- the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group
- ability to lead
Why are the cheerleaders held to this higher standard? Why do we hear headlines about cheer moms injuring each other and students? Why do we hear about the cheerleaders going to a party and being cited for alcohol? Why do we not hear about Joe Anybody that was caught drinking or in a fight?
Maybe, or maybe not. If you take on the title of leader in any form, the expectations are that you will lead. Take the title of Student Body President for example. This position lends that the president will lead the students and be an advocate for their best interests. Or the Leadership class; being in the class means that you are one of the many students who are leading the masses during an assembly. As the expectations of cheerleaders have evolved, so should the students that fill the position.
Choosing your cheerleaders no longer means picking the girl that can do the best splits or jump the highest. When I am choosing my team, they are judged on their skills on and off the field. Teacher recommendations are sent out to for all candidates requesting teachers state whether or not they would be a good representative of the school. I check grades and any candidate that does not carry a “C” or better is not allowed to tryout out. The attendance to the pre-tryout practices is kept and their ability to follow directions in a timely manner is followed. Requests are sent to the Discipline office regarding problems outside of the classroom. During the practices the assistant coaches wander through and make notes on attitude and appearance. These things are all taken into consideration. Sloppy, unmotivated students that cannot follow directions are probably not going to be chosen. Do we always get it right? No. There are always going to be those kids that slip through the cracks. But over the years you learn how to deal with the issues as them come up.
Cheerleaders are an icon. They are looked at by the students, administration, parents, younger children, and the community. They are the first ones seen at sporting events and usually involved in many of the projects and events around the school. When the crowd doesn’t know what is happening in the game, they look to the cheerleaders.
If you want to take on the title of cheerleader, be prepared to wear the hats that go along with it. Know how to budget your time, be well groomed and in good athletic condition. It should be a privilege to represent your school and who has all the pieces should get the opportunity to lead.