…who do we appreciate?
Today is considered the birthday of Cheer-leading.
Johnny Campbell is considered the first cheerleader. He revved UP the crowd and spurred the team to victory at the University of Minnesota back in 1898.
Johnny was a med student, the team had had a long string of losses, and he decided it was time to do something about it.*
Cheer leading has changed over the years. Early on, it was an all male activity.
Now, unless it’s at the college level, most cheerleaders are female.
It’s changed in other ways as well.
Back in the day, they looked like this…
Now, we have this…
Less fabric aside, there are other changes. It is defined as an intense physical activity based on organized routines. Some would like to call it a sport.
Back in the day, girls tried out for cheer leading in High School, made the squad or didn’t, and life moved on.
Now, there are college scholarships for cheer leading, gymnastics are involved, and you have to have a decent GPA to stay on the squad.
In High School it’s less of a popularity contest than a talent search. Back in the day, only the pretty, popular girls were cheerleaders.
And for some, it was a launching pad to stardom. Paula Abdul was a cheerleader and honor student at Van Nuys High, she went on to be a Laker girl, dancer, choreographer, and freak show on American Idol.
George W. Bush was a cheerleader, as were IKE and Ronald Reagan.
Annie Potts, Reba, Ann Margaret, Kim Bassinger, Halle Berry (also a Miss Ohio), Jack Lemon, Trent Lott, Sybil Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Rita Wilson, Kirk Douglas, Jimmy Stewart, and Meryl Streep also shook their pom-poms for a season or two.
Cheer leading is as American as Chevrolet, Baseball and Apple Pie, and though we often make fun of it, deride it, and make scandalous comments about the squad, Football wouldn’t be Football with out it!
So, there, Sis Boom Bah!
*Johnny Campbell went on to become a Physician, never missed a home game at Minnesota until his tragic death in a car accident on November 24, 1936,