Cheerleading is an international sport, a future global force, a possible upcoming Olympic event, and a positive influence on young women and men. These women and men are athletes who don’t get enough credit and hardly get scholarships. The sport seems to be stuck in limbo somewhere between evolving into something new and fantastic and the 1950s Baltimore Colts.
The marketing group in charge of the early 1970s Dallas Cowboys set the future of a competitive and physically demanding sport. Instead of revering these women as athletes they were made to be seen as a beacon of sex, the prize for the star quarterback, and nothing more than a muse for a crowd hungry only more entertainment.
The tiny skirts worn by cheerleaders since then are out of date and odd. It’s understood that the Dallas Cowboys of the world would hire women to dress scantily to entertain men in their audience, a mere icing on the pigskin cake. But how the trend filtered needlessly into high schools, middle schools, or even younger is a perverted mystery.
Mimicry is often the most sincere form of flattery. And maybe that just means cheerleading wants to flatter the early 70’s era Dallas Cowboys. We could start calling them “Fritzy and Clint’s Chicks” after the original two owners of the Dallas Cowboys who turned cheerleading in “cheer leering”. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
Cheerleaders very rarely, if ever, get credit when the team wins; they never grace the front cover of the local papers, and are hardly ever interviewed for their stellar participation in the team’s advancement in the playoffs. They are only supposed to be background noise, something to give the crowd some resurgence if they falter in their support. They’re nothing more than glorified fans.
But Competitive Cheering has become its own sport that it now has over 1.5 million participants in the US and is gaining traction in Europe. ESPN airs competitions rooted in difficult stunts, dance routines, and tumbling that look more like Olympic gymnastics than traditional sideline sport cheerleading.
“It’s just like any sports team; basketball, football, soccer. It’s all the same. It has evolved drastically over the last ten years.”
CNY All-Star Cheerleader Stephanie Pittavino
The uniforms of Competitive Cheering have ditched the traditional skirt and opted for something closer to a leotard of a ballet dancer or something reminiscent of an Olympic gymnast. The uniforms ensure that the athletes are able to perform to the best of their abilities helping to allow freedom of movement and to eliminate accidents that could result in the loss of points during a performance. This is for competition, it’s about winning, and like all athletes, they are trying to gain the competitive edge.
If the object of the high school, college, or pro cheerleader is to entertain and lead the cheering, why the miniskirt? Why not have a few different outfits throughout the game? If it is a dance routine, then maybe street clothes are in order. If it is a tumbling routine than maybe go the route of the competitive cheerleader and wear what is appropriate to ensure gaining the competitive edge and lessening the chance of falter or even injury.
“Gymnastics is a huge part of competitive cheerleading.”
The NCAA does not usually recruit for cheerleading and it is not seen as an official college sport. They are mostly students who give up their own time to learn routines and get a courtside seat. In fact, they don’t even get chairs.
Cheerleading has evolved into a globally recognized competitive sport that looks different and modern. Who will be the first to modernize sports cheering, to evolve the sidelines into its own sport, with its own supporters? Competitive cheerleaders could use sporting events to showcase their talents but they should be recruited, given scholarships, and have NCAA controlled competitions for titles.
Keeping these women and men dressed up like an early 1970s publicity stunt is nothing more than a sideshow. These are athletes that are being denied the privilege to compete for their school. This is the evolution of cheerleading and it has to start somewhere.
Probably not with the Dallas Cowboys.
Cheerleaders are involved in most American sports, including many which are the highest-grossing sports films…