Cheerleaders deserve more respect

 By Chelsey Taylor-Vaughn

It’s Friday night and at the football game the Wolverines are down by six and its fourth and goal. Suddenly from below you hear “Go, Fight, Win!” Your eyes travel to the track and you see the red and black pompoms flashing in the air. You hear the cheerleaders’ chants, which you once thought were pointless, but as your hopes are rallied, you begin to think otherwise.

Cheerleading isn’t just pompoms, short skirts and toe touches. It’s leading the fans to believe in a team and guide them to victory. So why don’t our fellow Wolverines let us, as cheerleaders, lead?

In past years it has been true that our cheerleaders haven’t been the idealized squad you see on television. However, this year the team is taking motions to improve the overall view of the team. For the first time in years, there were tryouts with actual cuts. No longer could just anyone be on the cheerleading squad; girls had to work for a spot on the team.

No, we don’t run two miles before practice, and yes, we do take over 30 minutes to get changed before we go out on the field.

What you don’t see are the nine hour practices we had this summer with intense dance choreographers whose brightest achievements include dancing on stage with Diddy or being the runner up of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

We may not spend hours in the weight room with trainers, but we do spend hours on the field learning how to throw people in the air, which is both difficult and dangerous. I admit that the stunts we do may seem easy but there is a lot of work and skill that goes in to executing them properly. Most people believe that it shouldn’t be difficult to throw someone up in the air, but with all the noise and excitement it’s extremely difficult to concentrate on the job at hand.

Every person involved in the stunt must be focused in order for the flyer to get back on the ground safely. It is such an incredibly nerve-racking experience for the flyer to be thrown up in the air because despite her fears, she has to keep a reassuring smile on her face.

As a cheerleader, I acknowledge that we all need to improve individually in order for our team to better represent our school at home and away games. This includes getting better knowledge of the sport we are cheering for and knowing the right times to cheer.

We can’t complete our goals as cheerleaders without the support of our peers, so the next time you start a chant during one of our cheers, think about how disrespectful it would be for someone to walk out in the middle of the court or the field during a game.

The cheerleaders as a whole want to improve, so our peers should support us in our steps toward becoming the team we want to be and one you would like to support.

We should no longer be criticized by our classmates, but supported by them, becuase we are as much as a sport as any other at the school, and we deserve respect.