Now Cheer This

Today I saw a sign at a high school that advertised a “Cheer Clinic”.

A cheer clinic – a workshop where students can get together to develop their cheering abilities.

Really? Is a “clinic” needed for cheering? They already have cheerleading practice – where the students get together to work on their cheers and cheer-related activities, like hyper-competitiveness and haughty judgmentalism. Is practice not enough? Is the art of cheer such that one cannot develop the skills necessary to perform adequately through routine practice alone? A specialized day of training is needed?

Aren’t we just talking about shouting out scripted words at the same time we’re moving our feet and our hands & arms to a specified rhythm? Isn’t regular practice sufficient for this?

I was going to mention the common goal of cheering for the school’s team, but now I’m wondering – has “cheer” risen to its own level of importance where the participants no longer lead cheers for the game events, but compete against each other as displayed in “Bring It On” and other equally inane films? If the cheerleaders are busy competing against each other, who is rooting for the teams? Where are the athletic supporters? (insert rim shot here)

I admit it’s been a while since I’ve attended a high school sporting event and even longer since I cared, but what I recall about cheerleaders is that they contributed a fat lot of nothin’ to the team’s chances of winning or losing. They were human busywork, shuffling and bouncing and yelling at the bottom of my peripheral vision as I tried to watch the game at hand. I never really got their purpose, but I figured their usefulness (or lack thereof) would eventually be recognized and the practice would die out over time, like spanking students in public schools. I never really questioned anything about cheerleading – until today, when I saw the advertisement for a cheer clinic.

If there are people out there who insist on providing continued training for cheerleaders, it will only encourage the practice to continue. Cheerleading is the stray dog of school activities: if you feed it, it’s just gonna keep coming around.

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