Monday, October 8, 2018

Hurray for cheerleaders!

I like classical music, mostly Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Rossini.  But I am not very musical. So, I was surprised to find myself in the drum corps of my all-male public high school.  I like rhythm, I can detect the beat in most Western music and I can keep it steady. I like the sound of snare drums.

In high school and beyond, my eye noticed girls and women and my ear detected their voices.  So, it seemed natural that I could appreciate and get along with the girl flag twirlers and majorettes who were part of our drum corps.  I became the main trainer of the girls, who came from across the all-girl public high school across the street from my school.

As a high school and college wrestler, we also had cheerleaders stirring up the crowd of fans while we wrestled, but I never had enough brain space to consider them while trying to deal with wiley, slippery opponents.  Somewhere, lately, I read that cheerleading is a more or less American activity and that it is unknown in many other countries. I really enjoy taking my questions to Google search and I just asked Googled "Are there teams of female cheerleaders in other countries?'  

The answers lead me to think there is less interest in our style of cheerleading than I guessed.  Here is one example:

When we led groups of American college students on 10 week trips through Britain and Europe, we learned about American smiles.  I thought that it was big-city vs. small towns. In any big city I have been in anywhere, smiles are reserved for a specific recipient, not for general broadcasting.  But, the linked article says that some cultures feel that smiling in public makes the smiler look weak or idiotic.

The question arose for me "Do cheerleaders make a difference?"  There are many possible differences: tickets purchased, games won, victory margins.  Here is an article that estimates cheerleaders are worth four times what they get paid:

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