is the perfect time to have a team scavenger hunt. First, create a checklist of ‘items’ your team will have to complete. Fill it up with fun things like taking a photo with someone’s dog, or finding and taking a picture in a store based on a clue given. For example, have one squad member try on a pair of heels in a place where you never grow old…Forever 21, of course! The easiest way to create a checklist is to use photos—they’re great memories, and they serve as proof as you go through the list! If you want to go the neighborhood route, go door to door with a checklist of small items and see which team can gather them all first. Make sure each team has adult supervision, though!Make sure you have someone waiting at a designated point for when the scavenger hunt has finished, so that the first team to finish can claim their prize! (Whether this is high-fives or a day off of conditioning, first place feels pretty good!)


Even though you may just want to sit inside and enjoy the comfortable air conditioning your home has to offer, get outside this summer and bond with your teammates as much as possible! Before you know it, the sun will be setting at 5 PM again and everybody is going to be in hibernation mode. Enjoy the sunshine!

[Source: Giphy]

Cheerleading Facial Fails

Cheerleading Facial Fails - July 5, 2018


Serving face is almost as important as cheering itself. The now famous meme of North Carolina cheerleader, Ryan Cummings, giving some serious, “I run this competition” face, proves how entertaining and fierce cheer facial expressions can be.


 


Ryan may have broke the internet with some serious attitude, but some of these other cheerleaders are circulating the internet for an entirely different reason. Call it bad timing or a picture taken at just the wrong or right moment, here are some ways to avoid epic cheerleading facial fails.



I am FREAKING OUT!: 


You might looked worried because your team is down 17 points or you're nervous about the half time performance.  As a cheerleader, you know once the uniform is on, people are watching. Sometimes you have to fake your confidence to make it.  The first step is to look your part! Put on a smile even if you a freaking out on the inside. A smile can really change your attitude and make you feel more confident--even if your insides are doing backflips.


Thinking too much: 


At competition your adrenaline is pumping. You're trying to remember your routine and hit every mark. You might be too busy concentrating on killing it (which you will) that you forgot to smile. You love cheer and we all know you live for competition season, so show it! You have been practicing this routine for months and you have it down! Smiling and getting into your performance will positively impact your score, so walk out on stage to take a moment, center yourself...and get into it!



Give me a…OH NO!


There are a barrage of fails online. It's not hard to find unflattering pictures taken at just the right moment. In preparation for this article, I found some, thought about using others...but it is not the intention of this article to make fun of anyone or make someone feel badly! Someone can take a picture of you at just the right moment and you might look downright crazy. You could find it hilarious or embarrassing but the good news is, chances are very slim that you will become a meme worthy sensation…unless that's your intention. So cheer on and work those facials--they score you points, embarrassing or not!


 So what?


So you have a total facial fail out there, so what?!  You just flipped through the air a few times, did an entire flawless performance, your poof it still perfect, and your team probably won. It's all because you're just that good! How do you avoid a facial fail? Chances are, you won’t. But who cares? You killed it, so walk out onto the stage much like Ryan Cummings did, like you own it. You’re a boss, don’t worry about some random picture taken at just the right moment. Go out there, have fun, and do your thing!



[Source: Giphy]