2007 March 31 Saturday
Save The Cheerleaders, Save The World
Cheerleading is the biggest sports danger for girls high school. Our cheerleaders are in mortal peril and something has to be done about it.
For decades, they stood by safe and smiling, a fixture on America’s sporting sidelines. But today’s young cheerleaders, who perform tricks once reserved for trapeze artists, may be in more peril than any female athletes in the country.
Emergency room visits for cheerleading injuries nationwide have more than doubled since the early 1990s, and the rate of life-threatening injuries has startled researchers. Of 104 catastrophic injuries sustained by female high school and college athletes from 1982 to 2005 — head and spinal trauma that occasionally led to death — more than half resulted from cheerleading, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. All sports combined did not surpass cheerleading.
Why do cheerleaders do such dangerous stunts? I figure they have no say in the matter and are just following orders. Remember what Kirstin Dunst told her squad in Bring It On:
"Girls, this is not a DEMocracy, this is a CHEERocracy and I'm the cheertator!!"
Our girls are imperiled by a top-down dictatorship which is making them perform dangerous stunts in order to bring glory to the leadership. This is just so wrong on so many levels. First off, not every cheerleader has the healing power of cheerleader Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) of Heroes. Of course every cheerleader should have that healing power and someday will thanks to nanotechnology. But that's besides the point. Right now today they do not.
Second, these girls aren't performing their stunts in order to save, say, their captured sister ala Sydney Bristow of Alias. They aren't spinning around to get momentum to kick a bad guy. Heck, they aren't even spinning around to kick the football down the field. They are just trying to impress the crowd during breaks at amateur football games. The system pushes them into dangerous jobs for no pay with little value.
What is most wrong about all this? The guys are letting it happen. Shame on you male America. Protect your women. To hell with feminism. Answer the call of your genes.
Um, hello! Those dangerous stunts make those cute little skirts fly up revealing titillating views of brightly colored undergarments. The men ARE answering the call of their genes by asking the cheerleaders to do these stunts!
To answer the call of ones genes might, in a civilized setting, imply reciprocation. I do believe, that cheerleaders would only hang out with the football team members? Let them "save" them then?
Actually, the type of stunts that are likely to result in injury rarely gives the male audience a good look at what they're interested in. They're moving too much and too quickly. Just spinning in place, high kicks, etc. -- that gives the guys what they want but isn't dangerous.
The bodies of exhibitionists are short, wide-hipped, and narrow-waisted to ensure that they can girate their lower half any way they want and maintain their balance. They don't belong up high in the air.
There is a complicating cultural side - Blue state/Red state - to all this, I fear. Where I live, in North Jersey, cheerleading is of the purely rah-rah variety and is a second or third-rate choice among high school girls (actually playing sports being first, not cheerleading being secong). Nearly every girl plays soccer from childhood, and so after having been playing for so many years, those who don't make varsity aren't much interested in being cheerleaders. High school sports are also just high-school sports - not major media events. In Texas and Florida, high-school football takes up major segments on TV sports coverage. This no doubt pushes cheerleading up into greater prominence and thus competitiveness. There's not many more ways to be competetive in cheering than to keep pushing on the acrobatics. And so I fear our horror at this dangerous activity will just be viewed as yet another patronizing incursion of Yankee imperiousness into the way country folk live their lives.
As someone who lives in FL, I agree with Ziel that HS sports are major events. But really grew cheerleading as competion instead of it's tradional filler entertainment is due to the growth of 24-hour sports networks.
Because of their need for 'space filler' sports-like events cheerleading competitions also grew. Basically it allowed parents to click over to ESPN and say to their daughters; ''See honey, cheerleading's a sport it's on ESPN''.
First on the College level then on the HS level cheerleading evolved to the increasingly dramatic acrobatics you see now in the hopes of going to Orlando (the mecca for cheerleading championships) for TV fame and a side trip to Disney World.
Sadly things will get worse before they get better. As the stunts continue to get more dangerous the inevitable tragedies will begin to focus negative press coverage on them. Then come the lawsuits and slowly cheerleading will start to revert to it's tradional form...
I would like to be the first to welcome our new Cheerleader overlords and will gladly submit to the rule of Kirsten Dunst.
It's not all that surprising that cheerleading accounts for more than half of the catastrophic injuries suffered by female athletes during the period in question. While lesser injuries can be common, high school and college sports do not cause the sort of grave injuries under discussion except in the most extreme fluke situations. Football is the only sort-of exception, but it's male-only. The point is not that cheerleading is so dangerous, it's that other female-participation sports are not dangerous, once again in terms of catastrophic injury potential.
In any event, just over 100 catastrophic injuries in over 20 years is exceedingly small, given the millions upon millions of females who participated in sports activities over that period.
alright lets get something straight. "bring it on" and all of those other cheerleader movies AREN'T REAL! all of those stunts that cheerleaders do are only aloud if they are trained and certified. its not like they just randomly throw someone up in the air. they have to have their hands, feet, arms, legs, head in a certain position the whole time. they are not just playing around. and honey when you get involved in cheerleading. they tell you how dangerous it is and they do give you a chance to back out. they are not forced to do anything. it is the SQUADS decision. "men protect the women" BULL CRAP. we can protect ourselves. you don't know the first thing about cheerleading so don't be talking. cheerleaders are strong, smart, and healthy athletes. we don't need men to protect us. oh and half of those injuries are the yell-leaders injuries. thats right male cheerleaders get hurt to. do they need the women protecting and keeping them from doing all of those flips and stuff too. if the men don't need protection then neither do the women. oh and by the way. just so you people that think cheerleading is just for girls and is not a sport. the first cheer squad was made of all guys. NO GIRLS.