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Cheerleading



Cheerleading is a sport that began in the United States in 1898 by a student, Johnny Campbell of the University of Minnesota, who he could be heard in a crowd cheering “rah, rah … “. Cheerleaders draw audience’s attention to the sport being played and encourage them to cheer along with them. The participants conduct routines for the crowds that only last a couple of minutes and is made up of cheering, jumping, dancing and tumbling. The National Football League (NFL) started organizing cheerleading squads for the teams. The Indiana Colts (which were the Baltimore Colts at the time) were the first established cheerleading squad, but it was the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders that started with the revealing outfits and sophisticated dance moves in 1972-1973 season. Today, these squads are actively cheering for teams with the NFL, NBA; and some soccer, ice hockey, volleyball, baseball and wrestling. The Florida Marlins were the first Major League Baseball team to acquire cheerleaders and were named the “Marlin Mermaids”.

 

Today there are approximately 1.5 million people taking part in all star cheerleading. The National Cheerleading Association is one of the authorized associations. The sport started getting recognized when ESPN broadcasted a competition in 1997 and by a movie in 2000 called Bring It On. It is believed there are now some 100,000 more people who have joined this sport in Australia, Canada, China, Japan, France, Colombia, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Hence a uniform for the sport, including pompons was introduced in the 1960s. The “Top Ten College Cheerleading Squads” and “Cheerleader All America” awards were first given out by the International Cheerleading Foundation in the late 1960s. The late 1970s in when competitive cheerleading was first shown on television.


In most of the United States middle and high schools and colleges the students make up the cheerleading squads. There are even several colleges that compete at the competitions and offer cheerleading scholarships. However, the main task of the squad is always to cheer for the sporting event and encourage the participation of the audiences, but they also may compete at local, regional and national competitions.


Every year there are tryouts for the cheerleading team. This can take several days. The coach of the squad usually has a clinic whereby basic materials are taught or reviewed before the final days. Coaches look for skills in jumping, tumbling, motions and dance abilities. Cheerleaders will take part in fund raisers and helping their communities during the year. One of their fund raisers is calendars. In 2008, the New England Patriots Cheerleaders went to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for a photo shoot for a swimwear. They were participating in pictures of themselves out in the sun on the beach and poolside. A lot of preparations were needed so they didn’t get too much sun and end up with sunburns. Not only would a sun burn not be good for their skins, but would not look good for the pictures for the calendars. The Eagles Cheerleaders were the first professional cheerleading squad to present an environmentally-friendly themed calendar. Their bikinis were made of 95% organic cotton and the products they used for their makeup and hair were all earth friendly. The photo shoot itself included an ecological park.


Are you a cheerleader? Write to us and tell us what it takes to be a cheerleader that plays under the sun to our Suntan Crew. Want to go back to our Suntan Sports to see more?


-Ms. Suntan


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